Do You Need To See All Of My Medical Records?

YES!!!! One of the biggest mistakes that plaintiffs’ lawyers can make is failing to get all of their clients’ medical records. Many lawyers try to save money by requesting only those medical records from the date of the injury to the present. What a mistake!

Let’s begin with an example: say you injure your rotator cuff in an accident and bring a lawsuit against the negligent party for your shoulder injury. When asked by your attorney, you tell him that you have never had an injury to your shoulder and you have never had any pain or symptoms in your shoulder before the accident. CLIENTS NEVER REMEMBER BAD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO THEM. It often turns out that the client had an Emergency Room visit ten years before the accident during which, among other things, he complained of a sore shoulder. This single ER visit was long forgotten by the client, but will be the focal point of the defense lawyer’s claim that you are a liar!

When I meet with a client for the first time, I not only ask about prior injuries and medical treatment, I ask about the names and addresses of all physicians and hospitals where the client has received medical treatment. Additionally, I request a ledger from their health insurance carrier disclosing the names and dates of all medical providers who have received a payment from the health insurance carrier. This is the best way to verify that the client: (1) has not forgotten about a certain occasion that he had a shoulder injury; or (2) believe or not, some clients do not reveal all of the information about their medical background thinking that it is irrelevant or no one will find out. Big mistake!

Do yourself a favor, get all of the medical records even if they may at first glance appear to be unrelated to injury in your lawsuit.