Accident Victims May Submit Prior Medical Records as Evidence

After six years of steady declines, the number of traffic fatalities increased in the first nine months of 2012. A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 25,580 people died in auto accidents from January through September compared to 23,884 during the same period in 2011.

Consulting a Clayton County attorney after an auto accident enhances a victim's ability to receive a reasonable settlement. If you have been injured in an automobile accident you should discuss your case with an accident attorney at Shane Smith Law.

Georgia legislators recently abandoned over 200 years of precedent-setting cases by allowing accident victims to introduce prior medical records as evidence. This shift makes Georgia more compatible with the Federal Evidence Code and favors both evidence admissibility and a belief that juries can interpret medical records.

Prior to the shift, medical records were heavily redacted if they were introduced as evidence. All opinions from health care providers were considered hearsay and therefore inadmissible. Under the recently incorporated rules, accident victims' prior medical records can be introduced to the jury and can be reviewed. Victims who had no prior medical issues can submit medical records after an accident and the jury can determine if the accident caused the injuries.

The law creates more of a problem if an accident victim has an injury history. For example, if a victim had been seeing a chiropractor prior to an accident it may be difficult to prove that an accident caused the victim's severe back pain.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in an auto accident, meet with a Clayton County auto accident lawyer. Call the Shane Smith Law to schedule a free legal consultation.