The Importance of Records in Personal Injury Cases
When you have been injured in an accident, perhaps record-keeping is the last thing on your mind. However, keeping detailed records of your injuries, the circumstances surrounding your accident, your medical care, and your wage loss can provide crucial support to your legal case. Ideally, record-keeping should start as soon as possible following the accident. If an individual is seriously injured, often this will start automatically when the authorities are alerted (via a police report) and the individual is taken to the hospital (via EMT/ambulance records and emergency room records). The following are other key considerations in record-keeping for personal injury cases.
If the injured party is able to, it is a good idea to take photos of the scene of the incident. For example, photos of the vehicle(s) should ideally be taken following a motor vehicle collision. Photos of any visible physical injuries are also helpful.
One thing that is often very helpful to a legal case is keeping a journal of your experiences following your injuries. Writing a detailed narrative of the accident or incident that led to your injuries is a good idea, as soon as possible, while the events are fresh in your mind. Logging how you feel each day, how your injuries are impacting your daily activities, and keeping track of the dates of your doctor’s appointments are all ways you can utilize an injury journal. Just be sure to write the words “Confidential / Attorney-Client Privileged” at the top of your journal so that the contents are protected.
Medical records are crucial to personal injury cases because they show the exact injuries and often include the results of diagnostic testing as well as doctors’ expert opinions on the state of injuries and the patient’s prognosis. Medical records can be directly requested by your attorney’s office. It is very important to keep a list of all doctors, specialists, physical therapy offices, and other providers that you see for your injuries. This will help your attorney’s office to ensure that all of your medical care is included in your case.
Medical Bills and Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Pain and suffering is taken into consideration in personal injury cases, but economic damages are also important. This includes medical bills and other expenses related to the injuries you sustained in the accident that you paid out of your own pocket, as well as medical bills or expenses that are outstanding (that neither you nor insurance have yet paid). It is good practice to keep copies of all invoices and receipts related to the medical care you receive as a result of your injuries.
It is very important to keep records of the dates you miss from work as a result of your accident. It is also important to keep doctor’s notes excusing you from work. One type of damages that law firms will seek on behalf of their clients is called wage loss damages. The calculation for wage loss damages relies on the dates you missed from work and your rate of pay at the time. It is also a good idea to keep paystubs from the pay periods that you missed work, in order to provide proof of wage loss.
In a personal injury legal case, it is important to have as much supporting information as possible. Good record-keeping can help the process move along more smoothly and effectively. If you were hurt or involved in a personal injury case, contact us at (856) 232-9500 or email [email protected] at any time.