How to Build a Strong Personal Injury Case
If you were injured because someone else was negligent, you may be able to recover damages by pursuing a personal injury claim. Following an accident, medical bills can add up quickly. What’s even more frustrating, your injury may prevent you from working and paying the bills.
While the priority is to focus on your recovery to get back on your feet as soon as possible, you should also be working on your claim to strengthen your personal injury case. You can – and should – get help from an experienced attorney to help you build your case in order to receive the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a consultation with our lawyers at Howe.Law to help you prepare a strong personal injury case and get the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Our attorneys represent clients in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
How can you strengthen your personal injury case?
There are several steps you should take to prepare a strong legal case. While you can work on your case on your own, it’s advised to seek assistance from a skilled personal injury attorney familiar with the law in your particular state.
Take the following five steps to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and higher payouts.
1. Seek medical attention immediately
Many people who have been injured because of someone else’s negligence underestimate the importance of seeking medical attention right away. It is critical that you go to the doctor as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait to get examined by a medical professional, the harder it will be to recover damages.
2. Be honest with your doctor about everything
Being honest with a doctor during the initial medical appointment can not only help them diagnose your injury correctly but can also strengthen your personal injury claim.
Do your best to tell your doctor everything about your condition, including how the injury impacts your life and whether you experience any pain, discomfort, or other symptoms.
Note: While you should be straightforward about your medical symptoms, never exaggerate the severity of your injuries as this could hurt your personal injury case.
3. Follow all of your doctor’s orders
Failure to follow a doctor’s orders is one of the most common reasons why insurance companies deny personal injury claims or pay victims less than they are entitled to.
During a medical appointment, your doctor will give you strict orders that must be followed to (a) get better and (b) protect your legal rights.
4. Never miss doctors’ appointments
If you miss a doctor’s appointment following the accident, the insurance company may have grounds to deny or devalue your claim. When the insurer finds out that you missed doctors’ appointments, it’s likely to question the severity of your injuries and your need for medical care.
5. Collect and preserve evidence
Gathering all available pieces of evidence and preserving them is key to the success of your injury claim. You cannot build a strong case if you cannot support it with evidence.
Read on to find out what types of evidence are needed to support and strengthen your personal injury claim.
What evidence do you need to build a personal injury case?
If you sustained an injury because another person or entity was negligent, gathering evidence could help you prove your claim to get compensated for your damages and losses. There are at least eight pieces of evidence that you need to collect to prepare a strong personal injury case.
Contact our personal injury attorneys at Howe.Law to help you gather and preserve all available and necessary types of evidence in your particular case. Our lawyers can help identify and collect evidence that’s relevant and admissible for your case.
1. Police report
If you were injured in a car accident, you are legally required to report the crash to the police. The accident reporting requirements vary from state to state:
- In Georgia, drivers must report motor vehicle crashes involving bodily injury, death, or property damage of at least $500 (C.G.A. § 40-6-273).
- In Tennessee, motorists are required to notify the police of accidents resulting in death, injuries, or property damage that exceeds $400 (TN Code § 55-12-104).
- In Mississippi, drivers must report traffic crashes that result in fatalities, bodily injuries, and property damage exceeding $500 ( Code § 63-3-411).
You need to obtain a copy of the police report that was filed by the responding police officers. The police report will establish a record of the accident and help you determine liability in the crash.
2. Accident report
If you were injured in an accident that didn’t involve motor vehicles, you should obtain an accident report, also known as an incident report. For example, if you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, you should contact the owner of the property to ask them to file an accident report.
The copy of the accident report can be a valuable piece of evidence in your personal injury case because it serves as proof that you sustained injuries on the owner’s premises.
3. Photos and videos
Photos and videos play a crucial role in any personal injury case. It’s always advised to take pictures and record videos of the accident scene, the condition that caused your injury, the severity of the resulting injuries and/or property damage, and anything else that might be relevant to your case.
Also, there could be surveillance footage of the incident. In this case, you need a personal injury attorney to subpoena the surveillance tape to be able to use it as evidence in your case.
4. Personal journal
Following the accident, keep a personal journal where you write down all the details of the incident, your injuries, and how your life has changed after the accident.
Many victims underestimate the importance of personal journals, but having a written account of the accident can significantly strengthen your personal injury case.
5. Witness statements
Eyewitnesses can be important when building a strong personal injury case. If anyone saw how the incident happened, you need to talk to them and write down their contact information and names. Witness statements can play an important role in securing a favorable outcome for your case.
6. Proof of lost wages
Personal injury claimants are typically entitled to reimbursement for lost wages as part of their claim. However, in order to pursue compensation for the loss of income, you are required to keep track and demonstrate proof of lost wages.
You could obtain proof of lost wages by asking your employer to write a document specifying your pay rate, how many days or weeks you missed because of your injury, and the full cost of lost wages.
7. Proof of pain and suffering
Pain and suffering damages usually account for a significant portion of the victim’s total losses in a personal injury claim. For this reason, it’s vital to document your pain and suffering and other non-economic damages such as loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and others.
Because it’s difficult to put a dollar value on these damages, it’s essential to keep a journal to memorialize the details of your recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your case and estimate your pain and suffering damages.
8. Medical bills and documentation
Your medical bills and all types of documentation related to your medical treatment also play a critical role in the success of your personal injury case.
Keeping track of all of your medical bills following the accident will not only help you stay organized but will also help calculate your medical expenses.
Mistakes that could hurt your personal injury case
Avoiding mistakes that could hurt your case is just as crucial as taking all the necessary steps to build a strong personal injury case. With a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side, you can avoid these and many other mistakes when handling your claim:
- Failing to collect all available types of evidence. The success of your personal injury case hinges on your ability to present convincing evidence to prove your claim. Not having a sufficient amount of evidence could delay the claims process or result in the denial of your claim.
- Not obtaining witness statements. As mentioned earlier, witness statements can assist an injured party in proving their injury and seeking compensation from the negligent party.
- Not being aware of the statute of limitations. Each state has its own statute of limitations or the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Failure to bring a lawsuit within the applicable time frame can result in the denial of your claim. The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is one year from the date of the injury in Tennessee (TN Code § 28-3-104), two years in Georgia (C.G.A. § 9-3-33), and three years in Mississippi (Miss. Code. § 15-1-49).
- Not seeking medical attention right away. One of the most common mistakes is waiting too long to get medical care following the accident. If you fail to seek medical attention immediately, the insurance company is likely to dispute the severity of your injury.
- Not consulting with a personal injury attorney. It’s advised to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer and let them handle all the communications and negotiations with the insurance company. Insurers use many different tactics to devalue and deny claims, while an attorney on your side will fight for the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Schedule a case review by contacting our personal injury attorneys at Howe.Law. Our knowledgeable and results-driven lawyers will review your case and formulate the best legal strategy for your unique situation. With offices in Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee, our attorneys can help you build a strong personal injury case. Call us at 844-876-4357 to receive a free consultation.