How Medical Records Can Make or Break Your Personal Injury Claim

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Find out here How Medical Records Can Make or Break Your Personal Injury Claim.

  • The importance of medical records when pursuing personal injury claims cannot be understated. Your medical records really can play a crucial role in determining whether you succeed or fail with your personal injury claim.
  • Discover in this article why it’s so important to ensure your medical records are accurate and comprehensive and find out here how your records can influence the outcome of your claim.
  • There are ways in which you can strengthen your claim by keeping your medical records up to date so that they accurately reflect the severity of your injury and ongoing symptoms. This can have the effect of strengthening your claim and maximising your potential compensation.

 

Let’s make a start…


Medical records – The Cornerstone of Your Personal Injury Claim

  • The various medical reports and records relating to your accident form the foundation of your claim against the defendant.
  • Your medical records should provide a comprehensive and detailed picture of the nature and extent of your injuries, a formal diagnosis as well as the treatment that you have received and your full recovery time.
  • In the absence of proper medical documentation it can become difficult to prove a clear connection between the accident and the resulting impact upon you in terms of injuries and symptoms.
  • Medical records are crucial as they can provide a comprehensive account of the impact of the accident on your physical and mental well-being.
  • Your records represent an independent and objective view of all aspects of your injuries sustained in the accident.
  • By thoroughly documenting your injuries through your medical records this will help to build a stronger case in relation to the effects of the accident upon you.
  • If the hospital records and other medical records are comprehensive and supportive then it will be more difficult for the other defendant’s solicitor to try to undermine and cast doubt about the nature and extent of your accident-related symptoms.

How Medical Records can Help You with Your Claim?

  • First of all your medical records will provide a detailed account of the injuries that you sustained in the accident.
  • Your medical records will set out the specific details in relation to the extent of your injuries so your records will record the precise type of injuries you have sustained, the full severity of your personal injury and any complications arising.
  • In addition the medical records will provide a detailed account of the medical treatment you were provided with following the personal injury.
  • Your records will set out any medical procedures followed, any surgical intervention, the medications prescribed and any therapies that have been implemented.
  • Your records will also cast light on the intensity and length of the treatment you have received and should provide a formal diagnosis.
  • It’s also important to remember that your GP records and other medical records will be crucial in relation to showing the timescale of any recovery. Your records will include details about follow-up appointments, rehabilitation and any ongoing treatment that is required.
  • It follows your records will be instrumental in being able to show the efforts that you have made to facilitate your recovery and to regain your health.
  • Equally if for any reason you have not been attending appointments and maybe failing to embrace any recommended treatment this will be shown in your records and picked up upon by the Defendant’s insurers. If this is the case no doubt the insurers will argue you should not recover full compensation on the grounds you had failed to do everything you can to facilitate your recovery.

Your Medical Records and Establishing Causation

One of the major hurdles when pursuing personal injury claims can be proving that injured person in the accident was responsible for the injuries and symptoms that follow.

Medical records are so important in terms of establishing the necessary burden of proof by documenting the timing of the treatment, the nature of the treatment and any ongoing care.

Your medical records help to show the direct relationship between the accident and your injuries thereby bolstering your personal injury claim.


Leveraging Medical Records to Produce a Winning Result

By following the steps below you should be able to leverage your medical records to strengthen your claim and improve your chances of receiving fair compensation:

Obtain Medical Attention Right Away:

If you have been involved in an serious road traffic accident then it is crucial to obtain an assessment from a medical professional and treatment straight away.

This is not only a priority from your health point of view but also it establishes the all important link between the accident and the injuries or post accident symptoms.

If you delay your medical assessment and attention then this can result in doubts about how severe your injuries are and the cause of those injuries which potentially could lead to the claim failing.

Keep a Record of all Medical Visits:

It’s well worthwhile making sure that you document all your medical visits to your GP practice and your medical expert(s) so that you are able to have a clear record of your appointments with your doctors, consultants, therapists and any other health professionals related services that you have seen.

Documentation should include the dates of the appointments, the names of healthcare professionals details of the treatment. If you take the trouble to do this then it will be easy to provide your solicitor with all the treatment details.

Your solicitor will in most cases obtain all the relevant health records in any event for the purposes of your claim but to have an overview of the dates and nature of the treatment is never going harm. In this way at least you will have a clear and good understanding of the medical intervention you have received.

