Why Your Medical History Prior to the Accident Is So Important
You suffered serious injuries in a car accident in Florida that was not your fault, and you want to obtain compensation for the costs of your medical treatment, lost wages, and other financial expenses related to your accident. You may also want to seek additional compensation for your pain and suffering, and you should get all the money you’re entitled to.
Even though you have the right to pursue compensation, you should understand that the process is complex. What’s more, the defendant’s insurance company will consider your medical history when evaluating your claim. Your medical history, as it relates to your personal injury claim, is a narrative of how your injury occurred in the accident. If you have a pre-existing condition that is affected by the accident, your medical history about that condition counts, too. It is vitally important to understand how your medical history can affect your chances of obtaining compensation.
Did You Have a Pre-Existing Condition?
Having a pre-existing condition does not mean you will not be able to obtain compensation after your accident.
If you had a pre-existing condition before the accident, and the accident did not affect the condition, you cannot hold the other party liable for that condition. Furthermore, the insurance company may point to your pre-existing condition as the real reason for your suffering, not the accident.
On the other hand, if you had a pre-existing condition, but the accident exacerbated your condition and made it worse, your injuries could be compensable. Examples include prior knee, hip, head, or back injuries. If your claim involves this scenario, you will want to provide your medical history and supporting medical records to show your previous treatment of the condition and the improvements you made during recovery. You will want to show how your recent accident aggravated your condition. In order to do this, you will likely need to provide testimony from your medical providers to show the status of your condition before and after the accident.
Build the Strongest Case Possible
The defendant’s insurance company will carefully review all information they can obtain from your medical history and records to try to avoid paying your claim. Therefore, you will need to do all you can to strengthen your claim. You will want to protect your rights, and you should make sure you do the following as you navigate your claim.
- Obtain medical treatment as soon as you can after the accident. This will provide you with the documentation you need to support your claim that the accident caused your injury or aggravated a pre-existing condition. You will want to obtain copies of all documents related to your treatment, which can include doctor’s appointments, treatment plans, prescription medication, lab and test results, and other pertinent information.
- Discuss your pre-existing condition with your lawyer. You should inform your attorney of any pre-existing conditions you had before the accident. You should also keep your attorney in the loop regarding the medical treatment you have received. This will allow the attorney to anticipate any actions the defendant’s insurance company may take to deny your claim so that they can respond accordingly and protect your rights.
- Protect your medical records. In Florida, doctors must maintain your medical records for at least five years. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides protections for you and your health information, and it places strict privacy controls on how your health care providers can share your information. Regardless, the defendants can request copies of your medical records, and the court can subpoena the release of your records during the discovery process of a personal injury lawsuit.
To help protect yourself, you should discuss who gets your medical records with your lawyer. Your attorney will know how best to handle the defendant’s request for your medical records and respond accordingly. Your lawyer may be able to have only your medical records pertaining to your accident or injury released. In any event, your lawyer should always act in accordance with your best interests and fight to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Us for Help
Since obtaining compensation for an injury following an accident caused by someone else is complex and requires a detailed understanding of the law, you should contact the Florida personal injury attorneys at Schuler, Weisser, Zoeller, Overbeck & Baxter P.A. for help will all aspects of the process. Contact us today at 561.689.8180 to request a free consultation.