In cases where an accident victim is seriously injured, it is recommended to take photographs and video of the injuries at the scene of the accident and throughout treatment. While this is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind at the time of an accident or shortly thereafter when the injured party is treating, but photos and video of the injuries can be powerful evidence and support for substantial financial compensation.
Evidentiary Support for Damages Sought in a Personal Injury Case
With all personal injury cases, the injured party is seeking financial compensation for his or her injuries and losses. The value of a Massachusetts personal injury case is determined by a number of different factors. The most common damages are the cost and expenses of medical treatment, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. In order to seek and obtain financial compensation for injuries suffered in an accident that was caused by someone else, the injured party must have support to prove their damages.
In order to seek financial compensation for the cost of medical treatment, the injured person (or their lawyer) will obtain and provide the at-fault party’s insurance company with copies of medical records and medical bills once treatment has concluded to establish the cost and expenses of medical treatment. Likewise, employment documents (such as a wage and salary verification form) and disability notes must be provided to the insurance company to establish the loss of earnings or wages as a result of the injuries suffered in the accident.
So, you may be thinking: So, why do I need pictures or video of my injuries? To support and establish the accident victim’s pain and suffering.
Pictures and Video of the Injuries and Treatment Can Be Powerful Evidence of Pain and Suffering
In a personal injury case, the accident victim is entitled to receive financial compensation for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the accident. This is true for personal injury claims, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall cases and dog bite cases. Most times, during the first meeting, our clients ask us what their pain and suffering is worth. It is a great question, but hard to answer, especially soon after the accident. There is no mathematical formula to use to calculate what someone’s pain and suffering is worth.
Compensation for pain and suffering is different for each case. The value of pain and suffering for accident victims with serious injuries, such as broken bones, severe back and neck injuries and torn ligaments, that require surgery, will be higher than that of someone with soft tissue injuries. But, in order to maximize the amount of compensation for pain and suffering, it is recommended that pictures and videos be taken of the injuries and treatment. This is to document the visual aspect of the injuries and the pain experienced from the injuries.
In personal injury cases, an insurance company takes into consideration what a jury might award for damages an accident victim suffered. If there are no pictures of an injury or video of how the injuries affected the accident victim’s life, we must rely on the injured party’s recollection and explanation of the injury and suffering. With pictures and video, however, the insurance company, jurors and others can see for themselves what the injuries looked like and how the injuries and treatment impacted the injured party.
For example: We represented a young man, who was seriously injured in truck accident in Framingham, Massachusetts. He was struck head-on by a tractor trailer and sustained a severely fractured ankle and a serious back injury. He had surgery on his ankle and underwent months of physical therapy and cortisone injections in his back. This client was great at documenting his injuries. He took pictures of his ankle at the emergency room on the day of the accident, which showed how swollen and deformed it was. He had his family take pictures of him in the hospital bed after the surgery and also of his ankle once the doctors took the dressings off. His family also took videos of him leaving the hospital in a wheel chair and of him moving around on crutches. This established how difficult it was for this man to get around and how painful the injury was. While the pictures were rather gruesome, they were powerful evidence that allowed our office to negotiate a significant settlement, which included a substantial amount for the pain and suffering.
Without pictures or video, everyone must rely on the injured party’s explanation of how the injury caused him or her pain suffering. Pictures and video will let people (insurance adjusters and possibly jurors) see for themselves what the injuries looked like and how it affected the injured party. Most people will put themselves in the injured person’s shoes when seeing the pictures and can get a complete understanding of how serious the injuries and suffering were.
We Are Here To Help
If you, or someone you know, is injured in a motor vehicle accident, feel free to contact us with any questions or to find out what your legal rights are. To schedule a free appointment and case evaluation call us at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online. We are happy to help and answer your questions.