What Are the Steps in Documenting Your Injuries

Physical injuries are the core issue in a negligence claim. Tortfeasors (negligent parties) must compensate victims for their injuries, just like they should compensate their neighbors if they hit and wreck their mailboxes. Tortfeasors must also compensate accident victims for their pain and suffering, since the accident was someone else’s fault.

This compensation is available if a personal injury lawyer establishes negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Attorneys handle much of the evidence-gathering in a personal injury case. However, victims can help themselves by documenting their injuries too.

See a Doctor

In the immediate wake of a car crash or other personal injury, many victims decline medical treatment at the scene, because they “feel fine.” Your body can fool you, and this is a good example. Adrenaline temporarily masks pain. 

A few hours after an injury, when the adrenaline wears off, the pain sets in. Unfortunately, by that time, the victim’s injuries are more advanced and therefore more difficult to treat. Prompt medical attention lets doctors get ahead of potential problems and starts a documentation paper trail early on.

Victims should always see doctors, and not just for medical documentation purposes. If victims wait to see doctors, when their cases go to court, insurance company lawyers often claim that their injuries were exaggerated.

Get a Second Opinion

Most victims go to hospital emergency rooms. ER doctors are well-qualified and experienced, but they’re also very busy. Additionally, they usually know little or nothing about a patient’s medical history, aside from what they read on a computer screen.

An example of an injury-related condition is whiplash, which is a nerve/brain injury. Doctors often dismiss neck soreness and other initial symptoms as accident shock. It’s imperative to get a second opinion in these cases. Untreated whiplash causes permanent paralysis.

Enlist Your Friends

Friends, family, and co-workers usually cannot testify about the accident. They certainly cannot testify about the nature of your injuries. However, they can testify about the way those injuries affect you on an everyday basis. This final documentation step gives the medical evidence a human touch that usually resonates very well with jurors.

Assume Frank badly broke his hip in a fall. His doctor will most likely use complex Medspeak to describe his compound fracture. His doctor will most likely also show jurors gruesome X-ray pictures and graphic before-and-after pictures. Frank’s wife can testify that he cannot walk up a half-flight of stairs unassisted and that his injury forced him to stop coaching his son’s Little League team.

Frequently, comprehensive medical documentation is the key to maximum compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact Napoli Shkolnik.