Proper preparation is key to building a strong foundation for a personal injury case. To maximize your recovery and ensure you are fully compensated for all medical care you received, all time you missed from work, and all pain and suffering you endured, it is vital that you provide the insurance company or court with copies of all medical bills and records related to the accident. Doing so can prevent you from being compensated only partially or, even worse, having your claim denied completely.

Obtaining these documents may be more challenging and time-consuming than you think. For instance, medical offices tend to take a long time to provide bills and records. It is not uncommon to have to wait months for requested documents. You may even have to follow up several times only to find that your request was lost or not processed at all. Nevertheless, you must be persistent.

It is necessary to obtain bills and records from every medical provider who treated you. This may seem easy, but if you go to a hospital, you may receive care from more than one provider. The hospital will bill you for the use of their facilities and employees, but you may also have a bill from a separate company that employs the physicians who treated you or from the radiology department. In addition, many people forget where they obtained an MRI or second opinion. It is therefore wise to keep a list of all the medical offices you visit because of your accident.

Second, you must request a bill and records for all dates of service. Therefore, you cannot obtain all the necessary bills and records — and proceed to settlement — until after your treatment is complete. And, if you had previous injuries related to those sustained during the accident, you may need to order records for that treatment as well.

The reason why this is so vital is because if the records you submit to the insurance company or court are missing dates of service, you may not receive full compensation. Similarly, if a missing date of service includes vital information, it may prevent a settlement offer. Thus, taking the time to review any bills and records you receive to ensure that they include all dates of service before you send them to the insurance company or submit them into evidence in court can greatly help your case.

Finally, there will likely be a charge from the medical office for providing the records. In some jurisdictions, such as Maryland, there is a law governing how much a medical office can charge. However, other states have no such law besides the one mandating that an office can charge a “reasonable” fee, which can obviously mean different things to different people. It is not uncommon for the cost of medical records to exceed several hundred dollars in large cases.

Obtaining medical bills and records is time-consuming, expensive, and can be frustrating, but it is vital in ensuring that you are fully compensated for your injuries. This is one area where persistence pays off.

When preparing a personal injury claim, our attorneys at Simeone & Miller, LLP can help you sort out your medical bills and records. We have won awards for our efficient approach to handling injury cases throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Moreover, our firm offers consultations at no cost, and our services are provided on a contingency fee basis — you won’t pay unless we win.