Increase the Settlement Value of Your Injury Claim With Good Documentation
When it comes to making an injury claim, the more you document your injuries, the better.
The best ways to preserve evidence of your injuries are by reporting all of them promptly to a doctor or other medical provider, and by photographing any visible marks, cuts, bruises, or swelling, including any casts, splints, bandages, or other devices that you are using on your own or based on a doctor’s prescription.
Tracking Your Injuries - Why It's Important
Without an early medical record of all your injuries, and photos if possible, it will be more difficult later to convince an insurance company that you were injured in the ways and to the degree you claim. Visible injuries heal and will not look as serious later. And failing to seek immediate treatment can lead an insurance company to believe that your injuries were not so serious, or even that you invented or exaggerated them after the accident.
Get Immediate Medical Attention
Where to go for treatment is first and foremost a medical decision. But the kind of medical treatment you get, and the type of medical provider from whom you receive it, can affect how much your claim is worth.
You may think it sounds obvious to tell you to get prompt medical care, and to let the medical people know about all your injuries, pains, and discomforts. But too often, people try to do without medical care, or report to a doctor only what seems to be their worst injury. They may end up with no medical records of their injuries, or with records of one injury but not of another that seemed to be minor but proved to be very painful and persistent.
Worried About the Cost of Initial Medical Treatment?
Of course, the high cost of medical care often makes people reluctant to begin treatment unless absolutely necessary. But in the case of an accident in which someone else was at fault, that person or business, through its insurance, will be obligated to repay you for all reasonable medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering caused by your injuries. And getting medical treatment is the best way to support your claim that you have gone through pain and suffering. So, even if you have to pay for medical treatment now, you will benefit from the prompt attention and also from the documentation of what those injuries really are. Be sure to save all bills, receipts, letters, and other documents relating to your medical treatment.
Keep an Injury Diary or Journal
One of the best ways to keep a complete and accurate record of your injuries, and the impact they're having on your life, is to keep a daily journal devoted to your injuries and their effects.
This article is an excerpt from How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim by Attorney Joseph Matthews (Nolo)