Ensure Accuracy and Completeness:

If you or your solicitor obtains your medical records its always good practice to review the accident related entries to make sure that they are accurate and complete.

Carefully look for any fundamental inaccuracies, missing information or inconsistencies that could weaken your claim.

If you pick up on any serious errors then it is possible to contact the party concerned to see whether they can update or correct the records.

It has to be said that healthcare providers are very reluctant best to alter any records unless there is a clear and obvious mistake but your solicitor will be in a position to advise how to go about this in the best way.

Keep all Medical Invoices and Receipts

Don’t forget to keep all the medical notes, receipts and invoices relating to your treatment and recovery in general. These receipts can mount up very quickly over time and serve not only to allow you to reclaim these expenses but also demonstrate the impact of your injuries upon you.

We are talking in terms of any costs for private consultations major surgery, medications, therapies, equipment – anything really that you have spent on getting yourself better.

The general rule is that if the expense is reasonable and necessary it will be recoverable from any compensation awarded.


Consulting with a Specialist Personal Injury Solicitor

You cannot underestimate the importance of choosing the right solicitor to fight your personal injury claim.

  1. If you are working with a skilled and experienced personal injury solicitor then this will undoubtedly enhance your personal injury claims prospects of success.
  2. Your solicitor will be in a position to navigate the legal process for you, quantify the likely value of your claim, and effectively review and utilise your medical records to build the strongest possible case.
  3. An experienced solicitor will be trained to present the medical evidence in support of your claim in the most compelling way and will be able to underline the impact of the accident upon your life both physically and emotionally.

Staying Consistent, Transparent, Honest and Open:

  • Throughout the claims process it is of huge importance that medical report and any evidence given is consistent and transparent.
  • It is always best to be entirely honest when discussing your injuries and treatment with all your healthcare providers and when attending any medical assessment for the purposes of compiling a medical report by the independent expert.
  • In this way even if there are relevant previous conditions or historical entries that may be unhelpful to your claim these can be seen in the proper context and may or may not affect any award of compensation.
  • A soon as somebody is not clear and transparent this will inevitably be spotted by all concerned and will usually lead to credibility problems that may well affect the entirety of the potential claim and even the ability to proceed at all.

 

Remember: dishonesty or inconsistencies will definitely undermine your credibility and potentially seriously harm all aspects of your Claim.


Why is my Past Medical History so Important?

In the context of bringing a successful personal injury claim, claimant solicitors often need to obtain their client’s individual past medical history.

The prospect of authorising the release of medical records can for certain clients be a little alarming and it is not unusual for clients to question why it is necessary and how it relates to the claim that is being pursued.

It’s of course natural to worry about the privacy and confidentiality of your records but you have the peace of mind that solicitors have to adhere to very strict professional conduct, ethical and regulatory rules which serve to maintain the confidentiality of your personal information and records.

Your solicitor will need to obtain your explicit written consent to access your medical records and then ensure that your privacy is maintained throughout the whole process.

The fact remains that obtaining the relevant medical records is a crucial step to take in order to properly represent a client and to negotiate a successful result.

Your medical history can and does play a very significant role when pursuing a successful personal injury claim here.


How Pre-Existing Conditions Can Impact Your Claim?

Your solicitor will be able to examine the medical records and see to what extent there are any relevant previous medical conditions and treatments that could be responsible for any ongoing symptoms.

  • If there are any relevant previous conditions then these can dramatically affect the outcome of your claim and it is always the best policy to be upfront about these when attending any medical appointments for the purposes of the claim.
  • If a client fails to disclose a relevant previous medical condition then this is likely to be held against them by the independent medical professional in their medical report and could lead to serious credibility issues going forward.
  • Your solicitor will need to understand exactly how the accident occurred and how the accident caused and impacted your physical and psychological health and this will need to take into account any previous vulnerabilities.
  • Your records will help to produce a comprehensive picture of your medical position and provides the building blocks for your claim.
  • It follows that if and when your solicitor seeks disclosure of your past medical history you can understand that this is a necessary step to be able to protect your position and steer your claim towards a successful and fair resolution.

