The “Do’s and Don’ts” of Your Personal Injury Claim
Cases are largely built around the medical evidence including clinical records. These records are crucial and they only exist to the extent that you attend appointments.
DO get a family doctor if you don’t already have one. Do Not attend at random walk-in clinics or see different doctors at the same clinic. Pick ONE and then see the same doctor EVERY time (call ahead to get their schedule so you know they will be there).
DO see your doctor immediately following the car accident and then keep seeing your doctor regularly while you continue to have symptoms.
DO tell your doctor about ALL your symptoms, even ones you do not feel are important. Those symptoms may become important later and if you have never mentioned them until long after the accident, it will be harder to prove it was from the accident.
DO follow your doctor’s advice. If the doctor says avoid heavy lifting, then avoid heavy lifting. If the doctor says go for physiotherapy – then go.
In summary: Get a doctor if you don’t have one; see your doctor regularly; tell your doctor everything; and follow your doctor’s advice
Keeping Track of your Losses
At the time of settlement you will be called upon to detail your losses. Compensation is based on those losses. It is important that you are organized and keep track of these losses.
DO keep all of your receipts. You will likely incur expenses including prescription medication, user fees, travel expenses (bus tickets, parking receipts for appointments etc), even expenses for over the counter medication like regular Tylenol or Robaxacet can be recovered. But you need ORIGINAL receipts.
DO keep track of your time off from work and what you income you have lost. DO NOT rely on your payroll department to get it right without help from you. If there is a disagreement you will have your own records with which to refer.
DO keep a journal. Note down events you missed or were ruined; trips that were canceled or ruined; particularly bad days etc. These notes are very helpful when settling your claim as a reminder of what you went through.
DO take photographs of any bruising, cuts, obvious swelling, damaged property (like your car) etc. Again, these photos will help demonstrate your loss better than any verbal description.
In summary: keep your receipts; keep track of your time off from work; keep a journal; and take photos of any property damage or visible injuries.
In most cases, the other side will look for ways to undermine your credibility in order to minimize your claim. You can be an honest, hardworking person with a serious injury and still have your claim diminished by credibility issues.
DO tell the truth. For example, failing to mention previous injuries or accidents for concern that it will hurt your current claim is never a good idea. The disclosure of a prior injury will do far less harm to your claim than trying to conceal it.
DO NOT exaggerate the effects of your injuries. If the complaints are not consistent with the medical evidence then, in the absence of a reasonable explanation, this will impact your claim to the extent that what you say cannot be relied upon.
DO behave in ways consistent with your injuries and the advice of your doctor. Insurance companies will often obtain video surveillance. The footage is rendered useless if it shows you behaving in a way that is consistent with your injuries and medical advice.
In summary: tell the truth.