How to Properly Document Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Everyone knows that you sustained serious injuries in your accident. Now, how do you go about proving it?
Even the best personal injury lawyers cannot undo the damage a negligent driver has done. This realization is very sobering to us as we attempt to help put back the pieces of shattered lives. While the damage cannot be undone, proper legal assistance and compensation can help. For this reason, this aspect of personal injury law is referred to as the law of “damages.”
Damages are divided generally into three categories: general, specific, and punitive. Other blogs have dealt with punitive and general damages. Today we discuss the law of itemized, out-of-pocket, “pecuniary” damages, that is the part a claim that can be quantified.
While these damages can frequently be only a small part of the overall injury and damage picture, they are very important. It goes without saying that medical bills and lost wages are part of this category, and our office may require your assistance in proving these. Often forgotten however, are small items like prescriptions, heating pads, assistive devices (like crutches and wheelchairs) travel costs, tolls, cancelled airfare, lost tuition, forgone gym memberships, etc., etc. While these items may seem minor, they add up. More importantly, they help tell the story of injuries and explain the overall damage picture.
The damage award is typically greatest when it comes to general damages: pain, suffering, inconvenience, etc. While it is possible discuss these items with the insurance company (or court), providing proof of smaller losses completes the picture. For example, the insurance company or court will want to see that tuition was actually forfeited, that a gym membership was canceled, and so on. We work with our clients to come up with adequate proof of damages in a way that tells each client’s unique story. We may make odd requests (like copies of your old transcripts) but in the end, such proof can make the difference between a poor result and just compensation.