Medical records are used as the baseline measure for your car accident case. Insurance adjusters, a jury pool and anyone else that is going to evaluate your case will likely look at your medical records determine the amount of compensation that you are entitled to for your car accident case. There are many intricacies in actually getting medical records; there is a right and a wrong way to order the medical records from your providers.
What Medical Records Should Be Ordered?
You do not have to order all of your medical records. Medical records are expensive and many of the medical records are not relevant. Your insurance company is going to want these and you only want to divulge medical records that will help or enhance the value of your case. A common trick by insurance companies is to ask for an authorization to see all your medical records from your provider. You do not want to do this. They are going to on a fishing expedition to prove preexisting injuries, errors in the medical records and anything else to devalue your case.
When I order your medical records I will provide them to the insurance company. However, I will make sure they are narrowly tailored to the medical records that are needed for your case. I will usually narrowly tailor them to a certain time frame–no more than three years from the date of the car accident. Moreover, I may not give up all the medical records if they are from doctors that will not help the case or are not relevant to the case.
It is Important to read all of the Medical Records in your Case Before Giving them to the Insurance Company
I read every single last word of your medical records to determine if they are relevant, narrowly tailored and that your doctor didn’t make any mistakes. Doctors see many patients every day and sometimes they make mistakes. For example, recently in one of my car accident cases the doctor wrote down that it was the left shoulder that my client was complaining about. Well, in speaking with my client I determined that it was the right shoulder. This is not good. I was able to get the doctor to write a redaction before we sent it off the insurance adjuster. If I hadn’t caught that error not only does that hurt the credibility of the doctor but it also brings into question the injury sustained by my client in the car accident.
Medical Records Should Be Ordered With and Affidavit Attached
When we order medical records we always have the custodian of the medical records sign that they are a true and correct copy under penalty of perjury. The reason that we do this is so the insurance company knows that we are not making up anything in the medical records. We also do it for trial purposes. If we don’t have them sign an affidavit we would need the doctor to authenticate them at trial. Sometimes, the doctor is unavailable and sometimes the doctor doesn’t want to come to trial. We want the medical records to be signed for that way it protects us if the doctor is unavailable or doesn’t want to appear in court. A sample affidavit is provided below:
MEDICAL RECORDS AFFIDAVIT
COMES NOW ________________________________________, being duly sworn upon oath does hereby certify:
- That I am the medical records custodian of _________________________________ ____________________________________________; and,
- That in this capacity, I have custody and control of the complete medical records of the patients who have been treated or examined at this medical facility; and,
- That I have custody of all the medical records of this facility for the treatment of patient Client (Date of Birth) from, and including, Date of Accident through the present date; and abstracted set of copies)
- That I have personally reviewed these records on this date and certify that I personally identify these _____ pages of records as being the true and correct medical records of the Medical Records Department as herein stated, concerning this patient during the periods above-mentioned and that these records were personally prepared by members of the staff of this medical facility and kept in the regular course of the business and profession of this medical facility at or near the time of the treatment or examination of this patient during the period above-mentioned; and,
- That the attached documents are correct copies of the records of this patient at this medical facility during the period(s) above mentioned.
You Must Send a Letter to the Custodian of The Records
You want to request the medical records for your car accident from the right person. You will need to call the doctor’s office and determine who is the keeper of the medical records. Make sure to send the affidavit and the letter along with payment for the medical records. A sample letter is provided below:
Our office represents the above named patient in reference to a personal injury accident. Please provide us with a complete copy of the medical records from your facility. An authorization signed by our client is attached allowing you to release these records to our office. Please include any and all: ambulance records, healthcare and treatment records, doctor and nurse’s notes, office notes, X-rays reports, correspondence, diagnostic tests, pharmacy records, admission and discharge notes, progress notes and all other medical records for our above client. If the medical records include psychiatric, alcohol or drug abuse information, please include those records as they are specifically mentioned in our client’s authorization. Please include all records from and including the date of accident to the present date.
Do Not Give Psychiatric or Psychological Records
Insurance companies love to ask for psychiatric or psychological records in car accident cases. They are prying into your personal life and usually these are not relevant. Only under special circumstances do I allow this and only after I have consulted with the client and made sure they are narrowly tailored to the information needed. If we are claiming a brain injury or emotional distress it may be relevant to prove the injury was caused by the car accident.
Call the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm
We can help you determine what medical records need to be given or if you have a case. We have handled many car accident cases and have worked with many insurance adjusters. Give us a call and we would be more than happy to help you out. The call is free and so is the advice.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.