You don’t, not always. But even if the records are not entirely accurate, the mistakes are usually not that important from the victim’s point of view.
But the most important documents in the lawsuit are almost always your medical records, prepared by your doctor. And usually, your doctor has no motive to falsify any document. They might get things wrong – everyone does – but they’re not forging documents.
And the consequences of fraud are too severe to ignore.
You still question any document that the other side produces first. And before you even ask for a specific amount, you obtain and review your own medical records, to make sure they accurately reflect your treatment.
Typically, I start off negotiations by supplying a certified copy of my client’s medical records to the other side.
What is a certified copy? The doctor’s (or hospital’s) clerk provides the records, at a cost, and signs an affidavit saying that these records are accurate copies of the originals. Of all the records for the time period.
Why do I do this? So the other side knows I am not “holding back” the records that hurt my client, if any do.
If I file suit, the other side requests an authorization, and pays for their own copies from the doctor. Yes, it’s stupid, and yes, it’s expensive – but people do lie. And that’s the only way the insurance company can make sure people are being honest.
Inaccuracies do happen – one doctor who provided records to me was treating two different patients named “Debbie Jones” – but you can usually call up the doctor and request a correction, if the mistake is important enough to warrant calling it to the other side’s attention. The same with police reports and witness statements.
There are cases where you don’t trust the other side’s documents. I’ve been involved in two will contests – where one relative doesn’t believe that a document is legitimate, or that it was executed under undue influence. You can use handwriting and computer experts – if you are willing to pay them.
But the most common question in a personal injury case is whether the accident caused the injuries the victim is claiming. And while medical records have a bearing on this, they are usually not as important as the testimony of the victim and the doctors.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. It is important to know every document in your case, and why it says what it says. If you have a personal injury case in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know what your lawsuit is worth, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury Lawyer about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.