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The Importance of Medical Documentation in Personal Injury Claims

by | Jun 1, 2024

When pursuing a personal injury claim, comprehensive medical records play a critical role in proving the extent of injuries sustained and the resulting impact on an individual’s life. 

Obtaining thorough documentation can help establish the causal relationship between the accident or incident and the injuries suffered by the claimant. Insurance companies and courts in Wisconsin rely heavily on medical evidence to determine the appropriate compensation for victims of personal injury. As such, it is critical for Wisconsinites seeking compensation for their injuries to ensure they have accurate and detailed medical documentation to strengthen their case and increase their chances of receiving fair and just compensation for their losses.

At VHD Law, our firm provides knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel and representation to help clients navigate the stressful process of personal injury law––which includes the collecting and cataloging of accurate medical records.

If you have been injured in an accident and need justice, contact us for a free case review.

The Significance of Medical Records When Trying to Prove Damages

Simply put, medical records are important in proving damages in Wisconsin law cases, as they provide concrete evidence of the extent and severity of injuries sustained by a plaintiff. In personal injury cases, these types of records document the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of an individual’s injuries, serving as essential documentation to support claims for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of income. 

Medical records also serve as key evidence to establish causation between the defendant’s actions or negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries. Without thorough and accurate medical records, it can be significantly challenging to prove the extent of damages suffered by the plaintiff. 

What Constitutes Medical Documentation in the Context of Personal Injury

In the context of personal injury law in Wisconsin, medical documentation refers to any records, reports, and notes created by healthcare providers that detail a person’s injuries, treatment, and prognosis following an accident. This includes medical records, doctor’s notes, diagnostic test results, billing statements, and treatment plans. Additionally, legal professionals may also rely on expert testimony from healthcare providers to interpret and validate the medical documentation presented.

Types of Medical Documentation Relevant to Personal Injury Claims

When it comes to identifying relevant types of medical documentation, there are a number of examples that hold significant relevance in personal injury claims. However, the most generally accepted types include medical records, diagnostic tests, treatment plans, and expert opinions from healthcare professionals:

  • Medical records outline details such as diagnosis, symptoms, treatments received, and prognosis of the injuries. 
  • Diagnostic tests like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans provide objective evidence of injuries. 
  • Treatment plans offer insight into the recommended course of action for recovery
  • Expert opinions from healthcare professionals can establish causation between the accident and the injuries suffered. 

Additional medical documentation used in personal injury claims can include records of rehabilitation and/or physical therapy and proof of prescribed medication (prescription records) relating to the injury. 

By compiling and presenting these types of documentation accurately and thoroughly in a personal injury claim case, individuals can substantiate their claims and pursue fair compensation for damages incurred due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing.

Demonstrating Causation with Medical Reports

Establishing the link between the accident and the injuries in Wisconsin personal injury law requires a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the incident, including gathering evidence (like the documents listed above), as well as witness statements. By clearly establishing causation between the incident and injuries sustained, attorneys can build a strong case to prove negligence or fault on the part of the responsible party. What’s more, using relevant statutes and case law precedent can strengthen the argument for compensation by highlighting similar cases where causation was proven. 

Proving Long-Term Damages Through Medical Records

Using Medical Records to Determine Future Medical Expenses

In the state of Wisconsin, medical documentation plays an equally important role in calculating both immediate and future medical expenses in legal proceedings. Reports are essential pieces of evidence that support claims for reimbursement for necessary medical treatment or services that may be required as a result of an injury sustained––in many cases, long-term injuries. By providing detailed and accurate records of past treatments, prognoses, and recommendations from healthcare providers, individuals can better estimate potential costs for future medical care. Also, these documents help legal professionals and insurance companies determine the extent of damages incurred by the injured party, aiding in negotiating settlements or allocating funds for ongoing care. Adhering to strict standards of accuracy and thoroughness ensures that future medical expenses are fairly and appropriately calculated.

Non-Economic Damages: Using Medical Records to Support Claims for Pain and Suffering 

The term “pain and suffering” is a common claim in personal injury law. But it can be difficult to prove. 

Utilizing medical records to substantiate claims for pain and suffering provides irrefutable evidence of the physical and emotional toll inflicted by the incident, allowing for a more accurate assessment of damages sought by the plaintiff. 

By presenting as many examples as possible of documentation from healthcare providers––detailing the extent of injuries, treatments received, and prognoses for recovery––attorneys can effectively demonstrate the impact of the accident on the individual’s well-being. Thorough medical records can also help counter any attempts by opposing counsel to downplay or dismiss the severity of injuries claimed. 

The Impact of Having Inaccurate Medical Documentation

Risks Associated with Incomplete Medical Records

Sourcing medical records with incorrect or inconsistent information is a significant misstep––and one that can have serious implications for both plaintiffs and defendants. Inaccurate medical records can lead to challenges in proving the extent of injuries and damages sustained as a result of an accident, which may ultimately weaken one’s case. Discrepancies between medical records and other evidence presented during legal proceedings can also raise doubts about the credibility of all parties involved. Individuals involved in personal injury cases must ensure that their medical records are thorough, accurate, and consistent to avoid these potential risks. However, working closely with experienced attorneys who specialize in personal injury law can help mitigate these risks and strengthen one’s legal position when seeking compensation.

How to Address Potential Issues with Medical Records

If any potential issues are found within the gathered medical documentation, rectifying them as soon as possible is the best course of action. And this requires a meticulous approach. Firstly, it is essential to conduct a thorough review of all medical documentation to identify any inaccuracies or omissions. This may involve requesting additional records from healthcare providers or consulting with medical experts to verify the validity of the information presented. It is crucial to ensure that all medical records adhere to the state’s regulations and standards for record-keeping and confidentiality. Any discrepancies or errors should be promptly addressed through formal channels, such as filing motions to correct the record or presenting evidence during legal proceedings. 

Effectively Collecting Medical Documentation

Best Practices for Obtaining Complete Medical Records

Gathering relevant documentation in a personal injury law case is vital. To begin, it is most important to request all medical records from healthcare providers involved in the treatment of the plaintiff’s injuries. These types of providers include: primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals, physical therapists, and any other healthcare professionals consulted throughout the course of treatment. Additionally, lawyers should ensure that they have obtained all pertinent information related to the plaintiff’s pre-existing conditions or past medical history that may impact their current injury claims. 

To ensure a fair outcome and due diligence, it is always recommended for attorneys to verify the authenticity and accuracy of the medical records obtained through independent experts or consultants specializing in medical review. By collecting and reviewing comprehensive medical records, personal injury lawyers can effectively build a strong case on behalf of their clients in Wisconsin courts.

The Benefits of Legal Expertise in Navigating Personal Injury Claims

The Role of Legal Counsel and Medical Documentation

Attorneys play a crucial role in gathering and analyzing medical records, reports, and expert opinions to build a strong case for their clients. By examining medical evidence, attorneys can establish a clear link between their client’s injuries and the negligent actions of the opposing party, thereby maximizing their chances of obtaining fair compensation. 

Skilled legal counsel can effectively communicate complex medical information to judges and juries, ensuring that all parties involved have a comprehensive understanding of the extent of their client’s injuries and the impact they have had on their quality of life. Ultimately, legal counsel serves as an invaluable ally in navigating the complexities of personal injury cases, utilizing medical documentation to secure favorable outcomes for their clients within the confines of Wisconsin law.

If you have a personal injury claim and wish to have VHD Law in your corner, our attorneys are available to answer any initial questions or concerns. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free case consultation.

Written by Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C.

Personal Injury

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