Any skilled Joplin, Arkansas personal injury attorney will tell you how important it is to document your personal injury damages.
In order for a jury to properly consider your claims of compensation following a personal injury, especially claims of pain and mental anguish, they need to see evidence of those injuries as much as possible.
Proof of Damages is Required for a Fair Settlement
While most personal injury cases do settle, you need to document your accident injuries if you want a fair settlement. While it is easy to calculate such things as prior / future medical expenses and property damage, the following losses are more difficult to prove:
- Prior and future loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
In most cases, your ability to establish those types of damages depends entirely on how well these losses are documented.
Documenting Damages with Photos and Videos
There is no question that photographs and video are great ways to document personal injury damages, especially when you are trying to make a record of the accident scene, property damage, bruises and other physical injuries. Bruises dissipate, and stitches and casts are eventually removed. That’s why it’s best to take photos of these things before their gone.
Whether you should take photos or videos depends on the situation and the type of damages you are trying to document. If possible, taking both would be a good idea. Both digital photos and videos are easy to share, and can easily be edited for a trial presentation if necessary.
How Much can you Recover for Damages?
The amount of compensation you may recover after a car accident depends on the type of damages you suffered.
Each claim is different, both factually and with regard to which laws apply to your claim. The most important element used in determining the value of a car accident claim is the nature and seriousness of your injuries.
Your Joplin personal injury attorney can help you determine your potential recovery.
What is the Real Purpose of a Damages Award?
The purpose of a damages award in a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole.” This basically means compensating the victim for everything was lost as a result of the accident or injury. The only way to accomplish that is through a monetary award.
In most car accident cases, the primary component of damages is medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
Reimbursement for medical treatment basically includes compensation for treatment already received, as well as the estimated costs of any medical care that may be required in the future. Additionally, the injuries suffered can have a substantial impact on the victim’s ability to return to work, either temporarily or permanently. In that case, damages may include future income.
Emotional Distress and Pain and Suffering
Another important component of damages in nearly every car accident case is compensation for pain and suffering.
If you suffer pain and severe discomfort at the time of the injury, as well as ongoing pain, that is a separate type of damages for which compensation may be available. Another thing to consider is the effect of more severe injuries, which often lead to emotional distress damages for the psychological impact of the injuries.
Settling a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, there are basically two ways to receive compensation for that injury.
You can either settle the case out of court or obtain a judgment from the court. Although a jury verdict in a civil lawsuit would likely result in a larger recovery, jury verdicts are never guaranteed.
Indeed, most personal injury cases settle before trial.
When Does Settlement Usually Occur?
Generally speaking, settlement will occur when either the insurance carrier or the defendant makes an offer of payment before liability has been proven. The offer of settlement can occur before the lawsuit is filed. It can also be made after the lawsuit has been filed, but before the case goes to trial.
A settlement can occur virtually at any point before a jury verdict, or before the court enters an order dismissing the case. In some cases, a settlement can be reached while the jury is deliberating. The thing to remember is that every case is different so talk to your Joplin personal injury attorney before you settle.
Contact an Experienced Arkansas and Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions regarding documenting injuries, or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can either send us an online message or calling our firm at (800) 364-8305.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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