If you’ve been involved in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you’re likely going to seek compensation for your injuries. Considering that you have physical injuries, you might be tempted to think that being in a cast or wheelchair will serve as proof for your accident-related injuries and compel the at-fault party to pay up. But that’s far from the truth.
The reality is that recovering full compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company requires extensive documentation of your injuries. You must have all the necessary medical records to prove that you certainly suffered an injury resulting from the accident.
But how exactly do medical records affect a car accident claim? Before we get into that, let’s first look at what medical records entail, as well as what medical records you’ll need in a car accident claim.
What are medical records?
Medical records are documents showing the diagnosis and treatment of an injury or illness. They often include treatment dates, doctor’s appointments, and details regarding the physician’s opinion about your injury. Other information contained in medical records include:
- The outcome (projected outcome) of a treatment procedure.
- A breakdown of all treatment costs.
- An accurate analysis of your treatment.
- An assessment of your current medical condition.
- Future treatment procedures with detailed descriptions to estimate expected medical costs.
Common types of medical records in a car accident claim
It’s not unlikely for an adjuster from the other party’s insurance provider to reach out asking for medical records or information regarding a preexisting health condition. While these individuals seem friendly and easy to get along with, they are looking for a reason to deny liability or reject your settlement requests.
While you should only give them medical records within the scope of your car accident injury, hiring West Palm Beach car accident lawyers can help you avoid falling victim to some tricks used by insurance companies.
Here are some of the most common types of medical records used in car accident cases:
- Ambulance/paramedic records
- Hospital visits records
- Emergency room records
- Diagnostic testing records such as CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays
- Records from follow-up appointments
- Acupuncture treatment records (if any)
- Physical therapy records and notes
- Independent medical evaluation (IME) reports
- Other records that may apply to your particular injury
3 ways medical records affect a car accident claim
1. Medical records can prove that your injuries resulted from the accident
With so many cases relating to fraudulent personal injury claims, medical records have become the most crucial element of a car accident claim. They can help validate the victim’s story, making it hard for the defense to argue otherwise.
With physician’s statements and reports on the nature of your injuries, the records can prove to the judge or jury that your injury is real and accident-related. This, in turn, will make it hard for the at-fault party’s insurance carrier to deny liability or try to make a lower settlement offer.
2. Show that your injuries have nothing to do with underlying conditions
It’s not uncommon for the at-fault party’s insurance company to try to deny liability on the ground that the claimant’s injuries or pain and suffering stem from a pre-existing medical condition. This issue often arises in personal injury cases where the injured party cannot prove that their injuries are actually accident-related.
Fortunately, medical records can serve as evidence showing that, indeed, your injuries resulted from the car accident and didn’t exist beforehand. The right documentation often contains physician’s opinions showing that your injuries are new and resulted from the recent crash. This helps rule out the argument that your injuries are a result of an underlying condition.
3. Medical records help determine your claim’s value
Medical records often keep track of how much your injury has cost you in medical bills. This includes all financial costs relating to ambulatory services, surgeries, treatments, prescriptions, rehabilitation, and hospital visits. Using these records, your personal injury attorney can easily quantify your damages and justify your settlement request.
Quantifying physical pain, mental anguish, emotional suffering, and other non-economic damages is quite tricky. Luckily, medical records show the timeline of your injury as well as how much of an impact it has had on your life. This information can help establish the effects of your injury and the extent to which it will continue to affect you, or the estimated future costs.
Put your medical records in the right hands
With all these benefits, it’s clear that medical records are critical pieces of evidence in car accident claims. That’s why you must seek medical attention immediately after the accident, whether you have visible injuries or not. More importantly, you need to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly, participate in all medical treatments, and give your physician every detail related to your injury pain throughout the process.
While taking these steps, ensure that you maintain all records from the moment you reported your accident injuries to authorities to when the case comes before a judge. Save your medical records and place them in the hands of our knowledgeable West Palm Beach car accident lawyers to help you avoid common mistakes that could negatively affect your car accident claim. Contact us online or give us a call today at 561-845-2510 to schedule your free consultation.