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When you’re seriously injured at the fault of someone else, your life and financial standing can spiral out of control before you know it. You need professional legal counsel to help you gain back financial stability in the face of crippling medical bills and lost wages. You also deserve monetary compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced due to your injury. There’s a lot you can do to actually strengthen your case and assist your personal injury lawyer in building your case and getting you the full compensation you’re entitled to.
It’s imperative that you go for treatment directly following your accident. The more time placed between medical treatment for an injury and the accident that caused it, the more difficult it can become for a personal injury attorney to link that injury to said accident. The sooner you seek medical attention, the better – both for your own wellbeing, and to strengthen your personal injury case.
Photos are extremely valuable to a personal injury case. If you’re in an accident, whether it’s a slip and fall, a bicycle accident, a car accident, etc., and someone else is to blame, it’s critical that you take photos of any property damage/bodily injury. This is where the time-honored phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings almost overly true. Personal injury cases can take years to settle. By the time you’re in court, your injury could be nearly healed, which could possibly sway a jury to believe your injuries aren’t as serious as described. Directly following your accident, take as many photos as you can of your property damage, and continue to take photos of your injury. Injuries change as they heal or get worse over time. Daily photos of your injury, including those taken before and after any surgeries performed, can help build your case.
As time goes on, memories get blurry. Do the best you can – if possible – to write down as much as you can regarding what happened during your accident. Sometimes, negligent parties will feel apologetic and even admit fault. For example, you may be in a car accident and the other driver may apologize, claiming they “weren’t looking”. That’s an admission of fault, and your account of their admission can help your personal injury attorney build a solid case. You may slip trip or fall at a store. While you’re filing the incident report, an employer or employee may speak to the conditions of the spot where you fell. They may have even had trouble with it before. Slip, trip and fall cases can be difficult – insurance companies will always attempt to blame the victim. But if you’ve overheard admission from a worker that the area where you fell has been a source of problems in the past, it may prove that the property owner was negligent in not fixing it before your accident.
It’s a good idea to express the pain and suffering that you’re experiencing, the joy in your life that your injury has taken away or impeded upon, in a daily journal. It could end up being a long time until you’re actually asked about the pain and suffering you experienced because of your injury. Having that journal will help you in detailing exactly how you felt and could help your personal injury attorney in his or her strategy in gaining you compensation for your pain and suffering.
Your doctor will take notes on everything. It’s important you tell them where you’re hurting, the degree of pain you’re in, and how you’re feeling as a whole. When your doctor’s records are given to the insurance company reviewing your case, their notes are important. They’ll also be critical if your doctor is asked to testify on your behalf. For example, if your leg was injured, but you neglect to tell your doctor that the pain intensifies at night, making it hard for you to sleep, that claim will be questioned. You’ll need your doctor’s corroboration on your injury, pain and suffering. Never withhold information. But never exaggerate either – to your doctor, or your attorney.
If your physical therapist tells you to stay out of work for a certain period, but you do not listen, this could limit the liability of the negligent party. It’s up to you to take your recovery seriously. Not following your doctor’s orders (such as a light exercise routine to help rebuild muscle) could end with a slow recovery being claimed as your fault.
Your doctor may very well be the most important witness on your behalf. It’s a good idea that you do what they say, and create a positive rapport with them. Their testimony could make or break your case.
Even if your employer doesn’t necessarily require written excuses for you to miss work, lost wages are a large part of the compensation that you’re entitled to and written excuses are written proof of your time spent out of work due directly to your injury.
If you don’t do everything you can to recover – such as making every doctor’s appointment you’re told to. If you miss appointments, this can poke holes in the authenticity of your need for medical treatment.