WHAT FACTORS MAKE UP A VIABLE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
The liability facts, if we are talking about a truck or car wreck, what happened, what caused the wreck, what factors were in play? So the liability facts to start with, second, the nature and extent of the claimed injuries and damages. Certainly the nature of the medical treatment, the nature of the injuries, whether there is any type of permanent injury that you typically see in a situation where there is a catastrophic injury to somebody that has permanent consequences that will last forever. Also the issue of wage loss, if a person was working when they were injured and have been unable to return to work or may have a diminished earning capacity, those are the types of factors that make a very viable personal injury claim versus the one that may not be so viable to pursue.
The Importance of Evidence and Witnesses In A Personal Injury Claim
The preservation of evidence, getting to the scene as soon as possible. Documenting things like skid marks, gouge marks, physical evidence in the roadway, debris, where the debris is, getting photographs of the roadway itself. If it is in an intersection, the physical characteristics of an intersection may change from time to time and getting the evidence preserved early on is very critical. It helps when working with the investigating officers, the police department or highway patrol to preserve and document evidence, identifying witnesses to a particular incident, getting their names and phone numbers and getting their recollections of what occurred while it is still fresh in their memory. All of those things are critical to obtaining a good outcome.
Keeping A Log Or Journal Of Events After An Accident In A Personal Injury Claim
If they are my client, I encourage them to communicate with me regularly about how they are doing, feeling, how their medical condition and treatments are going. If they want to do that by way of keeping a diary or just sending me an email that I then maintain in my file. I do not so much care about the form. If a person does not have an attorney and if they are keeping a journal that is not at the direction of an attorney, it is possible that that material can become discoverable in a lawsuit meaning that the defense attorneys and the defendants can get access to that journal and read what it is the injured person has written down.
If the injured person is memorializing things at the direction of an attorney, that would certainly be considered privileged or protected information under the attorney-client privilege and not be subject to discovery. Anything that is communicated between my clients and myself, whether in writing, over the phone or in person is absolutely privileged.
The Potential Consequences Of Delaying Medical Treatment In A Personal Injury Claim
As soon as a person recognizes that they are injured after a wreck, many times it is not as clear as a broken bone or some obvious injury. As soon as the person is feeling that they sustained an injury from a wreck, they should seek out appropriate medical attention and that it is not related to a claim, nor related to a lawsuit, that is just for their medical wellbeing. As in any other situation, if you believe that you are injured or something is not right with your body, you should listen to your body and get medical treatment as soon as possible.
When you seek the treatment, you should make sure that the health provider understands that you were recently in a wreck and give them an accurate version of when you started experiencing your symptoms and how you believe they may be related to the wreck. What it was that you experienced in the wreck and what your body went through. But certainly as soon as somebody believes that they have been injured, they should seek appropriate medical attention.
The risk in not doing so is that the opposing attorney or opposing party is going to suggest repeatedly that if you did not seek treatment then you were not really injured. The argument that they will make is if you were really injured in this wreck, you would have gone and received treatment immediately. You would not have waited any number of days before you sought out treatment. Many times, people ignore the realities of day-to-day life with work, children and activities that people do on any given day. But, my recommendation is to get medical treatment as soon as possible if you are injured.