That car accident ruined your life, which is why you might be filing a lawsuit to collect a settlement from your insurance company. Unfortunately, while your insurance company might be more than willing to pay for your medical expenses or repair your car, it might be difficult to quantify your losses due to pain and suffering—unless you know what paperwork to show your auto accident lawyer. Here are two documents that might help you to prove your pain and suffering:
1: Medical Paperwork
To calculate your personal injury settlement, the insurance company will probably start by adding up all of your expenses and multiplying that total by between 1.5 and 5. However, the more long lasting and severe your injuries are, the higher the multiplier, and the higher the settlement. For example, a simple broken arm and a few scratches might mean that your $5,000 loss turns into a $7,500 settlement, while a permanent brain injury might mean a return of up to $25,000—or even more.
However, unless your attorney can prove the extent of your injuries, they might not be able to convince the insurance company to boost that multiplier, which is where medical paperwork comes into play. That medical paperwork can do more than show how much you paid for treatment. In addition to offering important insights about the severity of your injuries, medical paperwork can also be helpful to demonstrate recovery timelines and overall emotional trauma. Here are a few documents you should keep track of to show your lawyer:
- Hospital Discharge Paperwork: Don't trash that discharge paperwork given to you by the nurses in the hospital. In addition to documenting key dates and times, hospital paperwork can also document instructions you were given by medical professionals and what you should expect from recovery. This can show the insurance company how the injury would have impacted your life.
- Notes From Your Therapist: If you have sought help for depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress following your accident, ask your therapist for a note for your insurance company. They might be able to outline how the accident has impacted your mental health, which might bolster your settlement.
- Prescription Drug Information: Sometimes the medications that you have to take following your accident can cause side effects that are just as rough as your injuries. For example, your pain medication might make it hard to drive, work, or play with your kids. To prove these side effects, keep the medication information sheets that come with your prescriptions. These sheets also contain dates that show when your medicines were filled, which might make it easy to prove you were following doctor's orders.
To keep your paperwork organized and easy to see, consider keeping your medical documents in gallon-sized, zip-top plastic bags. These bags are easy to label with a permanent marker, and they are waterproof to protect your documents from accidental spills. Also, since they are inexpensive, you might be able to make a new bag for each week of your treatment—which can keep your paperwork organized by date.
2: Work Emails
Don't be the only one who gets to peruse those frustrating work emails from your boss, clients, and coworkers. Those messages can offer vital documentation that can be used to prove how your injuries have impacted your career. If you miss out on future opportunities, such as promotions, extra clients, or overtime, it can be factored into your personal injury settlement under the umbrella of pain and suffering.
For example, messages from your boss might show how frustrated he or she is with how much work you have missed, and emails from your clients could be used to show how many new customers you have lost. Also, keep track of sent messages so that you can show how you responded to a demanding work environment. For example, your emails might demonstrate you being asked to stay late or go the extra mile to make up for missed time.
By taking the time to collect a little paperwork beforehand, you might be able to give your attorney all the documents he or she needs to get you the settlement you deserve.