When you file an injury lawsuit, you are going to need evidence of your injuries and other damages to convince the jury of the harms you faced. Medical records are a vital piece of evidence, and you will need to get records from your treatment to prove your injuries, along with other medical bills and statements.
To prove that your injury happened at all, you will need medical records from your emergency treatment on the same day as the accident. From there, records of all care related to the injury – and some care unrelated to the injury – will be necessary to round out your proof. Finally, you will need financial records, such as medical bills, to show how much your injuries cost you.
For help with an injury case, call Legal Care New Jersey’s NJ personal injury attorneys at (732) 838-9769 right away.
What Information Do I Need for Documenting an Injury in New Jersey?
If you were injured, you will need medical records from the day of the accident as well as all follow-up care related to your accident and injuries. You might even need additional medical records from before your accident to show your initial baseline before the accident. In any case, you should consult with our NJ personal injury lawyers about what exactly these records need to show.
Medical Records from the Day of the Accident
If you were hurt badly enough that you need to sue for the accident, you likely went to the hospital and sought medical attention on that very same day as the accident. If you went to the hospital and got treatment right away, then there will be records of that treatment, and you can produce them to help link your injuries to the accident.
If you waited days or weeks before seeking treatment, then the date of the injury and the date of treatment will not match, and the court will question whether the injuries were actually from the accident. Some people commit fraud by trying to pass off injuries that happened days after an accident as being from the accident so that they don’t have to pay for those medical bills. It is important to get treated as soon as you can so that the matching dates can help strengthen your case.
Medical Records from Delayed Treatment
In some cases, you might not actually be able to get treatment right away after the accident because you do not know about the injuries. This is common in medical malpractice cases where the symptoms of your injury might look like normal post-surgical symptoms, and it can take weeks or years before you end up seeking a second opinion for your injuries. Alternatively, some back and neck injuries are not noticeable until the next day when your muscles and tendons relax – and you only notice them when you wake up feeling awful. In these cases, you should get treatment as soon as you can and get records of this care so our lawyers can help link it to the accident.
The doctor’s notes might contain information about the fact that you complained of injuries in a car accident or whatever other accident you were involved in. This also helps link the treatment to the accident itself.
If you were injured and sought treatment, you should follow through with the doctor’s recommendations for ongoing treatment and follow-up care. Generally speaking, injuries do not get better as quickly or efficiently if you skimp on things like follow-up appointments, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and mental health therapy, but there are also legal reasons you need records of follow-up care.
It is an injury victim’s duty to “mitigate damages,” meaning that you must do what you reasonably can to avoid letting damages and injuries get worse after an accident. If you ignore the doctor’s recommended follow-up steps and do not get the rest of the medical care you need, your injuries might be worse off because of it. Victims who do this might not be able to claim compensation for the share of the injuries and pain and suffering linked to their failure to follow up. Not getting this care and the records to prove it can give the defendant grounds to deny portions of your damages or even blame you for your own pain and suffering.
Records of follow-up care can also prove how bad the injury is and what a struggle it is to recover. This can go a long way toward proving things like pain and suffering and lost quality of life or lost enjoyment of life.
Records from Before the Accident
In cases where injury victims have preexisting conditions and health issues, they might need earlier medical records to prove what symptoms were there before the accident and what symptoms were new and attributable to the accident. For example, if you already had a leg broken in one place, then slipped and fell in a store and broke the leg again, the court can compare the old X-rays to the new X-rays and award you for the worsened break.
Many conditions and preexisting injuries or disabilities ultimately make the pain and suffering worse after an accident. For example, an 80-year-old plaintiff with osteoporosis would likely suffer much more serious injuries in a slip and fall than a healthy 16-year-old football player. Defendants are responsible for all injuries to a victim, even if they were worse because of the victim’s preexisting conditions. However, the records will be necessary to prove your preexisting conditions.
A defendant might call into question very severe injuries and accuse you of having some other intervening accident if the injuries are more severe than one might expect. However, proof of your preexisting conditions will help explain why your injuries were so severe and show the court that you do indeed deserve compensation for the full extent of your injuries.
Collecting Medical Bills for Injury Claims in NJ
To prove your case in full, you will also need to collect all of the bills and financial records related to your case. This includes not only the medical bills for treatment but also other records of expenses related to your care and other damages, such as property damage and lost wages.
Call Our NJ Personal Injury Attorneys Today
After an accident, reach out to Legal Care New Jersey’s Jersey City personal injury lawyers at (732) 838-9769.