Keeping Track of Medical Records and Expenses
In the aftermath of an accident, it is not uncommon for injured people to be inundated with information. They may begin amassing correspondence with medical care providers or insurers, receipts, invoices, emails, and other important documentation pertaining to their condition. Medical treatment may come with unexpected expenses. The costs of prescription drugs, physical therapy sessions, or other costs related to an accident victim’s recovery can add up quickly. And if their newly acquired symptoms prevent victims from performing the duties of their jobs, the time away from work can lead to even more lost income.
Keeping track of each piece of correspondence, each bill, each hour of missed work may seem like an overwhelming task. However, being meticulously organized can be extremely beneficial for injured accident victims when they decide to pursue financial compensation.
Thorough and accurate documentation of medical records and expenses may be important for injured accident victims submitting claims for long-term disability (LTD) benefits. For disability claims to be successful, appropriately insured accident victims may be required to substantiate their claims by including supplementary evidence along with their applications. This evidence must prove that the claimant has a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to return to their workplace, and that they have been receiving ongoing medical treatment for their condition. Types of evidence that may be required to support an application for LTD benefits may include:
- Medical records
- Results of medical examinations
- Medical prognosis
- Proof of ongoing medical treatment
- Statements from attending physicians
- Statements from employers/plan sponsors
- And possibly more
If an accident victim’s injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence, the injured party may choose to pursue financial compensation by filing a tort claim, also known as a lawsuit, against the at-fault party. In these situations, having an organized portfolio of medical evidence and expenses incurred can help accurately calculate a victim’s total damages. This documentation can also help injured plaintiffs illustrate the full extent to the at-fault party’s negligence has impacted their physical, mental, and financial well-being.
If you have been injured in an accident and are unsure which documents may be important to keep in your records, book a free consultation with an Ontario personal injury lawyer for important legal assistance and advice.
Tips for Staying Organized After an Injury
If you have sustained a serious injury in a traumatic event, like a motor vehicle collision, in addition to physical symptoms, you may experience newly acquired mental difficulties. Often, accident survivors develop anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other serious mental health issues as a result of their injury-causing incidents. The combined symptoms of both physical injuries and mental anguish can make it difficult to keep your important bills and documents organized.
Nevertheless, a crucial part of the recovery process is staying diligent about record-keeping. If you do not keep all your documentation in one dedicated place, an important piece of medical evidence is liable to get misplaced or discarded erroneously.
If you primarily receive correspondence electronically, create an inbox folder or label specifically for your claim-related emails and bills. This will allow you to quickly search for important pieces of correspondence or attachments amidst the many personal emails you receive each day. It will also keep your claim-related messages in one easy-to-access digital location, separate from your other messages. If you have access to a printer, consider creating hard copies of all electronic documents and filing them in chronological order in a folder, binder, or box.
Even if you do not believe a document that you have been issued might be useful in the future, keep it anyway. When pursuing financial compensation through legal action or by building a thorough claim for LTD benefits, erring on the side of caution is a good rule of thumb.
Whenever you are required to make a payment for a procedure, prescription, or other expense related to your recovery (e.g. transportation costs to and from hospitals, etc.), request a copy of the receipt. Keep the hard copy of any receipt you are issued for medical expenses. Consider creating a digital spreadsheet for your receipts, recording the date, purpose, and cost of each transaction.
Keep a separate calendar or day-planner specifically for medical appointments. This can be a useful reference in the future, if you ever need to determine on which date you met with which medical professional. During meetings with healthcare providers, write down your own notes. If you attend these appointments with a family member, healthcare assistant, or trusted friend, ask them to take their own notes as well. Make sure the date of each appointment is listed on your notes from that session before filing these notes in chronological order.You may also choose to create a digital spreadsheet and transcribe the notes you have taken into one consolidated file.
