Documenting your medical condition after an auto accident
Being injured in an auto accident can be very traumatic. It’s usually something that happens completely out of the blue and that you never think will happen to you (auto accidents only happen to others, right?). What you do and don’t do after an auto accident could have a substantial impact on any potential legal claims.
Obviously, if you’ve been knocked unconscious due to the accident, how and where you go for treatment is out of your hands and in the hands of the ambulance driver. However, if you are conscious after the accident, take steps to protect your rights.
Get medical attention
Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, go straight to the ER or your doctor’s office. You may be injured and not even know it. Having an independent medical professional document your condition as soon as possible after the accident should help your legal claims. You may be in such shock that you can’t feel injuries that have occurred, but a doctor may be able to diagnose them.
This exam can also serve as a baseline for your health as time passes. Without immediate medical attention, there is no way to prove your condition at the time of the accident.
Create a medical file
Get copies of records created by these post-accident visits. Though you may not need every record, the initial treatment report may become extremely useful to you in the future.
Create a file for your medical records and keep it up to date. It creates the story line of your injury and treatment. It also tracks your spending on your medical treatment. Since medical expenses are potentially reimbursable as economic damages, keeping accurate records could help you collect money from the person at fault.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident, take pictures of your injuries. Keep those pictures up to date as time passes. Time stamp the photos and back them up onto a computer. If your situation needs to be explained to a jury, each picture may speak a thousand words.
Keep a journal
Record your thoughts and impressions throughout your treatment and recovery. If you’re more focused on the situation, you may be better able to bring up issues with and respond to questions from your doctor. A journal should also contain the thoughts and feelings you’re dealing with. If you’re going through serious stress, sleepless nights, confusion and other mental trauma, this may help lead to an actual medical diagnosis and treatment, which could help your damages claims, including for pain and suffering due to your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact our office so we can talk about your situation and your legal options.