medical records | medical malpractice

Common Issues in Medical Records that Could Hurt Your Lawsuit

Personal injury cases rely on a preponderance of the evidence, but one of the more critical pieces of evidence in this type of case is that of your medical records.

Whether you are filing an official lawsuit or going through negotiations with the insurance company, an adjuster and defense attorney will scrutinize your medical records looking for a minor error that can reduce the settlement or dismiss the case entirely.

Therefore, as an accident victim, you must advocate for yourself and ensure there are no red flags in your medical records that could permanently scar your lawsuit.

4 Medical Records Red Flags Affecting the Outcome of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

1. Your Statements to Healthcare Professionals

Everything you say after an accident may be used against you; especially if a nurse, EMT, technician, or physician notates it in your chart. Therefore, you must be cautious when speaking to healthcare professionals about your symptoms, pain, and more.

Never discuss unrelated symptoms to your accident, and if you do, ensure they understand it has nothing to do with the crash (and notate such in your chart).

Also, be very clear about symptoms, areas of the body that hurt, and ensure these items are noted so that your records reflect your statements.

2. Serious Gaps in Treatment

Any gaps in treatment will make the adjuster or defense question the severity of your injuries.

Significant gaps may indicate that you are exaggerating or being dishonest about your injuries.

While you might want to “tough it out,” never do so in a personal injury lawsuit. Follow up with all doctors’ appointments and requests, and if you do not agree with a physician’s request, get a second opinion. However, never allow gaps in your medical treatment.

3. Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have an injury to the same area as a pre-existing injury or condition, the insurance adjuster may try to say that your past injuries were the cause of your pain; not the current accident.

Therefore, it is imperative that your physician be detailed about the previous injury and how the current injury has exacerbated that old injury. Otherwise, the insurance adjuster may assume your new injuries are not relevant.

4. Degenerative Changes Notated on Imaging Tests

As you age, you have degenerative changes. These typically show in MRIs and x-rays. While normal, they could be used against you. A claim’s adjuster or defense attorney might try to argue that your degenerative changes were the cause of your pain and injury; not the accident.

Unfortunately, if you have a history of degenerative scans, it may be hard to argue against this statement. Your physician’s testimony, however, could help prove that while you have degenerative changes, they are not the cause of your condition.

Have your medical records thoroughly examined by a personal injury attorney. An attorney at Thomas, Ferguson & Mullins, LLP can assist you with your case and help gather the evidence necessary to succeed in your lawsuit.

Schedule a consultation today at 919-682-5648 or request one online.