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The Role of Medical Records in Michigan Personal Injury Claims

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How Medical Records Set the Stage for Personal Injury Damages

When a person is injured due to another party’s negligent or reckless actions, they’re often entitled to substantial compensation. However, it’s not enough to simply say, “This person’s actions are what led to my problems!” In reality, there are three important elements that must be proven, and medical records in Michigan are often central to these personal injury claims.

The essential elements to prove are:

  • Duty of care: Show that the negligent party had a duty to avoid actions that could harm others.
  • Violation of duty: The negligent party must violate their duty of care.
  • Harm causation: Negligent actions only rise to the level of damages if they cause harm.

A duty of care is fairly straightforward and often the easiest element to prove. After all, everyone is expected to avoid actions that could be harmful to others. It can also be simple to prove that a party violated their duty — such as a grocery store not cleaning a spill that ends up causing a slip and fall accident.

However, proving that harm directly came from such negligence is where medical records in Michigan personal injury cases become critical. Such records are often the only way to prove that some form of harm actually occurred.

Why Are Medical Records So Important?

When a person is injured due to another party’s actions, medical records serve as evidence of the claimed injuries. However, they also play many other essential roles that people may not recognize. In fact, personal injury victims sometimes go through their entire claim — even after receiving compensation — without realizing the full role of medical records in Michigan.

Here are just a few of those roles:

  • Establishing a baseline: Medical records from before an accident occurred can establish a baseline of health that existed prior to sustaining injuries. This will show just how severe the injuries are.
  • Causation: It must be proven that a liable party’s actions are what caused injuries. That’s why it’s so important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • History of treatment: A person’s medical records also show the treatment and rehabilitation that was necessary due to sustained injuries.
  • Medical expenses: Medical records show how much a person has spent — or debt accrued — due to necessary treatment. This is money that can often be compensated.
  • Pain and suffering: Medical records can also provide physical evidence that establishes why pain and suffering is occurring.
  • Expert opinions: There are often expert opinions in medical records that can support an injury victim’s case and explain the potential long-term effects of their injury.
  • Witness credibility: Medical records can strengthen a person’s case by showing that they’ve taken concrete actions toward recovering from their injuries.

For these reasons and more, the role of medical records in Michigan personal injury cases couldn’t be more substantial. While they’re typically not the only form of evidence presented, they’re often among the most important. Michigan law is strict when it comes to proving liability in court, so being prepared with this critical evidence is vital.

Do You Need an Attorney if Medical Records Prove Your Claim?

Envision a scenario where medical records seem to prove a case beyond all doubt. Perhaps the injury victim visited the doctor one day prior to their accident, and they got a clean bill of health.

Then after suffering an injury the next day, they’re immediately transported to the hospital for treatment. Clearly, any harm they’ve experienced was due to the liable party’s actions.

In such a situation, is it really necessary to hire an attorney? Doesn’t this case seem like a “slam dunk”? The reality is that no one is required to seek legal representation, but failing to do so can create significant difficulties. Here are just a few of the challenges a person could face:

  • Lack of legal knowledge
  • Deceptive insurance company tactics
  • Difficulty understanding deadlines and legal procedures
  • Hardships collecting evidence
  • Inability to determine liability — particularly when multiple parties are involved
  • Lack of knowledge regarding fair damages
  • Inability to effectively negotiate a settlement
  • The stress and emotional toll of dealing with complex legal matters while in recovery
  • A major risk of undercompensation

The simple fact is — whether a person is injured due to medical malpractice or car accidents caused by government negligence — there’s no such thing as an “open and shut” case. And even when evidence is overwhelmingly in a person’s favor, insurance companies will try their hardest to pay as little compensation as possible.

That’s why anyone injured due to another party’s actions — even if medical records prove their Michigan personal injury case — should speak with an attorney. And since we offer free consultations at Sigal Law Firm, there’s no risk in learning your options. Contact us today at (248) 220-1234 for your complimentary case review.+

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