If you or your loved one suffered a preventable injury, your medical records play a crucial role in providing evidence of malpractice to support your lawsuit.
Your medical records should reveal your health history, including your current status. They should also contain all diagnoses, treatments, medications, and other medically-related decisions and actions provided by your healthcare team. Somewhere within your files may lie the proof of malpractice needed to win your medical malpractice claim.
Information in Your Medical Records That May Impact Your Malpractice Case
Your medical chart contains a wealth of information that can inform and support your malpractice case. Our attorneys and our expert medical witnesses may make use of the following found in your medical records:
- Clinical decisions reached by your provider, including when the decisions were made and what on what information those decisions were based
- Clinical findings
- Medical treatment options proposed by your provider and accepted or rejected by you
- Medications and dosages prescribed
- Examination notes
- Progress and follow-up notes
- Lab reports and imaging records
- Read-outs from medical equipment
- Consultations and reports from medical professionals other than the provider against whom you are bringing the malpractice lawsuit
Note that medical records for malpractice cases usually have the advantage of providing time stamps and indications of who created and who signed off on each note, which is valuable information when determining malpractice liability.
Finding Medical Evidence in Malpractice Cases
Once all of the necessary medical records are obtained, our experts carefully review the lot, looking for:
- Specifics on what brought you under the medical care of the healthcare provider
- Indications of how you were harmed and the extent of those damages
- Any signs that the records have been changed or are incomplete or that there is information that should be included but is missing
In addition to the medical records, our attorneys:
- Encourage individuals harmed by a negligent healthcare professional to undergo medical exams as the findings may support the malpractice case
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Investigate how the harm occurred, to ensure that the appropriate liable party or parties are identified
We can help you navigate the legal process while you recover from your injuries.
Proving Negligence in Malpractice Cases
In the U.S., we typically define medical malpractice as deviation from the normal standard of care by a healthcare professional whose action or inaction causes harm during the treatment of a patient.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of this type of lawsuit is proving this type of negligence caused the harm you experienced. Medical records in malpractice cases are the primary source of supporting evidence as our attorneys work to show medical negligence:
- We must show that the defendant had a professional duty of care owed to you, their patient
- We then prove that the defendant deviated from the normal standard of care, thereby breaching their duty
- The defendant’s breach of duty, whether by an action or inaction, caused harm to you
- The harm done to you caused you to suffer a loss
Through expert testimony, eyewitness accounts, and the use of your medical records, we seek to prove that the harm you sustained was caused by the healthcare professional’s actions or inactions, whether that harm is in the form of a new or exacerbated injury, illness, or even death.
Statute of Limitations to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in California
California allows you to file a lawsuit for medical negligence three years from the date of your injury or one year after you discover or should have discovered the injury. This time may be adjusted if:
- There is proof of fraud
- The negligent act or aftermath is deliberately concealed
- A foreign body, such as a surgical instrument, is found inside you
- The injured person was younger than six when the harm was done
You must give the defendant 90 days’ notice that you will be filing a lawsuit. As long as you give this notice before your allowed time to file is up, you may continue with your legal action, even if you give notice one day before the statute of limitations ends.
Medical Record Tampering
When a healthcare professional is informed of an impending malpractice lawsuit, or when they are aware that a negligent action or inaction may have caused harm, the temptation to revise the medical records is hard to resist.
Your medical experts will review your records as evidence is assembled for your case, but it is equally important for you to carefully examine everything in your records to compare the information with your personal notes and memory and to share any discrepancies with your legal team.
Find Answers for Your Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
At KJT Law Group, our medical malpractice attorneys offer free case evaluations to help you find the most practical legal path forward. If you were harmed by the negligence of a healthcare professional, you deserve compensation for your losses and representation by a legal team experienced in the medical malpractice laws of California. If you’re looking for answers, call us today at (818) 507-8525 to schedule a visit.