LAW OFFICES OF JOHN LEE DEPOLO, PLLC

933 W. MAIN ST. BRIDGEPORT, WV 26330
(304) 842-3535

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FEATURE ARTICLE: DOCUMENTING YOUR DAMAGES IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE

All personal injury cases begin with determining three important factors: liability, financial responsibility, and damages. Liability means that someone negligently or intentionally injured you. Financial responsibility means that there must be someone who is able to pay, or who has insurance that will pay for your injuries. Damages is often used interchangeably with injury, but it refers to both the injury and economic loss you have suffered from an accident. Damages can include obvious things, like the cost of your medical bills and medication, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Damages can also include loss of the ability to do things you were able to do before your injury.

In my many years of practice, I have found that insurance companies simply will not give serious attention to claims for which there is no documentation. If you have suffered a personal injury, the most important step you can take to ensure that your injuries are taken seriously by the insurance company is to obtain continual medical treatment from a qualified physician for as long as you suffer from your injuries. Being precise and truthful in communicating your problems to your physician is the best way to ensure that you will have a well-documented claim for injuries.

In addition to obtaining medical treatment, it is also important for you to document your injuries and losses. The best way to do this is to keep a detailed diary, recording all your appointments with medical providers, any pain and discomfort you experience as a result of the injury, and any other experiences that stem from the accident.

Another important step in documenting your losses is to keep careful record of any time you miss from work due to the accident. This includes time you are required to miss for doctor's appointments, as well as sick days and vacation days you use when you miss work.

Finally, you should keep careful records of any expenses you incur as a result of your injuries. This means saving medical records and bills, as well as receipts and canceled checks for medication or for services, such as housework or yard work, that you must pay others to do because you are unable to as a result of your injury. You should also save the containers for any non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, that you take for your injury.

Remember, recording your injuries and losses is vital in presenting a claim to an insurance company. Do everything you can to make sure that you have a well-documented case.