Each time you make a phone call to a medical professional or insurance provider or receive an update from them by phone, keep a record of the phone call. These written notes should include:
- Date and time of the phone call
- Whether you left a voicemail or spoke directly with someone
- Name of person with whom you spoke
- Point-form notes about the topics discussed
- Any follow-up actions requested (e.g. “I was instructed to call back at the end of the week,” etc.)
In addition to keeping notes about your medical condition and records of your injury-related expenses, it is also important to keep track of all the times you were unable to work because of your medical condition. Keep a file of your pay stubs and other documents issued by your employer. A comparison of these documents from before and after your accident may illustrate just how thoroughly your injury prevented you from performing the duties of your job.
Use a Journal to Document Your Daily Symptoms
Maintaining organized records of your medical expenses and procedures is an important part of the claims process. However, it can be just as important to keep a thorough written record of your symptoms, pain levels, physical limitations, and other details about your recovery.
Keeping a daily journal of your experience requires commitment, but that commitment could pay off when it comes time to substantiate your claim. Since it is in your best interest to keep as thorough a record of your experience as possible, schedule a time for yourself to write in your journal each day. Schedule these writing sessions around consistent daily activities such as mealtimes or the times when you take your pills. Or, for even more accurate documentation, keep your journal on-hand or nearby at all times so you can record your symptoms in real time, as you experience them.
In your journal, record what medications you have taken that day, rate their effectiveness at relieving your symptoms, and note any side-effects. Be as honest as possible. If you are having a good day, do not be afraid to include that fact.
If your injury causes you to experience ongoing pain, it can be difficult to find the words to describe your daily levels of discomfort. It may be useful to grade your level of pain on a numeric scale from 1-10. Identify which parts of your body were in pain, and how those pains affected your day. If you were unable to work or get out of bed due to the pain you were experiencing, record that detail. You may also find it useful to record your emotional experience each day, as well. Doing so may not simply help your lawyer quantify the pain and suffering or mental anguish you experienced because of your injuries, but it might also be a psychologically healing exercise.
In addition to creating written journal entries, consider taking photos of your visible injuries each day to track your recovery process. Save these photos along with your other claim-related documents. Daily photos of your injuries could help provide Courts or insurance providers with an accurate visual representation of your medical condition’s severity.
How Medical Records May Help Prove Your Claim
When the pain, discomfort, fatigue, emotional trauma, or other symptoms stemming from serious injuries impede an accident survivor’s ability to perform routine tasks, including their jobs, coping with the new financial realities of life with a disabling medical condition could be very challenging. Indeed, in large urban centres across Canada, more than half of the country’s disabled population lives below the poverty line.
Disabled accident victims who are unable to work and have the appropriate insurance coverage may try filing a claim for LTD benefits. Typically, Canadian LTD plans replace between 60-70% of a recipient’s normal wages. However, insurance providers can deny claims for benefits, even if the applicant’s condition legitimately prevents them from returning to work.
Missing or insufficient evidence is often cited as an insurance company’s reason to deny benefits claims. With an organized, robust portfolio of well-documented medical evidence, an Ontario long-term disability lawyer may be able to fight the insurer’s decision and overturn their initial claim denial. If successful, the unfairly denied claimant may be able to recover damages for:
- Previously denied benefits payments
- Future benefit payments
- Legal fees
- Damages for mental stress experienced
- Punitive damages
- And possibly more
Furthermore, people injured in accidents caused by someone else’s negligence may be eligible to pursue damages from the responsible parties in addition to the long-term disability claim. In these situations, the evidence that has been organized can be used to advance a claim for damages that have been incurred as a result of the accident. An Ontario personal injury lawyer can also use this evidence to quantify the extent of suffering their client has endured because of the at-fault party’s negligence. By presenting this evidence, a lawyer may be able to help their clients recover the financial compensation to which they are entitled.
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you’ve been seriously injured as the result of an accident, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to review your circumstances and provide you with useful legal advice.
To discuss your case in a free, initial, no-obligation consultation, contact us today online, or call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 1-800-JUSTICE.