The Importance of Medical Records as Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
One of the most important types of evidence used to support a personal injury claim is medical records. The very nature of a personal injury case requires proof that an injury occurred. However, this is not the only way in which medical records can be foundational in a personal injury case.
Establishing the Existence of an Injury
The most obvious use of medical records in a personal injury case is as evidence of an injury. Your medical records, including copies of x-rays and doctor’s notes, can provide concrete proof that you suffered an injury. They will contain important details such as your specific diagnosis, prognosis for recovery, treatment plan, follow-up recommendations or referrals, and prescription medications. Your Louisville personal injury attorney can use these records as proof of injury during your claim.
Demonstrating the Cause of an Accident
Medical records will be invaluable in providing objective information about your condition as the injured party or plaintiff. They can demonstrate the nature of your injuries to a judge or jury and – in many cases – their cause. Analyzing medical records can often allow medical experts to reconstruct how the injury happened.
Looking at your medical records, an expert may be able to use factors such as the location of the injury and the type and extent of the damage to reconstruct the accident. An expert can differentiate between a brain injury caused by blunt-force trauma and rotational forces, for example. Combined with other evidence, medical records and expert testimony could demonstrate how the defendant caused or materially contributed to your injury.
Proving Ongoing Losses and Future Medical Care
“Damages suffered” is one of the four elements needed to prove negligence in a personal injury claim. Establishing negligence – or the failure to use reasonable care – requires evidence that the defendant had a responsibility to act with ordinary prudence, failed to live up to this responsibility, caused your accident and injury, and that you suffered damages as a result.
Your medical records are a staple in establishing your losses during a claim. They prove that you were injured in the accident in question and suffered compensable losses because of the defendant’s negligence. They can establish past and current medical bills, future estimated medical costs, out-of-pocket expenses for ongoing treatments and medications, and lost income due to time taken off of work for doctor’s visits or because of a disabling injury.
Seeking Pain and Suffering Damages
Economic losses such as medical bills are not the only damages your medical records can prove. They can also be used to argue for pain and suffering, which could be substantial in a case involving catastrophic injuries or permanent disability. Your medical records can show a jury the impact your injuries have and will continue to have on your quality of life.
Disputing a Pre-Existing Injury Argument
Finally, medical records can be used to dispute the argument that the injuries you are claiming are pre-existing. Your lawyer can submit medical documentation showing a clear and accurate picture of your health prior to the accident compared to now if the pre-existing injury defense is raised by an insurance company. Establishing your past medical history can help your lawyer prove the extent of your symptoms arising from the accident alone.
For more information about the key role your medical records could play as evidence in a personal injury case in Kentucky, contact us for a free consultation with a Louisville personal injury lawyer.