How can your law firm win its next big case? If the case involves personal injury, then a medical chronology is going to be your secret weapon.
A medical chronology is a timeline of a person’s medical history, as it relates to their case. It’s often a long and detailed document, outlining everything about their medical care, accidents, and diagnosis.
A solid chronology can help you win in the courtroom. With medical malpractice payouts averaging around $353,000 per case, it’s certainly worth taking the time to get it right.
Ready to learn more? If so, keep reading to find five expert medical chronology tips that can help lawyers win more cases.
Understand Everything That Needs to Be Included
First, make sure you’re aware of what needs to be included in a medical record chronology.
This is often a lengthy and complex document that takes longer to prepare than you might think. So, give yourself plenty of time to get it ready before your case.
If the patient had an accident, you’ll likely want to start with the date of their accident. How did it happen and what immediate medical care did they receive?
Then, list all of their follow up appointments, names and locations of doctors, and the medications they’re taking.
Or, if the patient has an illness, start with the date or month that symptoms were first experienced. Then, include their official diagnosis, treatment history, prognosis, and future medical care needs.
The more detail you can provide, the better it is for your case, so don’t leave anything out if you think it could be relevant.
Start as Far Back as Possible
When you’re creating a medical case chronology, one of our top tips is to go back as far as possible.
Your patient probably didn’t wake up one day with a serious illness. It likely started months or years before their diagnosis, perhaps with minor symptoms that could have been written off as flu symptoms or aches and pains.
Ideally, your chronology needs to get to the root of the problem, explaining the patient’s entire medical history as relevant to the case. This means you need to start even before the beginning, so that you can paint the full picture in the courtroom.
You’ll want reverse chronological order in medical records, ensuring you tell the story from the present back to the beginning.
Save Time By Outsourcing
Keep in mind that medical chronologies can take quite a long time to complete. It’s not only putting medical records in order, but also translating them into layman’s terms and also going through the records, line by line, removing information that’s not relevant to the case.
Some law firms have their paralegals do this work, but for specialized help, consider hiring medical chronology companies.
Specialists like MDTimelines will get the job done on behalf of your firm, saving you plenty of time to focus on other aspects of the case. Because they’re experts in the field, you can relax knowing the chronology will be done to the highest possible standard and free from errors.
Only Include the Facts
A medical chronology isn’t a timeline of a patient’s complete medical history. You only want to include the facts and details that are relevant to the case.
If a patient has pre-existing conditions that are made worse by the accident, this would be relevant, but non-related health issues or injuries don’t have anything to do with the case, so they don’t need to be included.
If something within the patient’s medical record is disputable, not this in the report.
Keep in mind also that your chronology is going to be read not only by medical experts, but also by non-medical folks such as the jury, other lawyers, and the judge. For this reason, translate any complex medical jargon into terms that the average person can understand.
Otherwise, your chronology is going to confuse people and won’t be an asset to your case.
A Well-Done Chronology Will Strengthen Your Case
You might be thinking that a medical chronology seems too complicated, but it’s worth taking the time to get it right, since it can massively strengthen your case.
It provides evidence that backs up the key points of your case, helping you create an ironclad argument that’s sure to win. Your chronology also creates a non-biased report of a patient’s medical history, which both sides are free to examine.
Not only that, but it will help you avoid mistakes. Keeping track of a lengthy medical history that may even span back for decades can be very confusing, even for expert lawyers.
To avoid saying or doing the wrong thing as it applies to the case, you can refer to the chronology at any time to check on timelines or facts. It will become an essential document that you can use during preparation and during the trial.
Use These Tips to Win Your Case With the Help of Medical Chronology
As you can see, a medical chronology is a key document for any legal case that involves an accident, injury, worker’s comp, or medical malpractice.
Use the tips above to create medical chronologies for your upcoming cases that are thorough, well-written, and contain everything you need to win the case. Although it may take some time to put them together, it’s worth the time and effort for the advantages they can bring to your law practice.
Get started today by creating a medical chronology for all of your cases.
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