Your Medical Chart Can Be Entered into Evidence in Your Highland Car Accident Case, Says the Court in Arnold v. Wallace
Presenting the evidence of your Highland car accident case can seem daunting. You may be confused over what you need to prove to show that you were not the at-fault party. Our Highland injury attorneys understand your confusion and we want to help you.
Arnold v. Wallace is a recent Virginia case arising from a car accident. Mary Arnold (plaintiff) has an automobile insurance policy with Travelers Insurance Company (Travelers). In 2005, Plainitff was injured in a car accident caused by the other driver Jonathan Wallace (defendant). Defendant was uninsured at the time of the accident.
When you purchase car insurance coverage, there are many different facets to your policy. Obviously, the more money you pay as a monthly premium, the more coverage you receive if you are involved in a car accident. Every state differs in their laws regarding the standard requirements of the type of coverage you must purchase; however, it is a growing trend for states to have statutes that set legal minimums required in car insurance coverage in order to register your vehicle.
Car insurance requirements were created in order to assure that where a driver is involved in a car accident, and that driver was at fault, the other party will be able to be compensated for medical costs and property damage arising from that accident.
Although the policy limits and minimums vary depending on the state, the most common different types of car insurance coverage available include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, bodily injury coverage, property damage coverage, med-pay benefits, and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage.
When you purchase UM coverage as part of your policy, your car insurance company agrees to pay a certain amount in coverage if you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Plaintiff in this case had a UM provision in her policy, and after her accident she entered a claim with Travelers in order to receive UM benefits.
Additionally, Plaintiff brought a negligence action against the defendant for damages associated with the accident that he caused. In order to prove that her medical injuries were a result of the car accident with the defendant, there were medical records and expert testimony entered into the record.
The dispute in this case was regarding the evidence presented to prove that the plaintiff's injuries were directly related to the accident with the defendant. Plaintiff's counsel called her doctor to testify as to the medical issues she was suffering with since the accident. This doctor testified that the plaintiff has spinal stenosis, bone edema and post-concussion syndrome.
This doctor, as with most doctors, kept a patient chart that indicated the medical impressions and opinions of his staff. On cross examination the defendant's counsel created a foundation for the relevance of this chart and sought to enter it into the record. Over a plaintiff objection, the record was entered into evidence.
Although the plaintiff argued that this chart was hearsay; the court held that because the medical chart was a business record regularly maintained in a medical practice, it could be validly entered into evidence.
Thus, the impressions of the doctor's medical staff regarding the plaintiff's injuries were released to all of the parties in the case. This led to a significantly lower award for the plaintiff because the causal link between her injuries and the car accident was skewed.