If you suffered an accident resulting in injuries and economic damages due to someone’s negligence, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. This claim is usually filed with the negligent party’s insurer, demanding financial compensation for all your eligible damages.
In this article, a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer explains what you need to successfully file your claim and win damages.
1. Evidence Related to the Accident
One of the first elements of a personal injury claim is proving that the other party breached their duty of care towards you through negligence. In other words, you have to prove that an accident happened and its cause is the other party’s negligence.
The evidence needed to prove that includes:
- Police report if you were injured in a traffic accident
- Incident report if you suffered a slip and fall or another type of accident in a supermarket or other type of business property
- Eyewitness statements describing how the accident happened
- Photos and videos of the accident scene which you should take with your phone camera.
After you hire an attorney, they may identify and collect other types of evidence that are not readily available to the general public, such as:
- Hiring expert witnesses to analyze the existing evidence and prepare a report detailing the circumstances and outcomes of your accident
- CCTV camera footage from privately or publicly owned cameras
- Various records, such as the other party’s phone log or history of traffic violations
- Technical reports prepared by experts to analyze defective products
2. Proof Related to Causation
Next, your Philadelphia personal injury attorney must prove that the accident caused your injuries. To establish a clear cause-and-effect chain, you should seek medical attention immediately after your accident.
This is often the weakest element in a personal injury claim because many people believe that they do not need to see a doctor. The reality is that, immediately after any accident, your body starts secreting adrenaline, which numbs the pain.
Thus, even if you believe you are fine, you should still ask for an ambulance or go to the nearest ER or hospital. Full diagnostic tests often reveal severe injuries that cannot be seen or felt just after the accident, such as:
- Organ damage or soft tissue damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spine injuries
- Traumatic brain injury.
Seeking medical care immediately after the accident may save your life or prevent life-long impairment. At the same time, the time and date of the first medical checkup, within a short time after the incident, will prove causation.
It would be too outlandish to assume that you suffered another accident within half an hour to an hour after the initial accident. However, if you seek medical attention a few days later, an insurance adjuster may claim that you were injured in a subsequent accident and deny your claim.
3. Evidence Related to Economic Damages
The existence of economic damages is at the core of personal injury claims. Without financial loss, you do not have a case, because personal injury is not about punishing a guilty person but recovering damages from a negligent party.
Thus, your lawyer will need all the bills and receipts for expenses related to the accident:
- Ambulance ride bill
- Hospital stay bill
- Receipts and bills for treatments, therapies, and prescription medication
- Estimates for repairing or recommendations to replace damaged property.
Additionally, the attorney will need pay slips covering a period of several weeks to calculate your total lost wages for the period when you cannot work due to accident injuries.
4. Proof of Pain and Suffering
Personal injury law allows accident victims to seek damages for:
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
To prove this type of suffering, your attorney will discuss it with your doctor, your family, and friends. Their corroborated statements will show the change in your personality, outlook on life, and physical abilities after the accident.
You can also keep a journal detailing your thoughts, nightmares, mood changes, and other issues affecting you.
5. An Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, you will need a skilled and determined Philadelphia personal injury lawyer to file your claim successfully. On your own, you will be intimidated or tricked by an insurance adjuster to either drop your claim or accept a lowball offer.
An attorney will advocate for you, rely on knowledge of the law, evidence, and experience to prove your case, and negotiate a fair settlement. Since we offer each new client a free case evaluation, you have nothing to lose, so call us today at 267-314-8024!