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Medical Records in Personal Injury Cases: Downplaying Red Flags Part 2

In a previous post, we discussed common red flags insurance adjusters look for in personal injury cases, and how to downplay them. Here are a few more to be aware of. Knowing what the adjusters look for can help you ensure that you maximize the value of your case.

Gaps in Treatment

Gaps in an injured plaintiff’s treatment found in medical records in personal injury cases are a red flag for insurance adjusters when perusing medical records and bills.  Significant gaps in treatment are usually detrimental to an injured plaintiff’s case.

The main way to ensure that there are no significant gaps in treatment is to follow up with an emergency room and/or a primary care physician as soon as possible after the accident – preferably, on the day of the accident.  It is also important that someone else drive you to the emergency room or urgent care facility, even if your own vehicle is drivable from the accident scene.

Moreover, it is absolutely essential that you, the injured plaintiff, comply with all of your healthcare providers’ treatment recommendations, that you show up for all medical and physical therapy appointments on time, that you stay for the entire appointment, and that you complete all prescribed home exercise regimens.  Frequent late arrivals or appointment no-shows revealed in medical records in personal injury cases will negatively impact the case and will almost certainly result in an insurance adjuster placing less settlement money on your case than if you had complied fully with your treatment protocols.

Except in cases where there is a significant permanent injury, continued medical treatment beginning one year or more after sustaining the initial injury – and which follows a lengthy gap in treatment – is not likely to be deemed related to the subject accident.

Speaking with Healthcare Providers About Your Symptoms

It is also important that injured plaintiffs are mindful of what they say to their healthcare providers, including EMTs and emergency room personnel, about their symptoms, pain levels, and injuries following an accident.

While being treated in an emergency room following an accident, you should be very clear about what your symptoms are and what body parts are bothering you at that time.  All too often, injured plaintiffs claim at deposition that numerous body parts were bothering them at the scene of the accident or in the emergency room.  But the medical records summarizing the visit state otherwise.  The moral of the story is to always be clear, concise, and accurate about your injuries, pain levels, and symptoms when communicating with healthcare providers at every stage of your treatment.  Overly exaggerating your pain and symptoms is one of the worst things you can do and will negatively impact the value of your case.

Medical Records in Personal Injury Cases Are Important

Medical records and their contents are extremely important – especially upon initial review by an adjuster at the beginning of a personal injury case. Being mindful of these red flags in medical records in personal injury cases will allow you to portray your injuries and symptoms to your healthcare providers in a light most favorable to your case.

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