Following a car accident in Florida, an injured victim will likely want to know how they can financially recover for the costs of their injuries. Costs can include not only medical expenses but also other economic losses including lost income, as well as non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent disability or disfigurement. If the claim is being covered by the victim’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy, only economic damages are available. If the victim sustained serious and life-changing injuries, they may be able to pursue additional non-economic damages by filing a personal claim in civil court against any negligent parties that caused the accident. However, victims must have sufficient proof that their injuries were truly severe enough to qualify to pursue a claim outside the no-fault system.
Furthermore, whether a claim is under no-fault insurance or in civil court, neither the insurance company nor the court will simply take the victim’s word when it comes to the injuries they claim. All parties are trying to limit liability whenever it is possible, therefore, they can–and often do–try to challenge injury claims by alleging some or all of the following:
- That the injuries were not as severe as claimed;
- That an injury was preexisting or was not caused by the car accident in question;
- That not all received medical treatments were necessary for the injuries; or
- That the injury did not require missing work for the time actually missed.
For these reasons, it is generally necessary for an accident victim to provide substantial proof of the injuries in their claim.
Evidence Used To Prove Injuries
There are many different types of evidence that can be used to prove personal injuries from a car accident, including but not limited to:
Medical records — Medical records are some of the most important evidence pieces of evidence to prove injuries. Medical records will demonstrate the official diagnosis of an injury, the basis for the diagnosis, as well as the apparent cause of the injury. In addition, these records will show the recommended courses of treatment for the injury, which can justify medical costs that may be questioned. Because these records are so important to a case, it is imperative for accident victims to seek medical attention as soon as they can after a collision.
Medical experts — There may be cases in which the diagnosis or recommendations of a particular medical professional may be called into question. In these cases, another medical professional can serve as an expert witness and testify to the accuracy of the diagnosis and the appropriateness of the treatment received.
Journals, “day in the life” videos, and other types of evidence — In cases involving non-economic damages, a victim’s level of pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other effects on their life may be scrutinized. These effects of injuries are difficult to quantify and, for this reason, different types of evidence may be used depending on the specific details of a particular case. For example, some injury victims keep journals of their pain levels and their emotional condition to better show the effects of the injury. Other victims have been known to present video portraying a “day in the life,” so as to give a concrete look at how the injury affects them on a daily basis. Some victims are even using technological evidence, such as readings from Fitbits or other activity trackers, to show that they are not able to be as active as a healthy person of their age and activity level.
The types of evidence needed to prove any given injury will need to be decided on a case-by-case basis. An experienced car accident attorney will understand how to sufficiently prove injuries to ensure a victim receives the maximum compensation that they deserve.