As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you need to provide proof of damages and expenses you incurred due to your injury. Whether your end up reaching a pre-trial settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company or your lawyers take your case to court, having an accurate accounting of all your expenses will be vital to making a full recovery.
Every case is different. Damages are calculated based on the circumstance of the accident and the severity of your injuries.
Economic damages are quantifiable, meaning you can add up your receipts for medical costs or tally the wages you missed while you were out of work recovering. These damages are provable with adequate documentation, which you will be responsible for providing.
Failing to provide evidence may result in underpayment. That is why it is critical to provide as much documentation as possible to account for expenses and damages.
It is important to seek medical attention immediately after your accident, even if you don’t think you are seriously injured. Adrenaline often masks any immediate pain because your body is in shock. Once the adrenaline wears off, you may discover you have significant pain from accident-related injuries.
If you’re ever involved in a serious accident you should see a doctor or go to an emergency room straight from the scene of the accident. The initial trip to the hospital is a necessary form of documentation that can aid your case.
Any delays in seeking medical care could be viewed as evidence that your injuries were either nonexistent or not serious enough to justify a personal injury case.
For many people who are injured in car accidents or slip and falls in Florida, medical costs turn out to be the largest source of damages in their case. Keep all your medical records and bills pertaining to your injury and provide copies of them to your personal injury lawyer.
You will also want to keep a list of doctors and any other medical professionals that tend to your injuries. This list may include your primary care doctor, emergency room physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurses or therapists.
Even after the initial visit, you may continue to seek medical attention for ongoing injuries and pain. Having a list of their names is helpful, as you can provide documentation of who you saw on what days.
These medical professionals can also provide letters and testimony detailing your injuries and attributing those injuries to your accident. Your doctors may also be called on to testify to future medical expenses and your chances (or lack thereof) at making a full recovery.
Keep your receipts for any medical attention that you receive. Medical bills are the number one form of documentation that you will want to provide to the other driver’s insurance company.
These expenses can be extensive. Hospital bills and doctor visits quickly pile up, and it should be the responsibility of the person at fault to take care of those costs.
You can still be reimbursed even if your insurance covers those costs. Just keep in mind that your health insurance provider will expect to be reimbursed for any medical costs they’ve paid on your behalf if you settle or win a verdict in court.
In addition to receipts for medical attention also include travel expenses and time spent driving to and from those appointments.
After an accident, a police report is recorded on behalf of all persons involved. Sometimes this even includes witness testimony or contact information. You are entitled to a copy of all police reports filed as documentation for your personal injury case. These reports are valuable in settlement negotiations with insurance companies.
In most personal injury cases police reports are not admissible in court, but witnesses and responding officers can be called to testify to what they saw and what was said to them at the scene.
Right after an accident is the best time to recall what happened. Journaling and taking immediate notes can help you solidify your personal experience and accident narrative.
Taking notes after the accident and continuing to journal following the incident will allow you to provide better details that are not in the police report. This can also help prevent future inconsistencies when you’re called on to explain what happened during depositions or at trial.
In a journal, you should describe your pain, recall vivid memories and provide more evidence to support your case.
Photographs are physical forms of evidence that can clearly show what happened in an accident. If you can, get pictures following the incident. The shock of an accident may make it difficult to comprehend exactly what’s happening in the minutes after a crash, but do your best to remember to take accident photos.
If you are unable to take photos, have someone do it for you. Take several photos from different angles to be sure you thoroughly document the damage and vehicle positioning.
After an accident, it is common to miss work or even be out of work for long periods. Whether it is a few days, weeks or months, provide documentation of your loss of income. Documents include tax forms, pay stubs, letters from management, billing and invoices. These forms of documentation account for the time you were away from work and income opportunities that you missed while away.
Your personal injury case is more likely to be successful if you can provide many sources of detailed financial and medical information relating to your injuries and expenses. Thorough and honest documentation will help you win the financial compensation you deserve for your damages.