Maximizing Your Personal Injury Compensation in Philadelphia

Maximizing Your Personal Injury Claim in Philadelphia

Maximizing Your Personal Injury Compensation in Philadelphia


The plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a personal injury claim. Therefore, collecting evidence to establish the defendant’s liability and prove harm is essential. To maximize your personal injury claim, consider the following:


  • Seek medical attention right away
  • Gather all relevant evidence
  • Keep copies of your medical records
  • Keep a journal of your experience
  • Keep copies of your employment records
  • Remember your eligibility for future damages
  • Avoid social media 

Seek Medical Attention Right Away

In some instances, seeking medical attention right away is obvious. For example, if you are in intense pain and bleeding after an auto accident, it’s clear you need an ambulance to take you to the emergency room. The first responders would likely insist on taking you to the hospital and object strongly to a refusal to seek medical attention.


On the other hand, some injuries present less urgency. For instance, what if you slipped on a wet floor at the supermarket and twisted your ankle? You may be able to walk away with minimal pain. But as with many orthopedic injuries, the severity of the injury is not always immediately apparent. 


Over the subsequent hours and days, swelling may increase, and range of motion be lost, resulting in substantial pain and the inability to walk or stand for long periods, causing a limp that may aggravate other parts of the body, resulting in additional injuries.


But if you refuse immediate medical attention, you risk losing your personal injury case of suffering from a dramatically lower settlement. Firstly, the defense may deny liability entirely, claiming that you declined immediate medical treatment because the incident caused no injury.


Secondly, the defense can maintain that you caused all or a substantial portion of your injury by declining medical treatment. For example, they may claim that had you sought help, you would have mitigated the injury’s impact. However, you failed to mitigate your damages, instead insisting on walking on the injured ankle, which severely increased the impact and cost of treatment.


By failing to mitigate damages and exercising poor judgment, you turned a minor injury into a catastrophe. In that case, the defendant may be liable for some of the cost of your injury, but certainly, your choices afterward that exacerbated the situation are your responsibility.


By seeing a doctor promptly after the accident, you establish your case through medical evidence, making it impossible to deny the incident that caused the injury. Further, you eliminate the defense argument that you contributed to the injury and failed to mitigate your damages.


Gather all Relevant Evidence

Wherever possible, gather evidence proving the accident occurred, that the fault lies with the defendant, and that it caused you harm.


For example, after an auto accident, you can gather several types of evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, and contact information. Further evidence may include cell phone photos, video footage, and surveillance camera images.


Keep Copies of Your Medical Records

As the plaintiff in a personal injury claim, you bear the burden of proving the defendant caused your injury by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means more likely than not. Therefore, a court sides with you when you have proven it more likely than not that the defendant caused you the alleged harm.


Medical records are a significant component of proving a personal injury claim. Demonstrating that the accident happened and the defendant caused it is insufficient to win damages. To be eligible for compensation, you must also prove that the accident caused harm and show the economic and non-economic costs of that harm.


Medical records serve to establish the link between the incident and the harm. For example, if you prove the defendant caused an auto accident but have no evidence that the collision harmed you, your case goes nowhere. But with medical records demonstrating the injury you sustained was because of the crash, you have a strong claim for damages.


Medical records are vital to proving both economic and non-economic damages. Without them, you may be unable to demonstrate that the defendant’s actions caused the harm alleged.


Economic damages include the following:


  • Ambulance charges
  • Emergency room bills
  • Medications
  • Surgeries
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Lost business income
  • Lost benefits


Your medical records show that the treatments received stemmed from the injuries caused by the accident. In addition, they demonstrate when and why you were unable to work, providing the documentation necessary to win compensation for lost income.


Non-economic damages include the following:


  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium


As with economic damages, proving non-economic damages requires evidence. Because pinning a dollar figure on non-economic damages is more subjective, the plaintiff’s medical records are all the more important.


For example, it may be difficult for a jury to understand the level of pain and suffering experienced by the plaintiff. Medical records provide a diagnosis with specific symptoms that cause pain and suffering. Furthermore, they provide a testament as to the severity of the injury. Also, they record treatments, such as surgery, that cause substantial discomfort for the victim.


