Why Medical Records Are Crucial to Your Car Accident Claim

Date: April 11, 2024
medical records are important to a car accident claim

The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. Amidst the chaos, gathering and preserving medical records might not be the first thing on your mind. However, these records are vital to securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries. They play a key role in car accident claims, helping to determine liability and damages.

What Medical Records Should I Gather After a Car Accident?

Obtaining comprehensive medical records is essential for building a compelling case following a car accident. These records should include:

  • Emergency room reports: Immediate medical attention after an accident often involves a trip to the emergency room. These reports document the initial assessment of your injuries and the treatment provided.
  • Diagnostic imaging results: X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and other imaging tests provide objective evidence of any fractures, internal injuries, or soft tissue damage resulting from the accident.
  • Physician notes: The primary care physician or specialists involved in your care will maintain detailed notes regarding your injuries, treatment plan, and prognosis.
  • Prescription records: Any medications prescribed to manage pain or aid in your recovery should be documented, including dosage information and refill history.
  • Physical therapy reports: If you require physical therapy or rehabilitation as part of your treatment plan, these reports will outline your progress and the ongoing care you receive.

How Do Medical Records Impact My Car Accident Claim?

Medical records serve as a cornerstone of evidence in car accident claims. They provide documentation of your injuries, the treatment received, and the impact those injuries have had on your life. Detailed medical records paint a clear picture of the severity and nature of your injuries, from minor bruises to catastrophic injuries requiring long-term care.

Medical records also help establish causation by linking your injuries to the car accident, showing that the collision directly led to your need for medical treatment. They also quantify your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They provide concrete evidence of the financial impact the accident has had on your life.

Insurance companies often attempt to downplay the extent of injuries or argue that claimants had pre-existing conditions that predated the accident. Thorough medical records counter these arguments, leaving little room for dispute.

Can I Obtain My Medical Records Myself?

While you have the right to access your medical records, getting them can be frustrating, especially when dealing with red tape and multiple healthcare providers. Most healthcare facilities require you to sign a release of information form before releasing your medical records. This authorization ensures compliance with privacy laws such as HIPAA.

Depending on the healthcare provider’s procedures and workload, it may take several days to weeks to receive your medical records. While federal law permits healthcare providers to charge a reasonable fee for copying medical records, the cost can vary widely. Some providers may offer records free of charge for certain purposes, such as legal proceedings.

An experienced car accident attorney can streamline the process of obtaining your medical records. They understand the necessary paperwork and can advocate to ensure you receive all relevant documentation promptly.

Contact Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC for Legal Advice After a Crash

Medical records serve as invaluable evidence in car accident claims, documenting injuries, treatment, and associated expenses. If you were injured in a car accident, contact our experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at Kitrick, McWeeney & Wells, LLC. Call 732-920-8383 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Manasquan and Brick, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, and Ocean County.