How to Document Your Injuries for a Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury case is built upon adequate documentation. Here's what you need to support a successful lawsuit.
Begin at the Scene of the AccidentAfter an accident of any kind, proper documentation of your injuries can make or break your personal injury claim. Whether you're preparing to take your personal injury case to court or you're negotiating a settlement with an insurance adjuster, the more facts you have supporting your claim, the more likely it is that the verdict falls in your favor.
The initial phase of documenting your injuries for a personal injury lawsuit begins at the scene of the accident. If you were injured in an auto accident, obtain information such as:
- The date and time, site of the crash, road and weather conditions.
- Information from witnesses, such as their name and phone number.
- Photos of the scene of the accident.
- Photos of any injuries present at the scene of the accident.
If you were injured in a slip and fall or other non-auto related accident, follow similar protocol. Identify any witnesses, inspect the surrounding area, obtain an incident report if possible and take as many photos as you can. As you progress along this article, you'll realize that photos will be a continuous aspect of building your documentation. Photos are a priceless contribution to injury documentation that you will not want to miss.
Immediately Seek Medical AttentionRemember, your health always comes first. If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Whether you go to the emergency room or your family doctor, receiving official documentation of your physical condition immediately after you are injured serves as a basis for your condition as your case proceeds. Without receiving your first post-injury visit, you will have no definitive way of proving your condition correlates to the accident.
Be sure to obtain a copy of any reports, diagnoses, or records generated during your first post-injury visit. Again, this initial treatment report will serve as a basis for your injuries.
Designate a Medical FileNow that you've obtained your first official medical document for your personal injury claim, don't shove it to the back of a drawer or toss it on the kitchen table to be forgotten. Instead, designate a specific file in which you'll be placing all of your documents as you proceed.
From reports to insurance questionnaires, paperwork will begin to pile up. To make life easier for yourself, and possibly your personal injury attorney, save a copy of all documents. Not only will this develop a narrative of your injuries and the ensuing treatment you receive, but it will also help track any expenses and damages accrued along the way. You can include any missed days from work or lost wages within this file as well, for ease of access and for condensed evidence of damages.
Pictures, Pictures, PicturesPhotograph all of your injuries, from the day the accident took place throughout treatment. Injuries like lacerations and bruises change in appearance over time, so it's important that you document them as they progress or heal.
Save digital and hard copies of all photos, and time-stamp them for easy recovery. Add the physical copies of the photos to your medical file.
Maintain Any and All CorrespondenceThroughout the course of your personal injury lawsuit, you will most likely be in contact with a variety of medical professionals. For this reason, it's recommended that you keep record of any form of correspondence with every involved medical professional who provided you care.
Whether this be a follow-up call or letter, or a request for further testing and treatment, maintaining correspondence can aid in supporting your case. Keeping a record of medical correspondence provides a clear timeline of the treatment you received, and why it was necessary.
Keep Sight of all ReceiptsKeep a record of all receipts - and when we say "all," we truthfully mean all. Gather all medical-related receipts in your medical file. By medical related, you can include:
- Special equipment, such as crutches, braces, or canes.
Additionally, include records of travel expenses for medical appointments. If you had to drive across town three times in one month to receive treatment or have your injuries diagnosed, there's no reason why you should be held accountable for those expenses. Include these receipts for gas, or bus or train tickets with your medical receipts.
Write it OutThough it might feel silly at first, write out what you're experiencing with your injuries. Document pain levels, discomfort, and the daily extent of your pain. This will assist in creating a timeline of your injuries. Plus, this can actually help in your recovery. By noting even the smallest of changes in your condition, you can easily communicate any symptoms to your doctor.
Additionally, keeping a journal of your thoughts and feelings during a personal injury case can aid in your claim for pain and suffering stemming from your injuries. This will document any mental trauma you're experiencing, such as stress, insomnia, and sadness.
Have you recently suffered a personal injury? As you move forward in your personal injury case, do not neglect the importance of proper documentation. Reach out to a qualified personal injury lawyer to assist you in gathering necessary evidence to build your case.