How to Document Medical Records After a Workplace Injury

How To Document Medical Records After A Workplace Injury

It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace, but sometimes, injuries are just unavoidable. When an accident does happen, there is a good chance that you will be compensated through workers’ compensation insurance. This process requires you to obtain and submit medical records to prove you were injured and to show how it occurred. It’s important to know what to do to increase your chance of receiving the compensation you’re entitled to. If you need assistance, contact our Washington D.C. work injury lawyers to set up a free consultation. 

Documents for a Workplace Injury Case

Medical Records. Typically, the most essential records when filing for workers’ compensation benefits are your medical records. Your medical records will show what your injuries are and prove that you were injured and when it occurred. They will also evidence the extent and severity of your injury. Medical records include doctors’ notes, diagnostic scans, such as, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other tests that are performed in the hospital, and more. 

Photographs. Another important way to document your injuries includes taking photographs. If you can, take pictures of the scene that caused your accident so you can show what happened and why it occurred. Additionally, any visible injuries should be photographed and noted in writing. 

Accident reports. If your injury occurred in a manner where an accident report would have been created, it’s crucial to get a copy of that. For example, if your job duties include driving or delivering something and you are involved in a car accident, law enforcement will arrive on the scene and create an accident report. You should request a copy as soon as possible. 

Expert witnesses. An expert’s testimony can also be crucial to validate the information in your medical records. They will be able to review your records and summarize their findings, which should corroborate your account of what happened and the severity of your injuries. This is something that a lawyer will help you with. When you hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, they have medical experts they often work with in these types of cases, so they can have your documents reviewed. 

Proper Documentation. Many victims of workplace hazards have lost opportunities to obtain their deserved compensation because they were unable to collect or maintain important documents. This is often because the process of getting medical records can be complicated, but sometimes it’s due to a person’s lack of understanding about what records need to be kept. 

After you are injured, take the following steps:

Request Documents immediately 

Don’t stall in asking for your medical records; you should ask immediately. The sooner you request them, the sooner you will get them. This will speed up the process and help you receive compensation as soon as possible. 

Scan Documents 

If you receive your medical records as hard copies, you should scan everything you received by using a scanner or a smartphone app. In case you lose the hardcopies, you will still have all your necessary documents. Additionally, scanning them allows you to retain the document’s quality in case the original fades away. You can upload the documents into your cloud for proper storage or email them to yourself or someone else so you can always find them.

Keep the Hard Copies, Too

Don’t forget to keep the hard copies. Technology can fail, so having a scanned version and a hard copy is the best way to proceed. 

If you were injured at work and need help obtaining records or documenting your injuries so you can collect compensation, contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

Navigating Missing or Incomplete Records

Should any medical records go missing or arrive with parts left uncovered, the onus is on you to complete the picture. The first strategy is to reach out to your healthcare provider immediately. 

You may be missing records, but they will often be able to access and supply them directly to you with a simple request. In instances where you are unable to obtain the records from the hospital or doctor yourself, your legal team can issue a legal request for the missing documentation. This proactive approach prevents hiccups in your claim and maintains the continuity of your medical history.

Addressing Disputed Claims

There may be instances where the clarity or direct link between your injury and your job tasks are challenged. Your focus should shift here to providing supplementary evidence or an alternative medical opinion to solidify your claim. 

Keep meticulous notes of your injuries from the very onset and continue reporting all symptoms to your healthcare provider. Any missed or late complaints can be weaponized to undermine your case. Additionally, obtaining a narrative medical report from your physician that explicitly ties the injury to your workplace environment can be a powerful rebuttal to any disputes.

What to Do After You Gather Your Documents

Once you’ve gathered all your medical records and completed any additional steps to ensure their accuracy, it’s important to continue advocating for yourself throughout the claims process. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Stay Informed: Stay up to date with any changes or updates in your case, communicate regularly with your doctor and lawyer, and stay informed about your rights as an injured worker.
  • Organization is Key: Your medical records should be organized chronologically, serving as a cohesive timeline of your injury’s progression and treatment protocols. Use tabs, sticky notes, or digital bookmarks to structure your records for easy reference.
  • Be Proactive in Sharing: Your legal team needs complete transparency from you. If there’s a medical appointment or new development, share it immediately so that your lawyers can incorporate it into your case strategy.

When advocating for yourself during the claims process, it’s important to remember that you have rights as an injured worker, and the best way to assert them is to get help from your lawyer.

The Importance of Working With a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Lawyer

When you’re injured at work, it’s important to work with a workers’ comp or personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process of documenting your medical records. Lawyers specializing in this area have extensive knowledge of the legal system and can help ensure that all necessary documentation is gathered and presented correctly. Here’s how they can help:

Understanding the Legal Context

In the aftermath of a work-related injury, the legal landscape can be a maze; from understanding how to file a claim to the statutory deadlines for providing medical evidence, to the various federal and state laws that may apply, it’s a lot to digest. A lawyer who specializes in workers’ comp or personal injury will act as your guide, interpreter, and advocate through it all.

Navigating the Claim Process

Your attorney’s first goal is to ensure your claim is filed correctly and within the appropriate deadline. They will help gather all relevant medical documentation and evidence to support your claim and work with your medical providers closely to document your work-related injuries properly.

Ensuring Fair Compensation

Lawyers experienced in workers’ comp and personal injury cases understand how to ensure you receive the compensation you are owed. This may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation services, and more, all of which are directly tied to the medical records you are asked to provide.

If you have questions or need help, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.