One of the essential elements of a personal injury claim is proving your injury and your damages. If you can’t prove how much the injury cost you, you may not win your lawsuit.
So how do you do that? By documenting all of your injury costs and expenses right away, maintaining careful records, and providing everything you have to a good attorney. The absolute first thing you should do after an accident or injury is to take care of yourself — make sure you receive any required medical attention right away. Once you’re safe, here’s how to document your injury expenses before you file a personal injury claim:
Take Your Own Notes
You should begin taking notes about the incident and your injuries as soon as possible, as your memory will be the freshest right after an accident. Along with documenting exactly what happened so that you can later prove whose fault it was, you can begin to document the extent of your injuries and your costs.
Your own notes will be good for two reasons. First, you can cross check your own notes against hospital bills and medical records to make sure you have complete documentation of any treatment you received. You can always request your medical history and receipts, but this way you know you received everything. Second, your personal experiences can help to demonstrate non-physical injuries. Writing about the effect of your injuries on every aspect of your life (including doctor visits, physical therapy, missed work, missed vacations, and the effect on your close personal relationships) can establish damages beyond a medical bill.
You’ll likely be given copious amounts of paperwork concerning your medical treatment and possible insurance coverage. And you may need to request certain documentation regarding lost wages and police reports.
You’ll want to keep everything, and as organized as possible, so that you can provide these documents to your attorney. Personal injury claims can be legally complex and you’ll want an experienced injury lawyer on your side.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- 5 Things a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Do (That You Probably Can’t) (FindLaw’s Injured)
- Legal How-To: Proving an Injury (FindLaw’s Injured)
- First Steps After an Injury (FindLaw)