When a patient is the victim of medical malpractice, their medical malpractice attorney needs a paper trail.
This documentation should not only include evidence detailing the injuries that the patient has suffered but should also demonstrate how the injuries took place.
While gathering the documentation yourself may not be feasible, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you get the documents needed to build a strong claim. The more supporting documentation you have for the case, the more likely you are to have a successful claim.
Here are a few of the documents usually required for a successful medical malpractice case:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Insurance correspondence
- Correspondence with the adverse doctor or insurer
- Photographs of the victim before and after the incident
- Proof of missed work and lost wages
- Autopsy report and death certificate (if applicable)
The Importance of Medical Records
The most important documents for getting a medical malpractice claim underway are your medical records.
While these records are commonly indecipherable by those without medical training, these records are the golden ticket that explains exactly what care was provided and when, and will reveal whether or not negligent care was provided. These records will usually also indicate whether any additional treatment was provided after the injury or whether any future care will be required following the incident. These are always a necessity for the proper evaluation of a potential medical malpractice claim.
While some general literature and medical notes are given to patients upon discharge, you will need your complete medical file. To obtain your actual medical file, you will need to submit a request to the treating physician or medical facility.
A patient is entitled to receive a copy of your medical records, but the facility may charge a fee for making the copies. If the records can be provided digitally, then the cost is usually less expensive.
Keeping Track of Medical Bills
The law allows any patient injured to recover the out-of-pocket costs of any medical expenses that are incurred as a result of medical malpractice. All your medical bills should be gathered, as they are essential to proving and claiming your medical costs.
All your medical expenses, both past, and future may be submitted as evidence. You should give all these bills to your attorney upfront and provide any additional bills as you receive them.
When medical care is paid for by health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, you will receive an explanation of benefits (EOBs) for each separate bill paid.
You will need to keep this correspondence to show:
· What bills were paid?
· How much was paid?
· Who paid it?
If you win your medical malpractice claim, certain insurers, such as Medicare and Medi-Cal may be entitled to subrogation, which means that they can claim a lien against your monetary recovery. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure that you retrieve all of your medical bills from all of your medical providers and medical facilities for any medical bills paid out as a result of your claim.
Falsification of Medical Records
Clients are often concerned about a doctor or medical facility altering medical records after the fact in order to cover themselves. While this does happen, over the past 15 years of practice, our office has determined that this is a very infrequent occurrence. This is generally for two reasons: (1) most facilities and doctors’ offices have digital records, which have time-stamped entries, making those records difficult to forge or fabricate after the fact, and (2) if a doctor is found to have altered or fabricated medical records, that doctor has a high likelihood of being disciplined by the Medical Board of California, and further risks nullification of his or her insurance policy, meaning any damages resulting from malpractice would have to be paid by that doctor personally.
Consult With A Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of medical malpractice in Los Angeles, consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to learn about your options. Schedule a free case evaluation with The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, Esq., by calling (310) 289-2600 today.