If you are injured as a result of an accident or incident caused by the fault of another person, inevitably you will be treated by various healthcare providers who will produce records of your visits with them, including notes of what you have told them. In addition to the healthcare providers’ own notes, they will also keep and produce numerous others healthcare records such as requisitions and test results. The medical or healthcare records produced by your various healthcare providers will include various medical findings, diagnoses and prognosis.
If, as a result of an accident, you seek compensation either directly from the insurance company or in a lawsuit, the insurance company and defence lawyers involved will seek to obtain a copy of all of your relevant healthcare records to substantiate your claim and injuries.
In most cases, your healthcare records are provided to the insurance adjuster to substantiate and support your claim for compensation. If your case is not settled and you commence a court action, as part of the court action you will be required to list all relevant documentation, including all medical records in an affidavit of documents which will be provided to the opposing party. Generally speaking, your lawyer will control the process and write to various third parties to obtain all relevant documentation, including healthcare records so that they can be listed in your affidavit of documents and supplied to the opposing party’s lawyer. In most cases, the opposing party will ask for copies of your medical records both before and after the date of the incident causing your injury. Your lawyer will ask you to sign a medical authorization form or direction allowing your healthcare providers to provide your lawyer with a copy of your records. It is important that your lawyer controls this process so that only relevant documents are obtained and produced.
In addition to standard medical records your lawyer will obtain as part of the court action process, your Ottawa personal injury lawyer will likely also retain (hire) medical experts to examine you and provide medical-legal reports.
Once the lawsuit has been commenced and the parties have exchanged affidavit of documents and document briefs containing all the records that are relevant to any issue in the court action, the medical records can then be used in another step in a court proceeding called examination for discovery. An examination for discovery is a step in a court action which allows each party to ask questions that are relevant to the case, under oath or affirmation. All parties to a court action must attend an examination for discovery. Your Ottawa personal injury lawyer will prepare you for this step. During the examination for discovery, it is very likely that the opposing lawyer will ask you questions about your medical condition and refer you to various medical records. Therefore, it is important that you review all of your records independently and with your lawyer in advance of the examinations for discovery.
In the event your personal injury matter proceeds to litigation and ultimately to a trial, the medical records will be used during the conduct of the trial. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to trial. However, your accident and injury lawyer will prepare your case as if it is proceeding to trial so that if a trial is necessary, your lawyer will be ready to protect your interests and proceed to a trial. If your case reaches trial, many records including healthcare records will be used during the trial in various ways. In some cases, they are filed with the court and submitted to the judge as part of documents which are admitted or filed under the Evidence Act. In other cases, they are submitted to witnesses who refer to the records as part of the testimony.
The use of medical records in a personal injury action is a vital and important component to any successful injury case. The lack of medical records or mistakes with respect to obtaining and tendering of medical records at the early stages of a lawsuit or at trial can cost an injured person significant compensation. As experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we are trained to ensure that all of your records including medical records are obtained as early as possible and properly exchanged with the opposing party and submitted at trial in accordance with the rules of evidence.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to obtain the information and guidance you need. Our lawyers provide free legal advice and consultations. Our lawyers work on a no fee unless you win basis, called a contingency fee agreement. There is no fee unless we win your case. Contact us at your convenience at613-315-4878.