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Understanding Your Medical Records


Some of the most important documents your West Palm Beach personal injury attorney will need to see for your personal injury claim are your medical records. Your medical records contain objective confirmation and evidence of your injuries, your doctor’s notes about your condition, your prescribed treatment and your recovery. Your medical records are how you and your West Palm Beach personal injury attorney will prove to the insurance company that your injuries are real and that they were caused by the incident in question.

Medical records, like many scientific and formal documents, are laced with jargon, abbreviations and shorthand that doctors and medical professionals can easily understand, but which laypeople might not. You might feel intimidated by this, but don’t worry. Any experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney should be familiar with how to read medical records as understanding the true nature and extent of injuries is crucial to negotiating settlements with the insurance company. After all, the insurance company and defense law firm have people on staff who can read medical records. Your West Palm Beach personal injury law firm would be at a disadvantage if he or she could not as well.

How to Read Common Abbreviations

Most medical records have common terms and abbreviations. An experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorney should be able to decipher them and figure out what they say about your condition. For example, a reference to “ETOH” means that a patient may have been under the influence of alcohol, which would be crucial information for your West Palm Beach personal injury attorney to know as it would greatly affect the case’s settlement prospects.

Another common term you may see on your medical records is “secondary to MVA,” which indicates that the doctor believed that the injuries were caused by the vehicle collision. This is exactly what you and your West Palm Beach personal injury law firm should want to see as it indicates causation and makes your case significantly stronger.

By contrast, you and your West Palm Beach personal injury law firm do not want to see “DNKA” on your records, as it indicates that the patient did not keep a scheduled appointment. This can be fatal to your case because you, as a plaintiff, have a responsibility to mitigate your damages. The defense attorneys will point to this note, and you and your West Palm Beach personal injury attorney will have to explain it.

For more information on how your medical records will help your personal injury case, call a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. Call Stephen J. Press at (561) 833-2772.

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