Car accidents involve damage to your vehicle, which can be very costly, and bodily injuries that require expensive medical treatment. As such, we need your medical records to support your legal claims for compensation.
Generally, it is wise to get copies of all medical records related to your accident. You have a right to your own medical records, so getting copies of them is often not a problem. However, we should formally request copies of your records sooner rather than later since it might take a bit of time before you have the copies in your hands. Your medical records are important because they are proof of the severity of your injuries and can help us establish things like pain, suffering, and medical expenses. In short, medical bills are likely a huge component of your damages, and your medical records will help us argue for greater compensation. Since medical records tend to be complicated, we might need a medical expert, preferably your own doctor, to testify as an expert witness.
Schedule a free case evaluation with our Chicago car accident lawyers of the Rhatigan Law Offices by calling (312) 578-8502.
Medical Records Related to Car Accident Claims in Illinois
Medical bills and bodily injuries are huge components of a car accident claim. Not only is a big chunk of your damages likely wrapped up in your medical bills, but your injuries might also be a significant source of non-economic damages like pain and suffering. As such, we need a complete set of all your medical records related to the car accident.
The exact records our Naperville, IL car accident lawyers will need for your lawsuit depends on what kind of treatment you received and the nature of your injuries. More serious injuries likely require more extensive treatment. Therefore, more voluminous records are likely necessary for your lawsuit. Some examples of medical records you might need include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Emergency room records
- Surgical records
- Records pertaining to any medically determined diagnoses
- Records about medication and dosages
- Records about aftercare for your injuries, such as physical therapy
- Records about follow-up doctor’s visits and treatments
If you received extensive treatment from numerous physicians, you might have many different sets of medical records to obtain before starting your lawsuit. Even if your injuries were less complex and only one doctor treated you, it is still crucial that we have a complete set of medical records.
How Do I Get Copies of My Medical Records for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Illinois?
While most people are aware they have medical records, many of us never actually see them for ourselves and might not even know how to obtain them. Fortunately, doctors and hospitals recognize a patient’s right to see their own medical records and are often more than willing to help you obtain them.
It is not uncommon for hospitals to have an online portal where you can submit a formal request for your medical records. If you were treated at a smaller hospital or doctor’s office, you might have to make this request in person or over the phone.
It would be best if you asked for copies of medical records sooner rather than later, as it might take some time before you have the copies in your hands. Medical records are not just waiting on a shelf to be picked up but must be assembled and prepared.
If you were treated by doctors from different hospitals or offices, you might have to request your records from these places separately. For example, your medical records from your ER visit and those from the specialist who performed a surgery might be in two different hospitals. We must speak to those hospitals separately. The more doctors you visit for treatment, the more records there are, and the more requests we can help you make.
Why Your Medical Records Are Important to Your Illinois Car Accident Claim
Plaintiffs sometimes wonder why they need their medical records at all. If they lived through their injuries, surely they can explain them to the jury. While your testimony is definitely valuable and crucial to your case, explaining medical injuries to a jury can be very difficult.
We need your medical records to prove the severity and extent of your injuries. You can certainly explain to a jury how much pain you were in and what part of your body was injured, but the injuries might be deeper than that. A thorough explanation from a qualified medical expert might mean the difference between maximum compensation and leaving empty-handed.
Medical records are also Important for plaintiffs whose injuries have healed before their trial or those who might have injuries that are not outwardly visible. In these cases, there might be no injuries for juries to see at the trial. We also need records for plaintiffs whose injuries are complex or have many smaller injuries that combine to create a larger medical issue.
How to Use Your Medical Records in a Car Accident Case in Illinois
When presenting medical records, the average person, including attorneys and judges, does not have the medical training or knowledge to fully understand what is being presented. As such, a medical expert might be necessary to take the witness stand and explain your medical records.
An expert witness may be called in to testify if the material in question is technical, scientific, or highly specialized. The expert is someone qualified to explain such information to the jury, often through their professional experience. Where medical records are involved, a doctor may be needed to testify as a medical expert. Ideally, we should get a doctor who treated you after the car accident to explain your records since they would be the most familiar with your injuries and diagnoses.
Speak to Our Illinois Car Accident Attorneys for Help
Schedule a free case evaluation with our Aurora car accident lawyers of the Rhatigan Law Offices by calling (312) 578-8502.