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Proving Injury in Personal Injury Cases; The Importance of Documentation

At our firm, we always tell injured clients to follow the advice of medical professionals and make their own choices about treatment options in a way that optimizes recovery. Documentation is critical to help prove damages after an injury because insurance companies and their adjusters frequently try to discredit injured folks by questioning the extent of injuries and sometimes questioning whether injury was a result of the crash or incident in question.

Documentation includes photographs, medical records, income statements, and diaries. To help with healing, our brains frequently try to block out times in our life when we suffer from trauma. Injury lawsuits can last from several months to several years causing our memories to fade. As a result, we ask our clients to document everything starting with pictures from the hospital and the days immediately following the injury. Each time you go to the doctor, tell him or her about all your symptoms so the doctor can do the appropriate diagnostic testing and treatments. When you miss work because of your injuries, tell your employer the reason so it is documented. Lastly, keep a diary so that if you are asked to recall the day-to-day struggles related to your injury, you can recall what you felt closer in time to the injury. After a serious injury, it is not uncommon to feel a loss of independence, humiliation, embarrassment, anxiety, and a variety of other feelings that are unique to each of us.

Recently, we met a client who suffered a whiplash injury to her neck as a result of a car crash. She went to the emergency room, then saw her family doctor who prescribed her physical therapy for about two months. Though her pain continued, and even grew worse at times, she did not return to the doctor for nearly a year. Finally, she decided to go see a chiropractor, who treated her for several months and helped her. When she presented her claim to the insurance adjuster, all of the chiropractic treatment was denied. Despite her protests that she hurt from the moment of the car crash, the insurance company never believed her and offered only a small settlement based upon the initial emergency room treatment and physical therapy. Going to a doctor sooner may have helped her heal more quickly and would help document the continued pain she suffered.

The last thing most of us want to do is start thinking about a lawsuit immediately after an injury, but sadly you need to seek legal counsel quickly and start documenting injuries immediately. Insurance companies will use every method possible to undermine your injury, so please seek the advice of a local and well respected attorney quickly after an injury.

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