Documentation can make or break your case. Even though you may not able to work while you recover from your injuries, you may find that you are devoting a significant portion of your time to ensuring that the proper documentation is in place for your claim. The success of your action depends on how well your physicians (and you) keep an accurate record of your injuries and your recovery process. A good rule of thumb to remember when gathering information for your case is “if it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen!”
3 Tips for Documenting Your Losses
One of the most important aspects of your documentation comes from your physician. It is crucial that your doctor thoroughly record the length of your total and partial disability, and list your physical restrictions during specific time frames.
Even if you received vacation or disability pay during this time, you are still eligible for reimbursement through your settlement. During your period of total disability, you can claim 100% of your expected gross (not net) earnings and up to 50% during your period of partial disability.
In addition, you will need to obtain detailed information about your job description including the physical and mental requirements necessary to fulfill your work duties. This should include very specific information about any lifting requirements (listed by pounds required), and time required in a sitting or standing position, and any repetitive movements, such as twisting the body to operate a machine press or typing.
You should also include any tasks that require you to be 100% mentally alert, as pain medication and other prescription drugs may interfere with your ability to concentrate and make important decisions during working hours.
It is completely allowable to claim the number of potential wages lost during your recovery period, as long as you have the documentation to back up your claims. Include a calendar of missed business meetings, rescheduled meetings with potential and returning clients, overtime hours lost, and vacation and sick pay you used to supplement your income while you were off work due to your injuries.
Include previous work schedules, meeting minutes, letters from clients, and pay stubs to back up your claims and include testimonies of supervisors, physicians, and therapists to help support your case. You can also claim an additional loss of income if you missed an opportunity to interview for a better paying job during your recovery period and if your injuries will permanently impact your ability to earn a wage in the future. Any lost or potential commissions that you missed out on during your recovery are also fair game in the settlement process.
Documenting your case is one of the most critical aspects of your personal injury claim and should receive a great deal of time and attention. A qualified attorney can help you sort through the confusion and obtain the required documentation. However, if you are representing yourself in your case, the burden of proof falls squarely upon you. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of legal counsel at any time. Be sure you protect your rights under the law.
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