In addition, medical records lend support to claims of a loss of enjoyment of life. For instance, many injuries make it difficult for victims to engage in activities that give their lives meaning, such as family life, hobbies, physical conditioning, and work. The loss of the ability to participate in these activities severely diminishes a person’s life and the enjoyment of it.


Keep a Journal of Your Experience

While medical records shed much light on non-economic damages, they provide only a dry, clinical perspective. They offer vital proof but cannot speak to precisely what the victim experienced. 


For instance, medical records may make it clear that the victim experienced back pain, but exactly how severe that pain is and how it impacted the person are not fully documented in the medical records.


Keeping a journal of your experience provides the documentation needed to show how devastating the pain and disability have been. This augments the medical records and paints the full picture of the injury’s impact. 


Additionally, the journal shows the parts of life missed out on because of the injury. For instance, a personal injury victim may have needed to spend a week in the hospital and months convalescing at home. As a result, he missed important events, such as weddings, family reunions, and graduations. 


These specific intangible losses help build a robust case and humanize the plaintiff. Most people can sympathize with the pain of losing out on these irreplaceable experiences. Therefore, a jury is more likely to award higher non-economic damages.


Also, the journal serves as a vital aid to memory. Personal injury cases often take years to resolve. As time passes, you may forget details, making it impossible to describe them vividly. The journal serves as a reminder of the anguish you experience so that you can describe it compellingly.


Keep Copies of Your Employment Records

Lost income plays a key component in many personal injury settlements. Pennsylvania personal injury law entitles you to reimbursement for any money lost because the harm you suffered precluded you from work. But the court won’t take your word for it. You must have evidence proving your disability and justifying the amount requested in recompense.


Medical records do an adequate job of showing your inability to work. Generally, a doctor diagnoses your condition and determines that it is medically necessary for you not to engage in your everyday employment activities for a certain period—be the disability temporary or permanent.


But how much-lost income have you suffered?


The courts require that you document these losses, so always save your employment records. For instance, if you are an hourly worker, your records show your pay rate, average hours worked per week, and whether you frequently benefitted from overtime pay. They also show fringe benefits. For instance, if you had excellent health insurance for a low cost, lost it with your job, and now must pay higher premiums for less coverage, you have substantial damages from this lost asset.


Documentation is even more critical if you are self-employed or have a variable income. For example, to determine self-employment income accurately, you may need to average several years of income to calculate a monthly amount. In addition, employees who work on commission, such as sales representatives, need to estimate the loss of future commissions. 


For this, they may use an average, but the average may be insufficient to maximize their compensation. For example, a sales representative may have put a lot of effort into obtaining certain accounts and then been unable to earn the commissions he worked for because of the injury. In that case, the more documentation available to establish the loss of future commissions, the better the chances of receiving higher compensation.


Remember Your Eligibility for Future Damages

Though personal injury cases often last several years, the victim may have yet to suffer the full effect of the damages. Additional medical bills may be coming for a chronic condition. Also, a long-term disability means continual loss of income, including increases from promotions, incentive pay, and cost of living adjustments.


Maximizing your injury settlement requires considering all types of future damages and seeking compensation for all of them. 


Avoid Social Media

Social media posts can be used against you in a court of law. So naturally, insurance adjusters and defense counsel revel in combing through the plaintiff's social media accounts, looking for inconsistencies and evidence that your injuries are exaggerated or invented.


Though your injury may be real, the defense could misrepresent your social media posts to make it look like they demonstrate the injury is exaggerated. For example, you may post about a trip you took despite the discomfort of your injury. However, the defense could paint this post as indicating you are fully recovered.


Maximizing your personal injury damages is vital to be made whole after an accident. Your claim is your only chance to receive what is rightfully yours. Unfortunately, once the case ends, you have no further opportunity to collect, leaving you stuck with the loss.


To win the damages you deserve, take the following steps:

  • Seek medical attention right away
  • Gather all relevant evidence
  • Keep copies of your medical records
  • Keep a journal of your experience
  • Keep copies of your employment records
  • Remember your eligibility for future damages
  • Avoid social media 


Mattiacci Law specializes in winning personal injury claims. Our legal team fights to the finish to win our clients every penny they deserve. You need a tough, experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney at your side. For the best representation, contact Mattiacci Law.

Related Content: The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia

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