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How Can My Medical Records Be Used to Build My Medical Malpractice Claim?

April 22, 2024

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Medical malpractice claims are often difficult to win, and the difference between strong claims and weak claims is evidence, especially medical records. If you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice, your medical records will be vital for building your case against the doctor, hospital, or clinic that you believe harmed you.

These documents not only provide a detailed account of the medical treatment you received, but they also serve as critical evidence in building a compelling malpractice claim. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of medical records in a medical malpractice claim and how they can be used effectively.

Medical Records Establish the Care Provided

Medical records establish the care provided in a medical malpractice claim and whether it deviated from the medical standard. When used in medical malpractice claims, medical records are used in the following ways to establish standard of care and any deviations from it:

  • Detailed Treatment Documentation: Medical records include comprehensive details about the diagnosis, treatment plans, executed procedures, prescribed medications, and follow-up care. This information helps to outline what actions were taken or not taken in response to a patient's health condition.
  • Healthcare Provider Notes: Notes from doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers often contain observations, decisions made during care, and rationales for choosing specific treatment paths. These notes can shed light on the decision-making process and whether it aligns with the standard practices expected in similar circumstances.
  • Diagnostic and Test Results: The results of diagnostic tests, lab work, imaging studies, and other evaluations are documented in medical records. These results are pivotal in understanding the patient's condition at specific times and whether the treatments provided were appropriate based on those findings.
  • Expert Testimony: Medical records serve as the foundation for expert witnesses (often healthcare professionals with expertise in the relevant medical field) to provide testimony on what the standard of care should have been in the patient's case and where and how errors may have been made. These experts rely on the details within the records to support their opinions on whether the standard of care was met.

Medical Records Can Show Deviation from the Standard of Care

Once the expected standard of care is established, your medical records become invaluable in demonstrating how your healthcare provider deviated from this standard. Detailed records of procedures performed, medications prescribed, and the healthcare provider’s notes can highlight errors, omissions, or negligent acts that contributed to the harm suffered.

Medical Records Can Prove Causation

Medical records can prove causation in a medical malpractice claim by establishing a direct link between the negligence of a healthcare provider and the injury or harm suffered by the patient. Causation is a critical element that must be demonstrated for a successful malpractice claim, and medical records play a pivotal role in this process for several reasons:

  • Chronological Treatment History: Medical records provide a detailed chronological history of patients’ treatment, including the onset of symptoms, diagnoses, treatments administered, and the patients’ responses to those treatments. This timeline can help illustrate how healthcare providers’ actions (or inactions) directly led to patients’ injuries.
  • Evidence of Negligence: Medical records can contain evidence of mistakes, such as incorrect diagnoses, inappropriate treatments, surgical errors, or medication errors. This evidence can be used to definitively link mistakes to further injuries or illnesses, which can be proof of malpractice.
  • Documentation of Overall Condition: Medical records document patients’ conditions before, during, and after the alleged negligent acts. This documentation can demonstrate that the patients’ injuries or worsening conditions directly followed their healthcare providers’ deviation from the standard of care.
  • Expert Analysis: Medical experts often review the records to provide opinions on whether the healthcare providers’ actions were likely the cause of their patients’ harm. These experts can explain complex medical issues in a way that shows how specific actions or lack thereof were directly responsible for preventable injuries or illnesses.
  • Exclusion of Alternative Causes: Medical records can help exclude other potential causes of patients’ injuries, which in turns supports the argument that the harm was directly caused by the healthcare providers’ negligence.

Medical Records Can Help Document Damages

Medical records not only help to establish liability, but they also play a crucial role in documenting the extent of your injuries and the impact on your life. This includes records of treatments, hospital stays, medications, and rehabilitation. This documentation is vital in determining the extent of your damages, including your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Review Your Medical Records

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we understand the pivotal role that medical records play in medical malpractice cases, and we have the experience, knowledge, resources, and connections to ensure your medical records are analyzed and interpreted accurately and confidently to establish your case.

Then, you can rest easy knowing we’ll use that information to maximize your chances of getting full and fair compensation for all of your malpractice-related damages. Don’t go it alone, and don’t wait another day to get the help you need. Contact our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers today for a free consultation.

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