If you have been injured and have filed (or plan to file) a claim — whether it be a workers’ comp claim, a disability claim, or an injury lawsuit — you can rest assured your medical records — all of them — will be part of the case.
Consider an interesting situation we came across several years ago. We represented Mr. X who had been injured in a car wreck. He was seeing a chiropractor for his injury. The chiropractor’s office willingly turned over Mr. X’s medical records which revealed that, indeed, Mr. X’s injury had left him debilitated. In fact his neck injury progressed to the point where he had to undergo surgery on his cervical spine by an excellent Northern Virginia neurosurgeon.
The insurance company for the negligent driver who struck Mr. Landau’s client refused to take responsibility for the harms and losses caused by their insured’s unsafe driving. During pre-trial depositions, the Defendant’s insurance company produced an additional set of medical records — from the SAME chiropractor — for his treatment of Mr. X in the years leading up to the incident. Those records were not given to Abrams Landau! Why not? Because, the chiropractor’s office explained, when a patient comes to their office for treatment for a car crash claim, the office establishes a new billing ledger and file, because they bill the patient’s car insurance company rather than their health insurance ! Nowhere on the Chiropractor’s car crash records was there any mention of any prior treatment, billing or prior pages of records.
Unfortunately, Mr. X’s case suddenly went south with this new, damaging information.
Mr. X, of course, vociferously denied hiding anything, but rather said those pre-crash visits were so inconsequential he had forgotten about them. The Chiropractor’s excuses for not turning over the records to his own patient’s lawyer are less credible.
Those chiropractic records allowed the opposing side to cast doubt on the accident’s direct link to Mr. X’s condition and credibility. The case — which the mock trial & focus group indicated would result in a substantial verdict — ended up falling flat and the man received almost nothing.
How had the insurance company turned up records on Mr. X’s continued visits to the chiropractor? They had subpoenaed all medical records for Mr. X.
So if you are involved in a lawsuit or other injury-related claim, do not think for a moment you can “forget” or “hide” anything. Lawyers and insurance companies have their way of finding out! It is in your best interest to divulge everything right from the start!
If you or someone you know has been injured and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau at once (703) 796-9555.