Documenting your personal injury claim is the key to maximizing your case. The more evidence you can provide to back your claims, the stronger your case will become.
Documentation starts nearly at the moment of the accident. Here’s everything you need to know.
Tip #1: Documentation at the Scene of the Accident
If you’re awake and alert after your accident, you must take advantage of the time and chance to gather as much information as possible. Don’t rely on memory, even at a slip-and-fall accident site.
Grab your phone and start taking some photographs. If you’ve been in a car accident, grab a photo of the other driver’s insurance information.
Take photos of everything: the property damage, the local conditions, and your own injuries. In a slip-and-fall case, you can and should even take a photo of your shoes. The only thing you shouldn’t be taking pictures of is another party’s injuries (documenting their injuries violates their privacy and doesn’t help your case).
You also want to get the names and numbers of every witness on the scene and a copy of the police report.
Tip #2: Documenting Your Medical Records
Don’t throw away any medical records. You want to keep every bill, prescription, discharge document, and set of doctor’s instructions. Put it all into a big file folder or binder.
Your organized bills are the only real evidence you have as to the extent of many of your economic losses. Paying the medical bills is the baseline for any personal injury case. Your pain and suffering award is usually a multiplier of your economic losses, so you want to document every penny.
Tip #3: Wage and Earning Records
You’re entitled to all your lost wages, but to get an accurate quote, you’ll need to produce pay stubs that help to show what you could have made if you hadn’t been injured in the accident.
Yet you don’t want to stop there. If your accident robs you of your ability to work in the future, then you will want to file a loss of earning potential claim as well.
While it can be difficult to predict the future, your career history can help. So can any positive reviews from your current employer, continuing education records, and other records which would tend to support that you had a bright career future ahead of you, one that’s now been taken away from you.
Tip #4: Recording Other Expenses
Don’t forget that economic losses cover any expense that arises due to the course of the accident.
Did you have to purchase child care so you could attend medical appointments? Were you too injured to cook and clean? Were you unable to drive?
Every domestic service you buy, and every DoorDash receipt you incur could reasonably be added to your other expenses. While you can expect the defense to challenge whether some of these expenses truly arose from the course of your accident, there’s no reason not to include them. You’re asking for reimbursement; they can negotiate if they don’t agree with your assessment.
Tip #5: Documenting Your Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering are subjective, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide evidence of the validity of your pain and suffering claim.
Get a journal and document your day-to-day life. Note the amount of pain you were in. Note the ways the injury made your routine activities difficult or impossible. Document your spending to account for these issues in your journal, too. If you had nightmares, document that. If you had to spend the day in bed because you were in too much pain to function, document that, too.
The full record of your pain and suffering will help to back your personal injury attorney as they seek to negotiate a higher pain and suffering multiplier. It also makes it harder for the defense to claim that you are making up your pain or that you’re making arbitrary claims about the level and depth of your suffering. It will all be there in black and white. Don’t exaggerate anything, but don’t skimp on the details.
Besides, the process might even prove to be therapeutic for you.
Get Help Today
When you visit with our attorneys, be sure to bring as much documentation as possible. It’s okay if you don’t have very much yet, but it’s helpful to give your attorneys all the information you currently possess. Your attorney may have other, more focused requests based on your unique situation.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t delay: retaining an attorney quickly is one of the other ways to strengthen your case.
Contact us to schedule an appointment ASAP.