MEDICAL RECORDS ARE CRITICAL IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
As stated in my last blog, damages are the second critical component of a personal injury case. In order to prove damages, the lawyer must obtain all information relating to those damages. Let’s assume you were involved in a car wreck. If your car was damaged but you were uninjured, you are limited in recovering only the amount of damage to your car. However, if you were injured then you are entitled under the law to receive compensation for the expenses of those injuries (your medical treatment both past, present and future), lost wages, as well as pain and suffering for the injuries. If the injury is significant enough that it impacts your ability to earn a living in the future then you will be entitled to future lost wages as well.
PRE-EXISTING CONDITION VERSUS NEW INJURY
When a new client comes to my office, I explain that I must obtain his/her medical records relating to treatment for the injury as well as medical records relating to past medical treatment with the person’s primary care provider. The reason for this is to make sure I understand whether we are dealing with a new injury or condition that arose as a result of the incident or whether this is an aggravation of a pre-existing injury or condition. Understand that you can still recover if it is an aggravation of a pre-existing condition; however, the defense will try to blame all current problems on the past issue. It just means I’ll have to fight a little harder to get you the money you deserve for your injuries and pain.
In order for me to get the medical records and billing information, I have my clients sign a HIPPA-compliant medical release form that authorizes the treatment providers to release all the medical records to me. I keep these records confidential but do have to provide them to the insurance adjuster or opposing counsel in order to establish damages in the case. For clients who have on-going medical treatment to address their injuries, I periodically follow-up with all treatment providers to get updated medical records and billing information so that I have a complete picture of what treatment my clients are receiving and what their medical status is.
CALL IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED
If you’ve been injured by another party, please contact me at 404-474-2531 for a free and confidential consultation.