Documents You Should Collect To Help Your Personal Injury Case

Winning your personal injury lawsuit and getting the settlement you deserve often comes down to the amount of documentation you can show the court. You should start collecting the following information as soon as you can after your injury, even if you aren't initially sure if you will be filing a claim. This way you are sure to have what you need if you do decide to sue.

#1: Emergency Records

If your injury requires a visit to the emergency room, make sure you get a copy of all medical and financial records from the visit. This includes intake forms, diagnosis and treatments, X-rays and lab tests, and billing documents from the hospital, labs, doctors, and ambulatory services. Although it is usually possible to get these records later, it can take time for everything to be collected through the hospital records department so it's best to keep them from the outset.

#2: Photographic Evidence

There are several things that you should photograph as soon after an injury as possible, as listed below:

  • Take a picture of the actual injuries. Make sure to photograph in a well-lit location and to take the pictures from several different angles so that the full extend of the injury is shown. Also, collect any recent photos from just before the accident, if you have any available. These can help highlight long-term effects from the injury, such as scarring.

  • Get pictures of the scene where the injury occurred. The photographs should include anything that led to the injury, such as a loose railing or pulled up carpeting. If the injury is related to the car accident, take pictures of the location from several angles and include outside elements, such as the location of traffic signs and lights.

  • Take a photo of any property damage from the scene. This is especially necessary for cases tied to car accidents, where photos of the vehicle damage, both inside and out, can help with your case. In other types of accidents, you may want to take photographs of torn or bloody clothing, for example.

#3: Receipts

Document the financial side of your treatment and recovery thoroughly. Keep all receipts from medical providers, receipts for medications (even over-the-counter pain killers or ointments), and receipts related to any medically necessitated travel. If you must follow a special diet during recovery or purchase medical or therapy equipment, keep receipts for these as well. Also, keep all insurance invoices, especially those that have copay and deductible charges on them. 

#4: Income Loss Documentation

You will need to document the amount of income that you have lost due to the injury. Your company's human resources department may have a way to show this, or your boss may be able to draft a letter. Otherwise, it is up to you to show income statements from both before and after the injury to prove the amount of loss. Include proof of use for items like paid sick and vacation leave. This can be included in your settlement, since you would not have cashed in this time if the injury hadn't occurred. 

For further assistance, contact a local personal injury attorney, such as Norris, Gary G. Attorney.