If you are injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, one of the most important things to do is to seek prompt medical attention. Sometimes, people make the mistake of assuming that their injuries are not serious enough to warrant going to the emergency room or visiting their clinic.
Being seen by a medical professional – even if you think your injuries are limited to bruises and scrapes – can help uncover more serious personal injuries that simply aren’t apparent immediately after the accident. The medical records, created shortly after the accident, will be of great importance in preserving your rights if you decide to pursue a personal injury case or settlement.
Time May Uncover Other Injuries
If your accident didn’t do more than cause a dented fender or bumper and you had no pain after the collision, consider yourself lucky. However, don’t assume you aren’t injured just because you don’t feel a great deal of pain yet.
Airbag deployments may cause internal injuries. Certain back and neck injuries may not be diagnosed correctly immediately without CT scans or MRIs; you may assume you have normal aches and pains when in reality, there could be a more serious problem like a herniated disk.
Often, injuries are not immediately recognized as a serious problem. However, as time passes and the pain and discomfort do not diminish, further medical diagnosis may determine that the injury is more serious than you originally thought. This is when the medical records from immediately after the accident will be very important.
Although it is often not this simplistic, generally the closer in time that the medical treatment was to the date of the accident, the more likely it is that the adjuster will conclude that the treatment was related to injuries from the accident.
How Medical Records Can Strengthen Your Personal Injury Claim
While it may seem invasive to have to provide medical records to an insurance adjuster or a lawyer for an insurance company as part of your case, doing so is important for many reasons.
The medical records are evidence that you were, in fact, injured in the accident. That is a key element in being able to recover damages from the responsible party or their insurance company.
Medical documentation also plays a key role in attempting to negotiate a settlement. It usually provides either directly or indirectly, a medical professional’s opinion as to the cause of the injuries and medical treatment that you want to be compensated for, as well as providing the probability of future treatment you may need for your injuries.
Delaying Treatment May Hurt Your Case
If you wait too long to seek medical treatment and then decide to file a claim, it’s possible the insurance company or insurance adjuster will take the position that your injuries were not caused by the accident. They may claim that there isn’t enough evidence to show that your pain or injuries were caused by the accident itself. This can leave you in an unfortunate place of needing additional medical treatment without receiving the compensation you deserve to help pay for that treatment.
The best course of action is to be checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible, so there is a record. Be sure to keep all follow-up appointments and comply with your doctor’s treatment plan.
What Medical Records are Important?
The medical records for post-accident treatment should include all of the following:
- Paramedic/ambulance records
- Emergency room/clinic records of the initial treatment
- All hospital records
- Records from follow-up appointments
- Physical therapy records
- X-Rays, CT Scans and MRIs
- Permanency report, if applicable
A complete set of your medical records will set forth every date you received treatment, a full description of your injuries from immediately after the accident through all your treatment, the outcome (or projected outcome) of your injuries, your future treatment needs and the amount of medical bills incurred due to the accident.
Your medical records should provide a complete summary of all your treatment, your current medical status, and your future needs. Only after your medical status is fully understood can a demand be made to the insurance company or the responsible party.
Choose an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
After an injury accident, seek prompt medical attention. Then, consult with an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can help guide you through the process of documenting your injuries and building the strongest possible case.
At Schott, Bublitz & Engel, S.C., we understand and are prepared to help our clients through every step of the personal injury claim process. To learn more and to schedule a review of your case, contact us online or call us at 262.827.1700 today.
By Patrick J. Schott
Disclaimer Policy: The information on this website is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should always consult an attorney for advice for your individual situation. We invite you to contact us by letter, by phone or by email. Initial contact creates no attorney-client relationship. Please avoid sending confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.
Schott, Bublitz & Engel s.c. has been meeting the legal needs of clients in Wisconsin for over 26 years. As the firm’s reputation has grown, so has the extent of our legal expertise.