The Importance of Medical Records in Personal Injury

Posted On October 22, 2023 Firm News by John Allen Phebus

If you get hurt in an accident, the importance of obtaining professional medical care cannot be overstated. Going to a hospital or doctor to diagnose and treat your accident-related injuries is a crucial part of your ability to recover fair financial compensation from an insurance company. Without official medical records documenting your injury, an insurance company may deny your claim.

Proving the Existence of an Injury

When you file a claim with an insurance company, one of the first things the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case will ask is for proof of your injury. In general, this means official medical records or documentation from a licensed healthcare provider.

Medical records used to prove an injury may include:

  • Hospital admission records
  • Medical bills and invoices
  • X-rays and imaging scans
  • Medical test results
  • Diagnostic records
  • A treatment plan
  • Prescription records
  • Therapy or rehabilitation records
  • A letter from your doctor
  • Reports or opinions from medical experts
  • Photographs of injuries
  • An injury journal

These documents serve the purpose of proving the existence of an injury after an accident, such as a car crash that causes whiplash or a broken bone. Without medical documentation, it can be difficult to prove that you were injured in an accident. An insurer will most likely dispute the existence of your injuries.

Demonstrating Injury Severity

An insurance company may downplay the seriousness of your injuries in an effort to save money on your payout. An insurer may argue that your injuries are not serious enough to prevent you from returning to work, for example, to avoid paying lost wages. Medical records can demonstrate the severity and extent of your injuries to justify the amount of financial compensation you are seeking. Medical documents can provide detailed information about your diagnosis and prognosis, including how much your doctor expects you to recover from your injuries (your point of maximum medical improvement).

Establishing Causation

Medical records in a personal injury case can establish a timeline that connects your injuries to a specific incident or event. It is important to seek professional medical care right away, as delaying treatment could give an insurance company an excuse to deny your claim based on the argument that the injury occurred separately from an accident. Prompt medical care shows through medical records that your injuries occurred the way you say they did.

Calculating a Fair Settlement

Without proper medical documentation of an injury, an insurance company could underestimate the future foreseeable medical costs associated with your treatment and recovery. This could result in a lowball settlement offer. Providing adequate medical documentation can lead to accurate case value calculations – including future estimated care for a long-term or permanent injury. Medical records can lead to a fair amount of compensation being obtained for past and future medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain and suffering, and more.

Why You Should Always Use Medical Records to Support Your Personal Injury Claim

Medical documentation is a key aspect of a successful personal injury claim. The strongest personal injury cases have ample medical documentation proving that an injury exists, that it was caused by someone else’s negligence and that the injury will cost the victim a certain amount in medical bills. If the injuries are catastrophic or permanent in nature, it is even more important to have accurate medical records to establish long-term losses such as lost future capacity to earn due to a disability.

A personal injury lawyer in Arizona can help you gather, collect and submit adequate medical records to support your injury case. Contact an attorney at the Law Office of John Phebus for more information about the role of medical records in your claim.

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