The Importance of Documenting Your Personal Injury Case

After suffering a personal injury, whether in a car accident or otherwise, you may feel that you can handle it on your own and do not need to go to the hospital. This is a common response, especially if the injury seems minor and insignificant.

However, if you have any plans of pursuing a personal injury case, here are a few things you should do to document your injuries.

Seek Medical Attention Promptly.

When filing a personal injury case, the extent of your damages plays a vital role in the value of your case. For instance, the insurance company will examine your medical records thoroughly whether during a settlement negotiation or a courtroom trial. Therefore, the findings and opinions of licensed medical professional will carry substantial weight on your behalf.

By not seeking their assistance beforehand or sticking to your follow-up appointments as scheduled, you are essentially poking holes in your case that the opposing counsel will expose.

  • Go to the emergency room if you believe your injuries are severe or life threatening;
  • If an emergency room is not necessary, go to a minor emergency clinic for an initial evaluation;
  • If you believe you require further treatment, get on an effective treatment plan such as physical therapy or pain management.
Take Photos of Your Visible Injuries.

After suffering a personal injury, per, it is highly recommended to photograph your visible injuries. For example, showing a photograph of a large bruise on your back may valuable evidence. However, the true value of that evidence will come from a doctor’s detailed report documenting the extent of the damage causing that bruise.

Additionally, you should follow up with regularly scheduled photographs to show the progression of your injuries over time.  For instance, severe lacerations take a long time to heal and can leave sometime leave unsightly scars.  A photo time-line can help highlight your injuries and the effects they had on your everyday life.

On cases involving more acute injuries such as broken bones, your attorney should obtain copies of your x-rays to include in your claim packet.

Most Common Mistakes in Dealing with your Medical Treatment.

Insurance companies search for valid reasons to under-value or outright deny your claim.  With personal injury claims, the average insurance company is likely to examine each case closely.  Here are some of the common factors they consider in evaluating a claim.

  •  Delay in Treatment.  If you delay in getting medical treatment, it appears as though you are not seriously injured.  Many might even think your going to a doctor as an after-thought in a effort to get some money.  Additionally, it becomes more difficult to prove the causal relationship between the accident and the injuries.
  • Missing Appointments.  Everyone can appreciate that you might miss an appointment here and there.  But call and reschedule beforehand.  Don’t just “no-show.”  Otherwise, it appears as though your injuries are not serious enough to justify medical treatment.
  • Not Following Doctor’s Orders.  If your doctor recommends an MRI, physical therapy, or even surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions.  Again, failing to follow your doctor’s recommendations makes it look like you do not take your injuries seriously.
  • Over-treating.  Yes, there is such a thing as getting too much treatment.  Every injury justifies a certain amount of treatment.  If you tend to exceed what is considered “reasonable,” the it looks like you are just trying to pump up your case.  What is reasonable is a product of your evaluations and consultations with your doctor.  But, in a small way, the advise of your personal injury attorney is also helpful.
Don’t Jeopardize Your Claim.

The bottom line is that you do not want to give the insurance company or opposing counsel the ammunition necessary to shoot down your case. By not following your doctor’s orders and sticking to follow-up appointments, you bring the validity of your case into question.

Most importantly, trust the knowledge of your doctors and seek the guidance of an experienced Dallas personal injury lawyer.

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