How Medical Exams Win Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases place the burden of proof on the injured party. You must have supporting documentation and other evidence that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. One of the most effective ways to bolster your chances of a settlement or success in the courtroom is with the right medical exams.
Detailing your injuries – and the most likely cause of them – helps establish what damages you can expect as a personal injury victim. If you’re crossing the street in a crosswalk and are struck by a vehicle, X-rays and other imaging from the hospital are crucial to your case.
In this article you learn:
- When should you get checked?
- What medical tests do you need?
- How do medical tests help your case?
- When do you need a personal injury lawyer?
Following the right steps can ensure a better outcome for any personal injury case. Medical tests are a big part of the process.
When should you get checked?
Ideally, you should get checked immediately following an accident or injury caused by another’s carelessness. If you’re in a multi-vehicle car crash that someone else caused, you can request to go to the nearest hospital by ambulance to be evaluated. In most cases, if your injuries are severe enough, you also may receive treatment at the scene from emergency medical responders.
The sooner you go for a medical exam to document your injuries, the less likely it is the responsible party can claim you were injured some other way. Even if you think you’re fine after getting hurt (like in a car accident), you should still be examined right away. Sometimes hidden injuries like concussions and hairline fractures of bones do not immediately make themselves known.
If you choose not to go to the emergency room, contact your primary care doctor or visit an urgent care clinic as soon as possible.
What medical tests do you need?
If you end up going to the hospital after an injury, most emergency medical practitioners know which tests they may need to order to fully evaluate your condition. When you’re conscious and able to answer questions, the doctors and nurses may ask you about your injuries and where you’re experiencing pain. If you’re unconscious when brought it, they must determine how to proceed without your input.
Some of the most common – and useful – tests your doctor can perform to document and evaluate your injuries include:
- X-Rays. Most emergency care doctors, and other healthcare practitioners start with X-Rays when you’ve experienced any kind of blunt trauma. It could be from a car accident or a slip-and-fall incident. It’s the quickest way to assess whether you have any broken bones.
- Computed Tomography (CT) Scans. CT scans use the same technology found in X-rays to create a series of images of your entire body from different angles. Doctors can use the images to see if you may have any internal damage that requires additional testing or treatment.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Your doctor might order an MRI if they see something concerning on an X-Ray or CT scan that requires a better look. MRIs use magnetic technology to provide images of internal organs that do not show up on X-Rays and CT scans. MRIs can be especially useful for evaluating traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or any damage to your internal organs.
- Myelogram. A two-part imaging test, myelograms specifically identify problems in your spinal column. If your treating physician suspects you have a spinal cord injury, they may order one of these tests to confirm their suspicions.
- Electromyograms. If you’re experiencing any pain, paralysis, or weakness in your muscles, your doctor may order one of these tests to measure your muscle activity. Electromyograms are especially useful if you’re injuries may have caused paralysis.
- Nerve Conduction Study. Nerve damage can happen for many reasons, including from using defective products or medications. Conditions in the nervous system that cause numbness, weakness, or pain can be evaluated using a nerve conduction study.
Detailed notes from your treating physician on the results of any testing can be used by a personal injury attorney to prove your case. Make sure you request access to your medical records and all information from your medical exam if you decide to pursue a personal injury case.
How do medical tests help your case?
Following the advice of a doctor is essential to winning a personal injury claim. If you were injured in an accident, your doctor may recommend treatment to help recover from your injuries. Failing to complete any part of the recommendations can hurt your case, so be sure to comply.
Besides helping you heal, there are other important reasons to follow your doctor’s orders. The biggest reason is treatment establishes permanent documentation of your condition and how it happened for your medical history. Other reasons include:
- Documenting invisible injuries like whiplash that can cause lasting pain and suffering.
- Establish differences between pre-existing conditions and aggravating injuries caused by an someone else’s negligence.
- Satisfying requirements from insurance adjusters that you’ve taken your injuries seriously and are doing your part to recover from them.
When do you need a personal injury lawyer?
You should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. If you’re hospitalized and well enough to tolerate visitors, calling a personal injury lawyer to come to meet with you is recommended. The sooner you get legal counsel involved in your case, the better your chances of success.
Scott Atkinson has more than 30 years of experience representing personal injury victims. His dedicated team helps you through every step of the process. Give his office a call at 505-944-1050 or book an appointment online.