Importance of medical records summaries for lawyers

Importance of medical records summaries for lawyers

Medical records play a highly crucial role in personal injury lawsuits and workers compensation claims. They establish your client’s health condition before, during, and after an incident. They also detail the cause, severity, and prognosis of your client's injury.

However, medical records tend to be lengthy, complex, and full of medical jargon, which can be hard to comprehend for people outside the medical field. This is where a medical records summary can be beneficial for lawyers like you.

What are medical records summaries?

A medical records summary is a comprehensive, fact-based summary of the following information:

  • Date and cause of injury as reported by the patient/client
  • Details on all healthcare providers involved (who, what, when, where)
  • Laboratory tests and results undertaken by the patient
  • Symptoms and diagnosis of the patient’s injury
  • Details on treatment plans provided, including diagnostic reports, referrals, surgeries, prescriptions, and medical devices (e.g., pacemaker) given to the patient
  • Prognosis or the likelihood of recovery
  • Permanent impairment, if any
  • Future medical needs, if any

Medical records summaries are prepared by highly qualified healthcare professionals who have the expertise to provide clear, accurate, and professional analyses.

Related reading: Medical record analysis: What is it and which type do you retrieve for your case?

How do lawyers benefit from medical records summaries?

Medical records summaries improve how attorneys do their jobs. Specifically, summaries allow them to do the following:

1. Skip sifting through tons of paperwork

It’s not uncommon for lawyers to receive stacks upon stacks of medical records when preparing for personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. With a medical records summary, they need not refer to all medical records since it already provides them with an overview of the case with the key facts highlighted. This helps attorneys quickly find the information they need, enabling them to focus on building their case.

2. Better understand the content of medical records

Medical records summaries are written specifically for people who have limited knowledge of medical terminologies, conditions, and repercussions. This is why these typically also have a summary of the deciphered healthcare providers’ handwriting and notes and definitions of the abbreviations and medical terms found in the medical records.

3. Evaluate cases more accurately

When attorneys — who usually have little training in medical terminology — go through medical records, they may fail to completely understand the injury and its relationship to the incident in question. They may also miss other details that may be relevant to the case, such as preexisting conditions and treatment gaps.

Since healthcare professionals are the ones who prepare medical records summaries, they can provide a more accurate analysis of the medical issues involved in the case. They don’t just look at the events surrounding the injury, but they also pay attention to details in the overall medical history — including any prior treatments — that may tie into the patient’s current condition. They also substantiate the symptoms and causes of the injury and the medical interventions provided to treat the injury.

What’s more, they may even provide medical research and other information from journals and other sources that may be useful to the case.

4. Leverage recommendations provided by healthcare professionals

A medical records summary ends with a professional medical interpretation and opinion relevant to the case. This allows you to understand what the records say and what these mean for your case.

To help strengthen your case, a medical records summary also has recommendations on the types of expert witnesses you should seek and other witnesses you must interview.

Interested in availing medical records summary services for your legal practice? You can rely on Record Retrieval Solutions. When you partner with us, you can reduce medical expert review time up to 50%! Get in touch with us to get started.