Both plaintiff and defense attorneys handling personal injury cases require medical record review for attorneys, a service provided by a medical record review company. The review is provided by an expert team comprising physicians and registered nurse consultants who make available expert case analysis, case chronology and summary. These services help the attorney evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case in hand. Whether preparing for deposition and trial, or developing cross examination questions, this service will prove useful.
Detailed medical records are necessary to prove physical as well as emotional damage following a personal injury. While physical injuries can be established via X-rays, scans and photographs, emotional injuries and damages are difficult to prove.
Probable Causes of Emotional Trauma
Emotional trauma is often a byproduct of:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Domestic violence
- Sexual misconduct
- Marital infidelity
- Criminal action against loved ones by known or unknown people
- Prolonged illness to oneself or loved ones
- Medical malpractice against oneself or loved ones
- Untimely death to loved ones
- Damages caused by natural calamities
When willful actions, unintended actions or negligence by others cause damage to an individual or their property, emotional damages can be claimed if the victims are experiencing emotional trauma, as a result, and can prove it through records.
Records and a Lot of Them to Review
In such cases, attorneys and law firms would have to deal with voluminous records. These would involve medical records documenting appointments with psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors, and the diagnoses they’ve made regarding the client’s psychological condition. There will also be anecdotal evidence dealing with psychological stressors the individual is dealing with.
Medical records involving documentation of physical injuries can be used to prove emotional issues as well, since long term physical suffering and pain affect the individual emotionally. As you would know, physical and emotional suffering must be linked to make the case stronger. There are also physician damages in relation to emotional trauma. Insomnia, tremors, heart palpitations, headaches, etc are all the result of emotional stress and trauma that should be able to prove with the medical documentation available.
Narratives about the client’s health condition from a psychiatrist, psychologist or licensed counselor can also help, while letters from the client’s loved ones, pastor, friends, employer or colleagues detailing the emotional condition could also have an influence, though the professional sources would strengthen the case more. Records of prescription medications used for psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression are also important documentation.
Distress to Anguish
Mental anguish is a strong argument for emotional damages. The more intense the mental anguish, the easier emotional trauma can be proven. Life-changing and severe injuries can cause emotional pain, with the intensity of the pain resulting in emotional anguish. It depends on how clearly and vividly the individual’s emotional pain can be displayed, provided there are life-changing injuries that can be proven.
Documentation Related to the Origin of the Incident
Documentation related to the cause or origin of the incident is integral to stake a claim of emotional damages. An incident that occurred as a result of negligence by another individual can make the claim stronger. In incidents where no such negligence is involved or proved, the claim gets weaker.
It’s true that objective matters of the event do not determine the trauma alone. The event could be relatively minor, but the individual may experience an adverse emotional reaction to it even without experiencing physical harm to themselves or their loved ones. However, legally, it is important to prove the extent of the individual’s trauma objectively and also that the mental anguish is the result of the incident caused by negligence.
CT and MRI Scans, Photos, X-rays
There is a lot of evidence and reports involved here, including scans, x-rays, photographs of the incident and the physical damage on the body. Reports of psychiatric diagnoses are also important. CT and MRI scans clearly reveal the structural and functional changes that occur in the brain as a result of trauma. There would be a good deal of transcription involved. As you’ve seen, it is vital to maintain thorough documentation of the psychological and medical treatment and diagnoses.
Emotional damages have conventionally only been considered rarely. But the wheels of change have been set in motion and emotional damages are now a major factor in various cases. Some states have set caps on non-economic damages compensation.
Placing a Value on Emotional Pain
For the sake of objectivity, it is important that a value is placed on the emotional pain undergone by the client:
- This involves considering the value of special damages which is the total of the client’s medical and treatment bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and the wages lost as a result of the emotional distress.
- A multiple of 1 to 5 times must be placed on the total of the special damages, with a higher multiple for the more serious injuries.
- After determining the multiple, the total costs need to be multiplied by that number for the amount which you feel represents the client’s suffering, which will be the amount demanded for the settlement.
- Previous jury verdicts could also give a clear idea of the worth of damages this case has the potential to attain.
With medical record review services, you can make sure you put forward a convincing case for emotional damages for your client. Your case preparation and presentation becomes easier and efficient when you have a clear idea of the actual medical facts involved.