What Factors Constitute A Viable Personal Injury Claim?
The first and most important factor is probably good quality medical care that is consistent with the nature of the injury and without any gap in medical treatment. The second most important quality of a good personal injury claim is honesty by the injured victim. Tell the healthcare providers about their past, about what they have been doing since the accident and what happened in the accident. The third probably most important quality and I am not really ranking them here, so I would be a little hesitant to rank them this way, but these are probably the three most important qualities.
That is the quality of the medical documentation. You could be with a board certified Harvard Medical School neurosurgeon and he could be the best neurosurgeon in your area, but if he does not properly document what is going on with you, with your injuries, with your life, how the medical treatment and the injuries are affecting you and your life, what you can or cannot do from a work perspective and with activities of daily living. If he does not document everything that needs to be documented and does a poor job of record keeping and writes extremely short curt notes in your medical records, that can almost destroy your case and certainly will under value or devalue your claim to a significant degree.
It really comes down to being consistent in your statements with the doctors. Be consistent with your attending medical appointments. With a good quality physician for your particular type of injury and getting good consistent, complete, comprehensive medical reports or records of your condition that is a result of this accident. Lastly, a doctor who is willing to write a narrative letter outlining why you were injured in this accident and giving an overall analysis of how this accident affected you and what your prognosis is in the future. Those types of things if you do not can happen if have good quality medical care with good quality documentation with an honest plaintiff setting forth.
Everybody has some pre-existing conditions. Not everybody does everything perfectly. People, juries and adjustors realize that but when you are not honest about it and you do not disclose little things that really do not make a whole lot of difference, but if you hide them, they end up being big warts on your case and they really reduce the value of your claim.
Do You Advise Your Clients To Keep A Journal Of Events Following An Accident?
In the right kind of case, we do. When you have a condition that affects a lot of different aspects, an injury that affects a lot of different aspects of your daily living, which you may not remember when it comes time to put together, we will advise them to keep a diary at our request and provide us with a copy of that diary periodically so that we can discuss with them what is going on with their treatment, what is going on with the improvement of their physiological condition, their injuries so that we can help give them some medical and or legal advice.
For example, if they indicate that they have a particular problem that we know, can in no way be related to the accident, we will discuss that with them and how they should really be talking with their family physician or a separate physician about this particular problem and should not be talking about this particular problem at every appointment. Obviously, the treating physician needs to know about all problems, but they do not need to be told repeatedly about a problem that is unrelated that has been addressed at a prior appointment. Sometimes diaries help us to direct people to get better information to their doctors, to get better information from their physical therapist.
It helps them see the bigger picture. It helps the client and sometimes the doctors and healthcare providers to see the bigger picture. We do not always recommend a diary. It really just depends upon the nature of the case and the more severe injury cases where activities of daily living are extremely constricted or restricted. We will recommend that they do a diary for our purposes so that we can help them prepare the case for either settlement or for trial. If they do a diary on their own, then it is not protected by attorney-client privilege and that diary can be subjected to disclosure to the insurance company and to the insurance company’s lawyer. Again, if we do have them do a diary it is something that we have them do for our purposes and our purposes alone.