A viable personal injury claim must show actual harm, injury, or damage. For example, if someone is rear-ended with a slight tap, there is no whiplash or any injury, generally most people wouldn’t go to the doctor or file a claim.
In the state of Utah there needs to be medical bills of at least over $3,000 to even file a suit or in order to have a claim. Really what it comes down to is whether or not someone was actually injured and if he or she was injured, how badly. If it’s a minor scratch, a bruise, or something minor then there probably is not a viable case.
What Is The Importance Of Evidence And Witnesses In A Personal Injury Claim?
Evidence is very important including photographs in any personal injury case. Most people have cellphones with cameras built into them now and can instantly turn on their camera and start taking pictures, or turn on their video camera and start taking video of what happened. That way a person can preserve evidence, showing what the car and the skid marks looked like. In the case of a slip and fall, it can be documented what the ground looked like as well as the surrounding area. All of this can be extremely helpful in a case later on.
Witnesses are also critical in a personal injury case because they will remember what they saw. They too may have taken photographs or video that will become even more important. The hardest thing to do in a personal injury accident or slip and fall case, is to try and recreate the circumstances surrounding the accident because it’s literally impossible. You can’t go back to the scene of the accident and take pictures. Once the evidence is gone, it’s gone.
The next best opportunity to capture evidence is to sit down and write out what happened. Journal it like a diary entry and be as detailed as possible. Was it cold? Was it hot? Was it rainy? Was it snowing? Was the sun out? Were there clouds in the sky? How did you feel? A person should record everything he or she can remember. Do the who, what, when, where, how, and why of everything that took place. The reason people should do that is because someone’s memory is going to be better now than it will be four or five months from now, or maybe a year from now if they’re in the middle of the lawsuit and need to be deposed. Their memory is going to fade overtime so it is better to write it down.
Do You Recommend That Your Clients Keep A Journal Of Events Following An Auto Accident?
Attorney Mike Anderson asks his clients to keep a journal or diary entry following an accident. This information should include doctor visits, chiropractor appointments, medications they are taking, how they are feeling and so on. If there is an injury to a certain part of the body, write down how it feels every day and what activities are now limited or impossible because of the injury.
Perhaps the injured person is a social runner, now he or she is unable to be engaged in that social activity. Perhaps he or she is a competitive bowler and now can’t bowl because an ankle injury. Those types of things are important to record because it shows the effect the injury has one someone’s life.
Someone can say “I have hurt and had pain and suffering so I should receive damages”. However, that really doesn’t quantify or help a jury and it certainly doesn’t help in settling a claim. What does work is being able to give specifics such as, “I endured an ankle injury. On Tuesdays I usually go bowling with my friends and now I can’t go bowling because of my injury and that makes me depressed”.
Giving a much more vivid image versus just simply saying, “I was injured and I have pain and suffering”, is much more impactful and for that reason Attorney Anderson absolutely recommends his clients keep a diary or journal entries every day while a case is ongoing.
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