If I Am Injured, What Medical Records Should I Obtain?

By: Joshua Perry

Medical records are often intertwined with the need for legal representation as a result of an injury. Whether your injury is a result of a car accident or medical negligence, your attorney will request medical records to assist in determining the extent of your injury and the damages you sustained. Depending on the type of claim you have will determine the extent of medical records needed. 

For an injury related to a motor vehicle collision, the medical records relating to your treatment are crucial in determining what injuries you suffered as a result of the motor vehicle collision. Oftentimes, these requests for records are more limited in scope, as the records are focused around your injuries sustained in the collision.  Medical records prior to the date of the collision may be important if you suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing injury.  

Medical malpractice cases typically are more medical record intensive.  Because your injury is claimed to stem from the medical care you were provided, it is important to have all records relative to the disease process being treated by your medical provider, as well as any previous medical records surrounding the treatment in question. Oftentimes with medical malpractice cases, there are multiple facilities involved in the care and multiple records requests are often necessary to fully evaluate the claim. 

In considering what records might be relevant to your injury, it’s vital  to construct a timeline of the treatment obtained, from the time of the injury to the present, including all medical providers who treated you. This will include any therapy records, laboratory studies, imaging studies, physicians appointments and other treatment obtained. Medical records from prior to the date of injury may be important in considering if there is an aggravation of a pre-existing condition or a past medical history that may impact your life expectancy. 

Since your medical records are used as supporting evidence of your injuries, they are often sent to the insurance company, defense counsel, and any experts utilized to support your claim. Disclosure of your record is important to help support your claim for damages. In the event there is sensitive medical information that you do not want disclosed, such as mental health diagnoses and treatment or HIV/AIDS status, have a discussion with your attorney as to whether that information has relevance to the claim. This information may or may not need to get disclosed, depending on the nature of the case.  

One final consideration is cost. Depending on the volume of your medical records, requests for copies of your records can be costly. Typically, patients are able to obtain their records from a medical facility’s online records portal. This is a cost effective way to obtain your records and typically requires you to set up an account with the facility you were treated at. In addition to being a cost saving, access to your record is instantaneous.  

If you suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, give O’Donnell Law Offices a call. We can help you navigate through the intricacies of your claim, including what medical records are necessary to fully evaluate your claim. 



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