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- Follow Doctor’s Instructions. Perhaps the single most critical thing a client can do to maximize the value of their personal injury claim is to follow their treating medical provider’s instructions to the letter. In addition to the obvious medical benefits, following medical instructions closely makes it much easier to prove that medical care is causally related to the underlying negligent act by the Defendant. Insurance adjusters love to seize upon any undocumented “gaps in treatment” to refute causation and lessen the value of a claim. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that clients make all medical appointments possible, and, when missed appointments are necessary, ensure that they provide their doctors with sufficient information to permit them to document the reason for any treatment gap.
- Take Photographs. There is simply no substitute for the evidentiary value of a timely photograph. For this reason, it is absolutely critical that a personal injury claimant take photographs to document their claims whenever possible. Relevant photographs include photos of an accident scene, photographs depicting injuries, as well as photographs depicting any property damage (this particularly relevant in motor vehicle accident cases). Keep in mind that a trial might occur 18-24 months from the date of injury – consequently, many injuries (including bruising, lacerations, and other temporary disfigurements) will have resolved prior to trial. Therefore, timely photographs often become the sole means to prove the existence of substantial, but no longer visible, injuries.
- Document Lost Earnings. Lost earnings that are caused by negligent conduct is compensable in your personal injury claim. However, many insurance adjusters and juries will be quite skeptical of lost earnings claims unless they are exhaustively documented. For this reason, it is vital that clients maintain and provide all relevant documentation of their earnings (pay stubs, tax forms, etc.) and make sure their treating medical providers are aware of any lost earnings so that they document the time missed from work and, ideally, provide documentation that the lost earnings are causally related to the underling injuries.
- Update Medical Providers. Make sure to keep your attorney informed as to any new medical providers you see during the course of your treatment. This will ensure that your attorney’s office is able to procure a complete set of all medical records and billing. This medical record will often form the single most critical of evidence in support of your personal injury claim. Note that this includes all medical providers to whom you are referred by your primary doctor; as each provider likely maintains separate medical billing and records.
- Journal. Personal injury claimants are strongly encouraged by an experienced personal injury lawyer in Arlington, VA, like from The Law Offices of Ryan Quinn, PLLC, to maintain a journal or other written record of their experiences throughout their claim. If your case goes to trial, you may be asked to testify regarding your subjective experience years after the fact. The ability to review a contemporaneous account of your experiences, including your pain & suffering, medical treatment, and physical recovery, will be an invaluable tool to refresh your recollection and allow you to more vividly convey your story.