Obtaining and Disclosing Medical Records in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Medical reports and billing records are important pieces of evidence when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. It can show that the injured party received medical treatment for the injuries sustained following an accident. However, disclosing such information may harm the victim's civil case and even lead to an invasion of their privacy.
Fortunately, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help injured victims in Nashville, Tennessee, obtain and disclose medical records. They can also provide further evidence to rebuke any arguments made by the insurance company.
Those who have suffered injuries in an accident should reach out to the experienced personal injury lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and learn more about their legal rights.
Does an Injured Victim Need to Disclose Previous Medical Records in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
An injured victim must disclose previous medical history if their current injuries are closely linked to prior records or injuries. Failing to do so can be detrimental to their personal injury claim or lawsuit, adversely affecting the victim's credibility and right to compensation.
However, there is no need to disclose if there is no relationship between current injuries and the victim's past medical records. Unfortunately, the at-fault party's insurance company may still use prior reports to reject the personal injury claim and pressure the victim into taking a lower settlement amount.
An experienced catastrophic injury attorney in Nashville knows how to handle the insurance companies and can protect the injured victim's rights by refuting any "evidence" or medical history used by the insurer.
How Can an Injured Victim Obtain Medical Records for Their Personal Injury Case?
Under the Federal Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), individuals have the right to request medical records from any medical provider under certain conditions. These include the following:
An individual can only obtain their own medical records.
A person can designate a representative who may be able to collect the medical records on their behalf.
An individual must complete and sign a HIPAA-compliant medical records authorization or release form.
The request for medical records should be made in writing with the relevant identifying information, such as name, social security number, and medical record number.
Once a person sends their written request, the healthcare provider must provide the relevant medical records within 30 days. If it takes longer than the prescribed time in the law, it must give a valid reason for the delay.
It is important to note that the medical provider may charge a fee for copying and providing medical records.
The healthcare provider may also withhold certain medical records it believes may endanger the person's life or adversely affect someone else's safety. However, they must document the denial in writing, which the individual may be able to appeal. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can go into details on health care provider claims on personal injury settlements.
Why Are Medical Records Important in a Personal Injury Case?
Medical records play an essential role in a personal injury case, helping establish the extent of the injuries and conveying the victim's story. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like How do preexisting conditions affect personal injury claims?
Below are a few reasons why medical records are important when pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit:
They Explain the Extent of the Injuries Sustained
Reviewing medical records can help the judge, jury, or the at-fault's insurance company understand the nature and extent of injuries suffered by the injured victim. This is important in assessing the impact of the injuries on the victim's life and evaluating the value of the damages incurred.
Insurance companies are quick to blame pre-existing injuries to reduce claims, arguing that the injuries are not as bad as the affected party claims them to be.
Submitting medical records can prove that the victims suffered injuries following the accident, and it can also document the visits to the medical provider.
They Help in Calculating Economic Damages
When pursuing a civil action against the negligent party, an injured victim may be able to recover economic damages, including medical expenses.
Medical records are important in calculating the total out-of-pocket medical costs incurred following the victim's injuries.
Reports from healthcare providers can help assess the total medical bills incurred and the future expected medical treatments required, which can assist in calculating the full extent of the out-of-pocket medical expenses.
It Assists in Determining Non-economic Damages
A complete medical history and records can help determine the impact of the injuries on the victim's life. It can show the progression of the illness or injuries over a period of time, which is important in assessing non-economic damages.
Non-economic losses refer to the subjective damages incurred following the victim's injuries, and these may include pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and reduced quality of life, among many others.
Although medical records can help assess the value of non-economic losses, calculating these types of damages is challenging. How does one go about assigning a dollar figure to the subjective losses incurred? This is why most injured victims without legal representation leave monetary damages on the table.
Skilled personal injury attorneys have the expertise in determining the value of non-economic damages. They can use relevant medical records, prior case verdicts, and expert testimonies to accurately estimate the victim's non-economic losses, ensuring that they get the compensation they deserve.
Can Past Injuries Have an Impact on a Current Personal Injury Case?
If the injured victim sustained similar injuries in the past, the at-fault party and their insurance company might blame the victim's pre-existing condition to escape liability.
However, they must provide evidence to prove the relationship between the affected party's current and previous injuries.
Releasing Medical Records: Is the Injured Victim Under Legal Obligation to Release Their Full Medical Records?
Personal injury victims do not have to release their entire medical history unless the at-fault party requests the judge to intervene. This can happen during the discovery phase of a lawsuit.
In this stage, each party has the right to request access to essential documents and information to assist them in building the case.
Objecting to a request during the discovery phase of a lawsuit can have serious legal repercussions for the injured person. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide guidance when disclosing medical records, ensuring that the victim adheres to the rules and increasing their chances of recovering compensation.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Have a Successful Record in Fighting Legal Battles!
Those who have suffered injuries in an accident caused by another's negligence in Nashville, Tennessee, should call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. They can establish the at-fault party's liability and hold them responsible for the losses incurred.