Six Ways to Help Your Attorney Maximize Your Recovery in a Personal Injury Claim
The value of your personal injury claim depends on the damages that your attorney can prove up. Generally, these include past and future medical expenses, lost wages physical pain and suffering mental anguish and disfigurement. You will also want to recover damages to your personal property.
I. MEDICAL EXPENSES1. Keep all your doctor and health care provider appointments and make sure you keep your attorney advised of appointments and what is happening with your medical providers (do you have future appointments scheduled, has your doctor released you, what is your doctor’s diagnosis and prognosis, has your doctor told you how long he/she expects you will need treatment, has your doctor referred you to another specialist, has your doctor told you what medical care you will need in the future).2. Communicate to your doctor(s) the extent of your pain and how it has changed your life.
II. PHYSICAL PAIN AND SUFFERING1. Journal: Write daily entries in your journal describing your pain: your arm was burning like someone was stabbing you with a hot knife; the pain shot up your leg like someone injected hot lava into your veins; the pain in your knee felt like someone was squeezing your leg in a vise.
2. Video: Capture the true extent of your physical pain doing ordinary things like trying to get out of bed in the morning, walking to the bathroom, sitting down in your chair in the den in front of the TV, sitting at the dinner table trying to have a meal with your family.
2. Have your family and friends write letters to your lawyer explaining and describing in detail the kind of person you were before your injuries and how you’ve changed as a result of your injuries and your pain.
III. MENTAL ANGUISH1. Journal: Write down your feelings: you were trying to put on your shoe and burst into uncontrollable sobs as you thought about how your life had come to the point where just putting on a shoe caused unbearable pain; you sat by the kitchen window watching your son shoot hoops in the backyard and your heart felt like it was ripping apart because you couldn’t move from your chair to join him because of the pain; you yelled at your wife, angry because she wanted to buy new towels for the house and the financial stress of not being able to work because of your injuries made you lose control over a simple matter like buying new towels.
2. Journal: make a list of the things you used to be able to do but can no longer do because of your injuries and your pain.
3. Video: the indignity of not being able to go to the bathroom by yourself because of your injuries; the excruciating pain of trying to get out of bed in the morning because of your injuries; pacing the floor at 3 a.m. because you can’t sleep because of the pain from your injuries; a day in the life of (you).
4. Video: statements from your children, your spouse, your friends describing how you’ve changed as a result of your injuries—never laughs, always sitting around, don’t engage in conversations at gatherings, describing the normal activities they used to do with you but can’t anymore (you used to be excited to take the dog on a walk, go to the park with your children…).
5. Video: significant events like birthday parties, graduation, holiday dinners showing how you’re unable to join in the festivities, unable to join in the fun, unable to enjoy yourself, the event and your loved ones all because of your injuries and your pain.
IV. LOST WAGES1. Give your attorney copies of your pay stubs showing your wages and benefits.
2. Let your attorney know about any job advancement opportunities or new job opportunities that you missed out on because of your inability to work due to your injuries.
3. Make sure your employer knows about any limitations or restrictions (don’t lift more than 10 pounds, don’t sit/stand for more than an hour) that your doctor imposes on your physical activity to create a record that you tried to return to work but there wasn’t anything suited to your limitations.
4. Communicate with your employer and keep them posted of your status so that they know you’re anxious to return to work but can’t because of your injuries, pain and medical treatment. When your doctor releases you to return to work go back and document any problems you have doing the job. Create a record that you tried to go back to work in case it turns out that you weren’t able to tolerate it.
VI. DISFIGUREMENTVideo and photograph any scars, twisted bones, or other permanent disfigurement resulting from your injuries
V. Property Damage1. Take pictures of the physical damage to your car or other property damage that occurred.
2. Get multiple estimates for the repairs required to fix your car or other property.
3. Document any losses incurred by you as a result of your car or property being out of commission.