Medical records often play an important role in car accident cases. A large part of the compensation that is owed you for your damages as the plaintiff is due to the physical injuries you sustained and the medical records provide the proof.
Release of Medical Records
Although an individual has the right to obtain a copy of their own medical record at any time, the victim in a personal injury lawsuit most often will request his or her lawyer to do so. Due to the fact that medical records are considered a private matter, a hospital requires a specific medical release form authorizing the lawyer to receive the information.
Nature of the Request
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the car accident, the records may be quite extensive and involve different hospital departments. It is important that your lawyer have all the relevant records, which may include information concerning the past in addition to the current incident. In many cases, the issue of a pre-existing injury may arise, and past medical records may be essential in determining that fact.
The party accused of negligence in the car accident will be interested in evaluating the injured party’s medical records as well. Although there is a principle of privacy in regards to a doctor-patient relationship, when you claim your health has been damaged due to a car accident, you effectively waive that privilege. As it is evidence in a potential litigation, the defendant does have that right as part of the discovery phase of the process. If the plaintiff or the hospital refuses the request for the records, a medical records subpoena may be obtained.
Types of Records
Among the records your lawyer will collect are:
- Hospital admission records
- Inpatient doctor visits
- Outpatient doctor visits
- Emergency room records
- Ambulance records
- Physical therapy appointments
- Private nurse records
- Durable medical equipment
Proof of Damages
Damages must be specifically proved in a personal injury claim and not be speculative or uncertain. The full medical records your lawyer will obtain will assist in illustrating how serious your injuries are, how long you have been dealing with your recovery, the level of pain and suffering you have endured, and the extent of the economic cost the accident has caused.
Contact Riverside Car Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you cannot rely on insurance companies to make certain you are fully compensated for all your losses. You need experienced counsel. Call Russell & Lazarus APC, Riverside car accident lawyers, at (949) 851-0222.