To recover compensation in a Montana personal injury case, injured parties must prove what damages they have suffered, including medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering. One of the most critical pieces of evidence in proving damages is the injured person’s own medical records.
Relevant medical records will include those from the date of the accident, showing the nature and extent of the injuries and the emergency treatment that was rendered. They will also include records of the injured person’s ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, which will help show the pain and suffering they have endured.
In addition to records from the date of the accident forward, it is generally necessary to collect records from before the accident. For example, if the injured person is alleging the accident caused a back injury, records from before the accident will be necessary to show whether the injured person had any pre-existing back problems. A person can still recover compensation for an injury if they had a pre-existing condition, but they will have to show the extent to which the accident made the condition worse.
Medical records are confidential under a federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. In order to allow their attorney to collect the medical records and use them in court, the injured person will have to sign a release, giving each health care provider permission to disclose the records.
Collecting and reviewing medical records is at the core of every personal injury case, whether it arises out of a car accident, a workplace accident, or some other cause. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will spend the time necessary to collect and review all the records that are necessary to prove the case.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Medical Records Release Form,” accessed April 25, 2016