Why Your Pre-Accident Medical History Is so ImportantSchedule a Free Consultation
You were seriously hurt in a vehicle accident in New Jersey that wasn’t your fault. Subsequently, you have decided to pursue a personal injury claim to help recoup your losses and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Your medical history will determine how much your accident contributed to your injuries.
Although you have every right to do so, you must obtain documents and information to support your claim. You’ll have to give that documentation to the insurance company. Some of it can get personal. Since you are requesting compensation for your injuries, you must provide medical records detailing the treatment you received. You will have to authorize the release of your medical records to the at-fault party’s insurance company and attorneys.
Your medical records will provide information about all the medical care you have received for at least seven years or even longer. These records are important for documenting the medical treatment you received from your recent accident. But they may also contain information regarding a pre-existing condition; the crash may have exacerbated it.
Your pre-accident medical history will detail all your healthcare-related issues from years before the accident. You may have privacy concerns and not disclose certain aspects of your medical history.
Why Your Medical Records Are Important
To obtain compensation for injuries, you must provide documentary evidence in the form of your medical records that detail the nature of your accident-related injuries and the medical treatment you received. But your medical records will also show information about non-accident-related medical issues you may not want to be revealed.
Of course, you have rights to privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). However, you need to understand a few things about the claims process and how your medical records may be involved.
If you are seeking damages for only the medical costs you incurred because of a specific injury related to your crash, and you do not feel the case will involve litigation, you may be able to have only those records about your accident-related injury to be released.
However, if you are seeking damages for treatment of a pre-existing injury or condition that was made worse by the accident, such as a chronic knee or back condition, or you are seeking compensation for things like pain and suffering that go over and beyond the actual financial costs associated with your injury, the opposition will almost certainly request a complete copy of your medical records going back several years.
In New Jersey, all doctors and physicians must maintain their patients’ medical records for at least seven years, and sometimes longer. Furthermore, all injury claims in New Jersey that become lawsuits must abide by New Jersey’s Rules of Evidence.
During the discovery process, all sides will carefully examine all the evidence used in the case. That means a comprehensive review of your medical records going back as far as possible.
This will provide the parties with the following:
- An assessment of the physical injuries you sustained and the viability of your case
- Detailed information about the nature and extent of your injuries
- Examination reports from physicians and medical experts
- A calculation of the financial losses suffered by the claimant
Your pre-accident medical record will also show any treatment you received for a pre-existing condition, which can be a double-edged sword, depending on your case.
On the one hand, if you are seeking compensation for an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, your medical record will be able to provide evidence of the status of your condition pre-accident compared to the status of your condition after the crash. On the other hand, the defendants can point to your pre-existing condition as the actual cause of your pain and suffering, not the accident. This can considerably impact your ability to obtain an award successfully.
We Can Help You
The New Jersey personal injury lawyers of Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers can help you request your medical records from your doctors, hospitals, and other caregivers, and we will review them with you to determine how they can best support your claim. We will work to document a link between the accident and the exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, and we will advise you of your rights regarding privacy while petitioning to only have those records relevant to your claim released. You can count on us to always have your best interests at heart.
You can contact Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers at (973) 364-8300 or reach us through our law firm’s contact form to schedule a free consultation.Written by: Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers Last Updated : August 25, 2023
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* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.
The trial attorneys at Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers have decades of experience with personal injury litigation. We understand the difficulties accident victims experience. Our staff is especially skilled at dealing with medical providers and insurance companies to navigate these claims and allow you to focus on what is truly important - getting back to health.
If you have been injured in an accident, call us! We are here for you 24 hours a day. The consultation is free. You will not pay any fees unless we win your case, because here at Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers, it is all about getting results for you.