A premises liability case involves an injury to a victim that is caused by a property owner’s negligence. In other words, it is a personal injury case wherein the injury is caused by an unsafe or defective condition on another person’s property. Negligence in this case means that the property owner did not use reasonable care in connection with the property. To recover compensation for the injuries sustained, premises liability medical record review is an important consideration. The injured person or his/her attorney must prove that the property owner was negligent in spite of knowing that the premises were in a dangerous condition, and this resulted in the injury/harm to the plaintiff. To prove the nature and seriousness of the injury and its effect on the victim, evidence from the medical records in crucial.
Types of Premises Liability Cases that Need Chart Review
- Slip and fall cases
- Inadequate maintenance of the premises
- Snow and ice accidents
- Defective conditions on the premises
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Inadequate building security leading to injury
- Amusement park accidents
- Floods/water leaks
- Chemicals or toxic fumes.
Medical Records and Medical Record Review Are Essential
Medical claims submitted to obtain financial compensation for injuries sustained depend on accurate documentation of the alleged injuries. Thus, medical records and their review could be the most important factors of the personal injury claim. The medical records should corroborate the injury claim made by the plaintiff.
Important medical records include the following:
- Diagnostic records regarding the injuries sustained
- Ambulance, paramedic, ER treatment records
- Lab and other test results, X-rays, scans that prove the injury
- Medical reports or statements from treating physicians, medical specialists and consultants
- Physical therapy records
- Discharge summaries that contain prognosis and future treatment needs
- Bills and receipts related to the injury and treatments availed
Why Medical Records Are Very Important
Medical records show the timeline of the plaintiff’s injury, the costs involved in treating the injury, and the impact of the injury in the plaintiff’s life.
- Direct evidence of the injuries: ER records, diagnosis, doctors’ notes, prescribed treatment, and medical documentation of the pain experienced are all evidence. These documents help determine the recovery time involved and any future treatments that may be required.
- Evidence of damages: Medical records could act as the legal basis behind a premises liability or other type of personal injury case. They provide proof that the plaintiff was seriously injured.
- Medical records indicate the value of the injury case: With accurate medical records and medical bills, the actual price of surgeries and other treatments, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and prescriptions can be calculated.
- Important in the fight against the defense: The defense may conduct their own medical investigation. In such a scenario, having a complete medical record set is advantageous for the plaintiff because his/her attorney can build a stronger case for the claim
- Evidence that the injuries are not due to pre-existing conditions: It is common for defense counsel to argue that the injuries, or pain and suffering of the victim stem from a pre-existing medical condition. The medical records can show that the plaintiff had no health issues before the accident. Also, even in the case of plaintiffs with some pre-existing health condition, statements from treating physicians can help establish that the injuries are new, or from the accident.
The attorney can use medical records to prove both economic and non-economic damages. Apart from tangible costs, the medical records will also contain record of intangible costs such as chronic pain and suffering.
Medical records contain the true facts regarding the personal injury and its impact on the plaintiff. They are accurate and quantifiable and are regarded as one of the strongest forms of legal evidence. Medical record review for attorneys is an important solution in this regard because it helps the attorney determine whether the case has value and can be effectively presented in court. Judges can benefit from the information contained in the medical records because it helps them determine how much the injury has affected the victim, and how it will continue to impact his or her future.
Read our Infographic on Why Medical Records Are Important In A Premises Liability Case