Personal injury litigation begins with the collection and sharing of all your relevant health records with the insurance companies, lawyers and other parties involved in your action. This blog will explain some of the ways your health records will be used by your personal injury lawyers in your claim and at trial.
Clinical Notes and Records
During the course of your case, your personal injury lawyer will submit all of your relevant clinical notes and records from a doctor(s), clinic and/or from a hospital as evidence to help support your claim for personal injury. Your records will typically include notes from your medical attendances, medications prescribed, imaging results and other important information. Your personal injury lawyer at some point will have to make these records available to the insurance company, the lawyer for the defendant, and the judge and/or jury.
Your lawyer may also call your doctor as a witness if the matter proceeds to trial. Your health records will be reviewed and explained to the judge or jury in detail during the doctor’s testimony. The doctor may also be asked to explain abbreviations or to help the lawyers read their handwriting. If the records are completely illegible, a doctor may sometimes be asked to transcribe their notes in advance of trial.
Most of the time, your medical records will substantiate what you are saying about your health condition. However, when you are called to give evidence at an Examination for Discovery or to testify at trial, your health records may contradict some of the things you are saying. If this is the case, the defendant’s lawyer will likely put a copy of the records in front of you and show you the contradiction. This is a common law rule of evidence from the case Browne v. Dunn (1893) 6 R. 67, H.L. This generally accepted rule allows you to review the evidence and to (hopefully) explain any contradictions.
Your health records will demonstrate the same complaints over a long period of time, which can help lend credibility to your claim for personal injury. This consistency in the written records will typically help your claim settle since it may convince an insurer that your claim is serious and legitimate.
A defendant lawyer will try to use inconsistencies, if any, against you at your Examination for Discovery or during cross examination at trial. That is why you should review all of your records with your personal injury lawyer before any Examination for Discovery and prior to trial.
Proving Your Case
Ultimately, the hope is that your medical records will be used as favourable evidence to support your claim for personal injury. If you have been injured in an accident or some other event, it is important to continue to seek medical attention, attend all medical appointments with your doctor(s) and to make sure you voice all of your medical complaints while there.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Ottawa can help you with your Personal Injury Claim.