The reason people file personal injury lawsuits is to be compensated for their injuries and other damages. The purpose of a damages award 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. But, as your Joplin personal injury attorney will tell you if you cannot prove your damages you may not be able to recover everything. This is why documenting your losses following a personal injury is very important.
Evidence of losses is required whether you go to court or settle
Regardless of the type of injury claim or whether you are able to settle your claim, you will be required to provide proof of your damages in order to be properly compensated. That includes expenses related to your physical injuries and any property damage. With proper documentation, you are more likely to be successful in your claim. Providing proper documentation to the insurance company involved will also help their investigation more forward more quickly.
What type of documentation is important?
With personal injury claims, there are certain types of evidence or documentation that are important to prove your claim, including the following:
- Photographs of the scene of the injury, your physical injuries and any property that was damaged. If the other party is claiming injury or property damage, you should document that as well, in order to disprove their claims, if necessary.
- Maintain a diary or calendar for recording detailed information about your physical injuries, including pain and other symptoms, when you received medical attention and any other relevant facts. It is easy to forget the details after months of treatment.
- Keep copies of all correspondence related to your injuries and property damage. This would include property repair estimates, correspondence from health care providers, receipts, bills, prescriptions, etc.
- Maintain a log of travel expenses related to your personal injury claim, including miles traveled, dates, gas receipts, etc.
- Documentation of any income you may have lost as a result of your injuries, such as when you received medical treatment or were unable to work for any period of time because of your injuries. This also includes any other benefits that you may have lost.
It is crucial that you start maintaining this documentation immediately after your injury and do your best to keep accurate and thorough records. This will assist your Joplin personal injury attorney in litigating your case and possibly settling your claims.
Compensatory damages are one type of recovery
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 may also be recoverable
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.
How much can your Joplin personal injury attorney recover for you?
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.
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, with the help of a Joplin personal injury attorney.
When does settlement typically 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 be sure to consult with a Joplin personal injury attorney before you decide to settle.
If you have questions regarding documentation of losses or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
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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