Last updated August 29, 2018.
Insurance companies don’t like to pay people who are injured by the companies’ customers. Those payments come right out of the companies’ bottom lines, meaning less money for their executives and investors at the end of the year.
To limit the amounts that they have to pay out, insurance companies rely on a series of tactics designed to minimize or eliminate an injured person’s recovery. Some of those tactics involve closely scrutinizing your medical records to find any excuse to deny your claim.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, motorcycle accident, trucking accident or slip and fall incident in Ohio, make sure you seek the medical attention of a doctor of your choosing. In order to receive the medical treatment you need to get better, there are a few things that you must know to protect yourself against the underhanded strategies and tactics of insurance companies fighting to deny you the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Keep reading to find out more.
Article at a Glance
- Your medical records are critical to proving the extent, duration, and cost of your injuries in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Insurance companies will scour your medical records to find any excuse to reject your claim or reduce your damages.
- To help build a strong case, seek medical attention immediately after an accident, choose the right doctor to treat you, and inform your doctor of all your symptoms.
Why your personal injury medical records matter
Nothing happens in court without evidence. The truth of what happened to you and how you were injured doesn’t matter if you can’t prove it. In a personal injury lawsuit, your medical records are among the most important pieces of evidence that you will put on.
Your medical records will demonstrate precisely how you were injured in an accident, what it has taken (or will take) for you to get better, and how long your injuries are expected to last.
In short, they are key to proving one of the essential elements of a personal injury claim: your damages. They may also help to prove that the defendant’s negligent behavior caused your injuries.
Without well-developed records of your injuries and medical care, any damage award or settlement may be limited or the insurance company may reject your claim altogether.
Tips for visiting a personal injury doctor
Because of how important your medical records are to your personal injury claim, you should keep in mind the following points to help develop those records completely.
1. Seek medical attention immediately
Insurance companies will look for any excuse to reject your claim or limit your damages. If you don’t seek medical treatment right away after an accident, the insurance company will claim that you were not injured as a result of the accident, but because of something that happened afterwards for which it is not responsible.
Or they may argue that you were not hurt at all, and your injuries are a fabrication.
Seeking medical attention immediately can help eliminate such excuses.
2. Choose the right doctor
Injured plaintiffs will often turn first to their family doctor. While your family doctor is your best choice for some things, when dealing with an accident-related injury, it is better to treat with a doctor that specializes in accident injuries because these doctors usually work with a network of other doctors that coordinate your care.
Personal injury doctors also have a better understanding of the types of records that your lawyer will want to have in hand in developing your case, making the collaboration between your doctor and lawyer that much easier.
3. Tell your doctor everything
Once you find the right doctor, tell him or her everything: Why you are seeking treatment presently, what hurts, what your symptoms are, how this happened, what injuries you’ve had in the past, etc. It is extremely important to discuss all this with your doctor so that during your physical examination, your doctor can substantiate your physical complaints with the examination findings.
Failing to accurately inform your doctor about your past and the present will affect you in two ways. First, the insurance company will cross-reference what you’ve disclosed with what your records contain. If you have not told the whole truth, they will not wholly compensate you. Second and most important, you may not be treated properly or your “hidden” or unknown/undisclosed injury may not be treated at all.
And here’s a bonus tip: Keep a running journal of your symptoms. You’re busy, and you may not remember when you visit the doctor all of the symptoms you’ve experienced since the last time you saw him or her. By keeping a journal, you can refresh your memory and make sure you get treated for the full extent of your injuries.
The personal injury attorneys of Plevin & Gallucci often see how insurance companies twist and turn the facts as you present them to minimize the extent of your injuries and avoid paying you what you deserve. To protect against this, make sure you seek medical attention immediately after an accident, are being treated by the right doctors, and tell those doctors everything.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that the medical records you provide to your lawyer are complete, without the kinds of gaps that insurance companies exploit to protect their pocketbooks.
If you’ve been injured by another person’s negligence or other wrongdoing, let the personal injury attorneys at Plevin & Gallucci fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how you can build a case that will withstand insurance companies’ underhanded tactics and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.