How Defendants can try to Sabotage Your Claim using Your Medical Records

  • One of the most important strategies that defendants use to undermine claims is to use the medical history to gather evidence to either challenge the veracity of the claim or undermine its strength.
  • In this way defendants can either do their best to highlight any factual inaccuracies which may have been given by the Claimant about their past medical history to the medical expert for the purposes of the expert report.
  • Defendants will set out further evidence to undermine the claimant’s credibility or seek to use the records to argue that any current symptoms are in fact related to a previous condition.
  • Defendants can also argue that a lack of continuous treatment or a delayed medical attendance is indicative of a less severe or unrelated personal injury. These discrepancies can and are used to try and raise suspicions of the claimants credibility as well as weakening the claim’s validity.
  • If successful the defendants strategy can completely destroy the claimant’s credibility or reduce the value of the claim on the grounds that a pre-existing condition is totally, or largely responsible for any ongoing symptoms.
  • Defendants will also often appoint their own medical expert to review the records and provide medical evidence that challenges the causal relationship between the accident and the injuries.
  • By demonstrating to the court there is another, medical professional opinion which does not concur with the claimant’s medical experts opinion the defendant is able to create doubt and raise question marks about the validity of the claim as a whole.
  • Defendants will also seek to use the medical records to challenge the nature of personal injury claim as well as the extent of compensation which is being claimed.
  • By scrutinising the records defendants can question the severity or longevity of the injuries that are the subject of the claim.

This strategy of reviewing inconsistent or adverse entries with the records can again help the defendants to undermine a potentially successful the claim as they seek to pay a reduced award.


Medical Records and the Long-Term Prognosis

  • By obtaining your medical records your solicitor will be in a position to gain insights into your long-term prognosis.
  • Your records will reveal your medical background and this will help your solicitor to make an assessment in relation to the potential impact of the accident. This will involve not only the impact of your your current life but also looking forward to the future and in particular any loss of amenity and ability to work.
  • Equally, and as indicated above, by accessing and reviewing the medical records the defendant may be able to prove and bolster the grounds of their defence and have the potential to weaken or even completely defeat the claim.
  • This is why it is so important that you instruct an experienced solicitor who is able to review all your medical records in detail and construct the best available arguments to ensure your claim continues on the best possible footing.

Why Withholding Medical Records Could Sabotage Your Personal Injury Claim?

In some instances Claimant’s are reluctant to share their medical records when the defendant asks them for disclosure.

If the claimant refuses to allow the defendant to have access to their records then it is possible for the defendant to make a court application to have the case “stayed”. This means the Claimant is then unable to pursue matters any further until such time consent for release of the records is given.

On the other hand by providing access to medical records the claimant is able to show their willingness to collaborate and cooperate with the defendant leading to productive discussions and negotiations which might well speed up the whole process.

If claimants refuse the the defendant’s own legal representation or representatives’ access to their records this can result in questions being raised in relation to the claimant’s credibility and openness.

In many instances, especially for the more serious claims, there is little point in contesting the defendants request for a first sight of the records as the defendant’s solicitor is entitled under the Court rules to obtain access to your medical records. The other party will then often be able to gain access in any event through the courts.

Once you disclose your medical records the defendant’s legal representatives will then make their own independent medical assessment from the medical history. They will then usually look to instruct their own independent medical expert to carry out a medical examination.


We Can Help You Navigate Your Personal Injury Claim

  • The personal injury claim process can be complicated and overwhelming. It is crucial that every client feels they can trust their adviser who should be experienced and sympathetic in their approach.
  • If you are thinking in terms of making a claim as a direct result of somebody else’s negligence or alleged negligence and wondering whether you could bring a successful personal injury compensation claim then contact us.
  • Or if you’d like to find out what’s involved then contact us and we will be delighted to advise and help you with your compensation claim.
  • Remember, even if you have suffered a relevant pre-existing condition you can still claim accident compensation through a No Win No Fee Solicitor.
  • Find out if you are eligible to Claim Compensation.

Meet the Author

Chris Carter is the founder and Director of Carter & Carter Solicitors, a leading personal injury law firm based in the UK.

With over 25 years of experience in the field of personal injury litigation Chris has become a trusted expert in his industry.

Throughout his career, Chris has remained dedicated to helping injury victims recover compensation and has a long and proven track record of success using all his experience to win claims and secure compensation on the best terms.

Chris’s passion for helping others is evident in every claim he and C&C Solicitors handle. He and his team go above and beyond to ensure their clients receive the support and guidance they need during what can be a difficult time.

To learn more about Chris and the team at C&C Solicitors, and the legal services they offer, please visit www.candcsolicitors.co.uk/about-us/   or call the team on 01663 761890