medical charts

Evidence in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case – Part 1

The law states that all drivers have a legal duty to drive responsibly and with due care. When a driver violates this duty, it often results in a motor vehicle accident and the reckless endangerment of others’ safety. In many accidents, someone receives an injury due to the collision and this gives rise to a personal injury negligence action.

The strength of the claim is largely based upon the amount of quality evidence supporting it. Evidence that attorneys should collect to maximize the value of the case includes medical records, photographs, witness statements, and incident reports.

This is Part 1 of a 5-part blog series discussing Evidence in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case.

1. Medical Records

Medical records of the injured client are necessary and crucial. There is no personal injury claim without this evidence. These records must link the injury to the accident. The first line of defense by insurance companies is to deny the injury that occurred in the event. So, it is mandatory to collect the injured person’s medical records from any and all healthcare providers seen after, and as a result of, the accident. There are times when additional records, such as a 5-year history of records from a primary physician are required to show an absence of the claimed injury prior to the accident. It's important to rule out any pre-existing or subsequent non-related injury-causing event.

When the accident involves an aggravation of a pre-existing injury or health issue, then it is equally as important to get all historical records of the condition prior to the accident as well as subsequent medical care in order to prove the degree of aggravation and the value of the injury.

Overall, medical records are the evidence used to prove the foundation of the injury claim. They prove the existence of an injury. They prove the cause of the injury or the cause of the aggravation of an injury. They also prove the extent of an injury.

While it is very helpful for the client/patient to provide discharge documents, copies of prescriptions and other records were given to the client by the treating healthcare provider, these records are very limited in the information and evidence in which they provide. Accordingly, the attorney must obtain the complete medical chart and records of the client to fully discover and prove the injury, its cause, and its extent.

To learn about the next piece of evidence, photographs, return for Part 2 of the series. In the meantime, if you have been injured in an accident and need to take legal action, contact The Mark Casto Law Firm, PC online or by dialing (706) 940-4002.