Personal Injury – The Fundamentals to your Claim
The Fundamentals to your Claim
The most important part of any personal injury claim is in the minutes and days after the collision or incident. It is vital that you gather important information, obtain photographs or video of the collision scene or area the incident occurred and maintain any documents.
The following are important areas that you should concentrate on after a collision or slip and fall incident or any other potential liability claim.
If possible while on the scene of the collision, take as many photos as you can. Take photos of the autos involved in a car crash or the place where you fell. If a car crash, take photos and/or video of the scene of the crash. Include road signs, traffic lights, etc. Only gather this evidence if it is SAFE to do so. If you are not able to obtain photos or video see if there are any witnesses or your passengers who would be willing to take photos or video for you.
If your vehicle has to be towed from the scene or taken to a body shop to get repaired, it is crucial to get either your insurance company or the insurance company for the responsible party involved. The insurance company will generally take photos and provide an estimate of the property damage to the vehicles involved in the collision. The insurer may also arrange for your vehicle to be repaired by a local reputable auto body shop. Your insurance company may also obtain a rental car for you if you have this coverage. If you do have to pay out of your pocket expenses, please keep track of the expenses and maintain receipts or other proof of the expense.
Past, Present and Future Pain & Suffering:
It is a good idea to keep a diary or written journal to compile a narrative of your experience resulting from the incident. Your diary will document what you are going through because of the collision or incident. You will share the diary or journal with your attorney. Take detailed notes regarding your medical condition and your inability to return to work because of your injuries. For example, a headache that hasn’t gone away; pain in your knee or lower back; waking up in middle of night because of the pain you are experiencing; mental and emotional distress or anguish because you are re-living the crash; fear of driving, etc. You should also take photos or video of your injuries and any medical devices ordered by your doctor and any scaring from your injuries or resulting medical treatment.
In addition to pain and suffering, you may be suffering from a psychological injury. You may have had issues in the past that are now worse or your mental health issues may be brand new and directly related to the collision or incident. Your health is most important and you should make sure you get to a mental health physician as soon as possible to discuss any issues and whether additional medical or psychological care is necessary. These visits should eventually help you get better.
Your medical reports are one of the most important piece of evidence in your case. If you have not gone to a doctor and have no medical reports, you do not have a case. Therefore, if you are injured, it is your responsibility to see a doctor or medical facility. It is best to see a doctor immediately after the collision to ensure that your injuries are treated in a timely manner. The health care provide must prepare proper medical reports for your case. You will need to notify your lawyer regarding the doctors you are seeing and keep him/her informed about your future medical care. It is important that you get to know your doctor and establish a good relationship with your medical provider(s). It is crucial that you let your lawyer know each doctor that you have visited or plan to visit in the future. This is important so the medical reports and expense records can be obtained after your medical treatment is complete. Your medical records will be some of the evidence your attorney will use to document the severity of your injury(s). Your medical evidence will allow your attorney to evaluate your claim and present a demand for settlement to the insurance company involved.
Medical Bills and Health Insurance Liens:
Similar to obtaining your medical records, your lawyer will also need to obtain all of your medical bills. Your bills are directly related to how much your case is worth. Your lawyer will also want to make sure that your health care providers are billing the correct insurance company. If your health insurance company pays for the collision or incident related medical bills they may be entitled to a reimbursement at the end of the case so your lawyer needs to closely follow the medical expense payments. Your lawyer will likely notify your health insurance company early in the case to determine if the insurer will be presenting a claim for a right of reimbursement from any proceeds you may obtain in a liability claim settlement. It is critical that you let your lawyer know if you have personal health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare that may have paid for your medical expenses.
Similar to your past medical bills, your past lost wages are directly relevant to the value of your case. It is recommended that you keep track of any lost wages. Your lawyer will get proper documentation from your employer and from your physician in order to prove your lost wages. If your injuries are significant you may also have a claim for loss of future earning capacity. This type of claim is more difficult to prove and your lawyer may need to hire an expert to prove this element of damage. For example, if you suffered a back injury and because of your injury you may not be able to get a promotion to a higher paid job or may not be able to ever return to your profession, your lawyer will include this as part of your case evaluation.
Sapien Law LLC will guide you in the right direction and is ready to assist you with your liability claim. Contact our law office today at (505) 842-5979 to schedule a free consultation.