January 7, 2015 • Legal Terminology
When you invoke a lawsuit to seek compensation for the harm and losses you have suffered because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, how does the defense know that the injuries you have suffered are significant or permanent?
Accessing Your Medical Records
Whether it is a car accident or medical malpractice case, the way defense attorneys know the extent of your injuries, is firstly from your own doctor’s medical records. Once you have initiated a lawsuit, your lawyer is obligated to provide the defense attorney with permission slips, which are known as authorizations. These permission slips will allow them to get copies of your doctor’s medical records.
The defense attorney will collect all your medical records from the doctors you have received treatment for the particular injuries you are seeking compensation. The defense attorney will inquire how many doctors you have consulted, and who they are. The defense will be entitled to receive all of those records. The attorney will go through all these records and identify all the problems you had, what complaints you made, and what treatment was rendered to you.
Medical Records are not Enough for the Defense
During the course of the lawsuit, the defense attorney will have the opportunity to question you at a question and answer session known as a deposition, which takes place under oath before the trial starts. Once the defense attorney knows about your medical condition from the records, he will ask you about the things you can and cannot do. Having all your medical records is not going to be sufficient for the defense lawyer to conclude that you have significant or permanent injuries.
In most instances, the defense lawyers will have you examined by a doctor of their choosing to evaluate your current medical condition. The defense will term this as an “independent” medical examination. However, the reality is there is nothing independent about this exam, as they hire this doctor for sole purpose of disputing the extent of your particular injuries.
Undermining Your Credibility
When you claiming that you are unable to perform certain activities, the defense attorney can go as far as hiring a private investigator to trail you and try to catch you on video, doing the activities you are claiming you cannot do. The defense simply does not accept at face value that you have suffered significant injuries, and the fact that you no longer can do certain activities. The defense will do everything possible to catch you in the act of doing something that you claim you could not do.
Hence, when you are filing a personal injury lawsuit, be ready for questions and investigations, as the defense is simply not going to accept your injuries at face value, even though you have provided them with your medical records. The defense attorney will ask you questions at a deposition and at trial, in order to make you say things that might discredit your claim or make it appear that your injuries are not as significant or serious as you are claiming them to be.