by Amy Orsi at Markey & Orsi

According to the Center for Health Statistics, approximately 31 million people will require medical treatment due to injuries each year. Of these 31 million people, 2 million will need to be hospitalized for their injuries. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates 5.5 million car collisions occur yearly, of which 3 million people will be injured. According to the National Safety Council, around 4.6 million people will be injured while on the job and need medical attention yearly.

Many of these injuries will have been caused by the negligence of another and result in a personal injury claim being filed. Unfortunately, when a person suffers an injury, the insurance company is often unfair. They will do everything they can to deny or diminish the injuries suffered. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you receive fair value for your claim. The following are some key steps to take to document your injuries and maximize your claim:

  • Seek medical treatment right away. If you do not go to a hospital, urgent care center or a physician immediately, the insurance company will argue the injuries were not as severe as they may be.
  • Follow the treatment recommendations of the hospital and treating doctors. If physical therapy is recommended, make the appointment, and attend therapy visits as prescribed. Ensure your injuries and treatment are well documented and that gaps in treatment are avoided. Continue treatment with your healthcare providers until they discharge you. Insurance companies will use delays and gaps in treatment against you. Delays become their excuse to deny.
  • Take photographs of your injuries – i.e., swelling, lacerations, bruising, burns, surgical incisions and scars. Any visible injury should be photographed.
  • Take photographs of any property damage. If you were in a vehicle collision, take pictures of your damaged vehicle and any other vehicles damaged in the collision. For example, if your vehicle shows little property damage, an insurance company will argue the impact was too minimal to cause an injury. However, if you have photographs that show the entire front end of the at-fault driver’s vehicle smashed in, it contradicts those arguments. If an injury is caused by a defect on a property, such as an uneven sidewalk or black ice in the parking lot, take pictures to show how the conditions existed at the time of the injury.
  • Keep a journal or diary of how your injury occurred, including conversations had at the scene and with whom, the treatment you are receiving and how you are feeling. Include what type of pain you are having, how often you are having pain and what, if any, activities you are limited in doing or cannot do. This information helps ensure you remember crucial details that may fade over time.
  • Note any new symptoms, difficulties or limitations you have as they occur. If there is any new symptom that was not there before your injury, do not attribute it to age, a prior injury or any other cause. Instead, bring it to your doctor’s attention so that it can be appropriately considered if it is related to the injury. If it is not in the medical records, as far as the insurance company is concerned, it did not happen.

In addition to the above, you should also talk to a lawyer who represents injured people. A lawyer can provide you with support, education and guidance through this process. Most importantly, a lawyer will fight for just compensation and ensure you receive maximum results