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How important is documentation in a personal injury case?

In any legal matter, documentation is crucial. Even seemingly unimportant information at the time can be the difference between a judgment being granted or denied. As a general rule, everything that happens after an accident should be recorded as best as possible through notes, photographs and other applicable methods. This is important even if the injury appears to be minor at first. When an accident occurs, the body's adrenaline kicks in, and that can block pain receptors and lead victims to believe they are fine when they really aren't.

Any time there is an accident where someone is injured, a report of the accident and injury should be filed immediately. For a motor vehicle accident, this means that the police should be called and the insurance companies notified — even if it appears to be minor. If it becomes apparent that the accident caused an injury several days or even a few weeks afterward and there is no accident report, it can be more difficult to prove that the other person was liable.

In addition to a police report or a medical evaluation if the person was injured or was seen by medical personnel as a precaution, documentation should be kept for all accident-related dealings from the event forward. This can include keeping notes about any phone calls or in-person discussions, making sure to log whom was talked to, when, why and what the conversation was about. It can be helpful to keep a running file with the contact information for everyone involved, including witnesses, to ensure they can be easily reached for follow ups.

While documentation can be extremely helpful in personal injury lawsuits, it is also understandable that victims are shaken up, possibly injured and unsure of what to do immediately following an accident. In Florida, cases can be successfully pursued with less than ideal documentation, and a personal injury lawyer can help you determine what your options are.

Source: FindLaw, "First Steps in Personal Injury Claim" Aug. 25, 2014

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