How To Document For A Successful Personal Injury Claim
Professional, accurate and detailed documentation is a cornerstone of any personal injury case. If you have recently been injured and would like to pursue a personal injury case, completing these steps will help ensure your claim has the greatest chance of success.
Documenting Damages For Your Personal Injury Claim
Most personal injury claimants would prefer to avoid having to go to court. While some cases require litigation, Burneikis Law appreciates our clients’ desires to stay out of the courtroom, and we strive to obtain a reasonable settlement prior to litigation. Other times, moving forward in court is required in order to ensure our clients are appropriately compensated for their injuries. In both situations, documenting your injuries and the damages you have sustained provides hard evidence and tangible calculations that help insurance adjusters, lawyers and judges decide what the value of your claim should be. Performing your due diligence by documenting your injuries and damages is vital to this process.
Please note that the following tips should be tailored to your specific situation. For example, documentation after a car accident differs from the documentation required after an injury sustained at work or on someone else’s property. However, the general tenets remain the same regardless.
Here is what you should do for the most successful personal injury claim outcome:
Get contact information, photos and any other relevant pieces of information
The more information and evidence you (or others) are able to get immediately after an accident, the better. Some of the most common personal injury accidents involve scenarios where photo evidence taken at the scene or shortly thereafter can play an essential role in your case. If you are injured or involved in an accident, consider:
- Taking photos of any other parties involved.
- Photographing physical evidence.
- Capturing images of things that are NOT on the scene, e.g., warning signs, appropriate lighting, etc. For example, taking photos to show that warning signage (e.g., wet floor or caution signs) was not placed can prove that a company did not do its own due diligence to prevent the accident or resulting injury.
- Get detailed contact information from anyone involved in the accident as well as any other victims, bystanders and witnesses.
- Record or document what people say at the scene to capture anything your lawyer may be able to use to bolster your case.
- Keep all accident-related records, including bills for repairs, insurance estimates, documentation, pay stubs or HR documentation about lost work time, etc.
When it comes to documenting injuries and damages, more is definitely better. Attorneys would rather sort through piles of paperwork and evidence to choose what is relevant, rather than wish we had more evidence available to use in your favor.
Seek medical attention immediately
First and foremost, seeking medical attention immediately after any accident or incident ensures you are receiving an appropriate evaluation of your injuries. Adrenaline and shock are powerful and can mask injuries that reveal themselves later. It is much better to have a complete physical exam, including any necessary imaging, to assess your physical well-being than to refrain from going to the doctor and risking your injuries getting worse. Documentation from qualified medical professionals works strongly in a victim’s favor. Also, some accidents - like traumatic brain injuries - do not always manifest immediately after an accident, so having that first appointment and then follow-ups as other symptoms develop, continue a bona fide paper trail supporting your case.
All too often, when clients are asked why they did not go to the doctor immediately after an accident or injury, they say, “I thought I was fine,” or, “I assumed the defendants would take responsibility and do what they should have to compensate me.” This mindset can cause trouble down the road because the other party’s legal team will use this to imply you were not injured by the accident, but rather, had pre-existing injuries, or that you made things up along the way because you are lacking evidence from the time of the incident proving your injuries were caused by the accident.
Consult with personal injury lawyers
It is never too early to consult with personal injury lawyers. You may decide to not use one, but getting someone on board early provides you with legally-sound advice on how to proceed, as well as what and how to document relevant evidence and information. Initial consultations are free, so we recommend scheduling at least three different consults. This gives you the opportunity to gain various legal perspectives while getting a feel for which personal injury attorney feels like the best fit for you.
One of the bonuses of moving forward with a personal injury case is that your lawyer is there for you every step of the way. We will take care of most of the documentation for you, helping to ease the pressure and stress you may otherwise feel after an accident.
Act like you have a personal injury claim from the start
It is always better to proceed as if you are going to file a claim than to wait too long and then realize you should have filed one sooner. There are statutes of limitations on personal injury claims, so waiting too long may mean losing your chance to file at all. Of course, the longer you wait to file a claim, the less likely you are to have the documentation and evidence needed to strongly support your case.
Contact Burneikis Law For Help With Your Personal Injury Case
Are you interested in learning more about how to move forward and what documentation you need for a successful personal injury claim? Contact Burneikis Law. We help Bay Area residents achieve satisfying settlements and outcomes because we are diligent about having the evidence and proof necessary to prove our client’s cases. We look forward to getting a successful outcome for you.