The Importance Of Documentation In Your Medical Malpractice Claim

It's no secret that medical malpractice lawsuits can be a lengthy and complicated affair. The possibility of your receiving a fair settlement depends on the amount of evidence that's brought forward in your favor. This is where comprehensive documentation comes into play. The following explains the importance of documentation and how it can effectively build a solid case resulting in a favorable settlement.

Why is Documentation So Important?

Written documentation is just one of the many pieces of the medical malpractice puzzle. Along with medical records and accurate testimony from expert witnesses, written documentation provides the judge and jury with a comprehensive account of your medical treatment, as well as any side effects, symptoms, or injuries that come as a result of your treatment. The more evidence you can provide to bolster your claim, the greater your credibility will be on the stand.

Written documentation of your treatment can also play a critical role in securing an affidavit of merit. Most states require these to be filed alongside or shortly after your initial claim. Without an affidavit of merit available, you won't be able to proceed with your claim.

Keeping a Journal

Documenting your medical treatment can be as simple as maintaining a medical journal detailing your experiences throughout your treatment. A typical journal should not only contain a detailed and concise account of your emotions and feelings, but also any symptoms or side effects caused by medications or medical devices. You should also include information provided to you by your doctor, hospital, or pharmaceutical company, as well as bills and other correspondence from your doctor or health insurance provider. If you're not able to keep a journal yourself, you can always have a family member maintain a journal of their own.

Keeping a journal can be helpful even outside the context of a medical malpractice lawsuit. For instance, you can use your journal to keep track of vital events and information so they can be properly charted by your nurse or doctor. Your family can also use a journal to keep track of medication dosages and prevent wrong dosages and other medicine mishaps from happening.

Here are a few tips you can use as you document your medical treatment:

Keep your journal in a safe location. You should keep your journal in an area where you'll know it won't be misplaced or forgotten.

Always add the date and time of your interactions. Each experience recorded in your journal should include a date and time when the interaction occurred.

Be careful how you portray your actions when documenting. If you make a habit of second-guessing your physician or nurses or if the tone of your journal comes off as threatening, it could hurt rather than help your medical malpractice claim. It's a good idea to document in a quiet and somewhat neutral manner.

Photos Also Count

Photographic evidence can also be included in your journal. Having a visual account of injuries sustained through adverse symptoms, side effects, and/or injuries can also prove exceptionally helpful when it comes to your medical malpractice claim. Photographic evidence can also come in handy if your injuries have healed between the time you receive them and your court case. You can use your photos in conjunction with your medical journal to prove that your injuries had occurred.

In a typical medical malpractice case, it's the patient who has the burden of proving the injuries they've sustained as a result of the medical staff's negligent actions. Having both written and photographic evidence of your claims can help you receive a fair settlement for your injuries and other damages. It's a good idea to consult with your attorney if you have any questions about what to do during your medical malpractice case. Follow the link in this sentence to read more.