In a personal injury case it is important to secure all of the plaintiff’s medical records before taking a plaintiff’s deposition. Medical records are important to determine the nature and extent of the claimed injury. Reviewing medical records in detail will provide insight whether a plaintiff complained of the same or similar conditions before the subject incident. Medical records typically contain a patient’s history, including the date of onset and duration of symptoms. Armed with such information, a plaintiff can be questioned about prior accidents and injuries or similar chronic complaints.
Medical records are also important to determine whether a treating healthcare provider has expressed opinions on impairment, functional limitations, prognosis, and the plaintiff’s ability to engage in gainful employment. If, for example, the medical records reveal a plaintiff had a successful recovery from the injuries plaintiff claims were sustained in an accident, the records can be helpful during the deposition to address plaintiff’s claimed damages. A defendant typically has only one opportunity to depose a plaintiff in a lawsuit, so it is important to be fully prepared.