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Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2023   |  by Gary Burger

The Importance of Documentation in a Personal Injury Claim

The importance of documentation in a personal injury claim. When you're injured by the negligence of another, proper documentation is essential for ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve. From keeping a detailed journal to preserving medical records, having an accurate and complete record of your injury and its aftermath can greatly strengthen your case and help you achieve a more favorable outcome. Burger Law has over 80 years of combined experience investigating cases and getting great recoveries for our clients throughout Missouri and Illinois. If you have any questions about how to go about getting a financial recovery, speak to one of our personal injury lawyers today (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation.

What Documentation Do I Need For My Personal Injury Claim?

The purpose of compensation after an injury is to make you whole; meaning to put you in the same situation you were in before the accident. This means compensating you for your economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, as well as the less tangible non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. To get compensation for your damages, you have to show evidence of those damages with some kind of documentation:

You'll first need documentation demonstrating how the injury occurred and why the other party is liable for your damages. This documentation can include photographs of the accident site, police reports in the event of an auto accident and an injury report if you were injured in a slip and fall in a store. You can also use eyewitness statements and video surveillance. If the insurance company is especially obstinate, your personal injury attorney may use expert witnesses to testify to how your injuries occurred.

Secondly, you'll need your full medical records as they relate to the accident. If your injury isn't documented, the insurance company can say they have no reason to think you're injured. The more extensive the record of your medical treatment, the higher your compensation will be. You should keep all the bills and physician's reports from your initial emergency room visit or doctor's appointment, as well as all testing, X-rays or MRIs, physical therapy or chiropractic appointments, receipts for prescriptions or over-the-counter medications and bills for assistive devices such as crutches or neck braces. The records should include the date, the doctor or healthcare provider, and the treatment received. You can also keep a record of your transportation to and from medical appointments, whether that be your gas miles from driving, public transportation or a service like Uber or Lyft. If you need further treatment in the future, you'll need a letter from a doctor explaining why it's necessary and how much it'll likely cost.

You'll also need documentation of your lost wages and/or lost earning potential. You can use W2s or tax returns to show how much you usually earn, and get a letter from your employer stating the number of days missed. If you're unable to return to work due to your injury, you also need to obtain a statement from a doctor indicating your inability to work, or that you have to work less than before.

You can also keep receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred because of your injuries. Did you have to hire a nanny to look after your kids? Did you pay someone for help with household chores? Did your treatment take you out of town, where you had to pay for a hotel room? If it's directly related to your injuries, you can receive compensation for that as well.

You can also keep a detailed journal describing the symptoms and limitations you're experiencing because of your injuries. This will help the other side understand how your injuries have affected you in non-monetary ways. Does it hurt to get in and out of bed? Do you have frequent headaches from your whiplash injury? While money can't make those things go away, the law allows for a financial recovery for pain, suffering and mental anguish as well. If you used to love playing piano every day, but now you can't sit up straight at the bench, or your hands shake when you touch the keys, you deserve to be compensated for that.

What Documentation Not to Include in Your Personal Injury Claim

Your documentation should be truthful, but shouldn't be any more than you need to prove your claim. When you keep your journal, focus solely on your injuries and how they affect you. The insurance company may say they need your medical records from the three years before the accident, but that isn't true. They'll try to argue that your injuries were pre-existing, and therefore they don't have to compensate you for your claim.

Missouri and Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers | Burger Law

The personal injury process is daunting for anyone who doesn't have experience with it. One of the many benefits of hiring an attorney for your claim is that they can handle all the documentation and investigation for you. Burger Law knows how to win injury claims, and to date has secured over $200 million for our clients. Call us today at (314) 500-HURT or fill out our online form to discuss your case with an attorney for free.