How Medical Records Can Impact Your Personal Injury Claim

how medical records can impact injury claims

doctor pointing to the medical records of a patient

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, it is very likely that you will have to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation. However, recovering this compensation can be challenging, and there are various types of evidence and documents you will need to produce. This includes medical records. Here, we want to discuss how your medical records impact a personal injury claim.

You Need Medical Records to Recover Compensation

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligent actions of another individual, for instance a car accident, or another type of injury, there is a good chance you will be able to recover the compensation you need for your medical bills, property damage expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

One of the most important parts of a personal injury claim is actually proving that your injuries occurred and that they are affecting you. In order to do so, insurance carriers or a jury (if there is a civil personal injury claim) will absolutely need to see your medical records. These medical records help establish the totality of the costs you incur as well as your pain and suffering as a result of the injuries. This will include records related to hospital visits, follow-up doctor’s visits, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medical devices and prescription medications, and any long-term or in-home care needs.

However, there is a caveat to this.

Insurance carriers and the jury should only need to see the medical records pertaining to the time frame from when the injury occurred until you are recovered. 

Avoiding Past Medical Records

It is not uncommon for insurance carriers to ask injury victims to sign a medical authorization release form. That is okay, and that is completely normal. However, as we mentioned above, the medical records that you release to the insurance carriers or any other party need to be specifically related to the time frame from when the injury occurred until when you have recovered.

Unfortunately, insurance carriers may use less than truthful tactics when trying to obtain your medical records. They may not put any dates on the form they ask you to sign, which may end up giving them access to your complete medical history. This can be a problem, particularly if you have sustained an injury in the past that could be used to explain some of your current symptoms. 

Insurance carriers are notorious for trying to use a person’s past injuries against them. For example, if you sustained a slip and fall injury a year before your current incident, the insurance carrier could try to say that any pain and suffering you are currently enduring is due to the previous injury, not the current injury.

Pre-existing injuries should not have any bearing on a current injury claim. It is best to avoid signing over past medical histories to the insurance carriers or other parties involved. We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled Seattle personal injury lawyer who can help you sort through this entire process, including obtaining medical records and sending them to the other parties.