When you or a loved one have sustained a bodily injury because of a person or business's negligence, you may want to file a personal injury claim against their insurance company. You can recover expenses for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering due to negligence.
There are also personal injury and abuse claims for residents living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities —when negligence, neglect, or abuse on their premises causes harm to a patient or resident.
Filing a personal injury claim is necessary, depending on the circumstances. It's critical to have all the appropriate documents to ensure favorable outcomes.
Injuries and Abuse are Common
More than 700,000 personal injury claims are filed annually in the United States alone. The National Association of Nursing Home Attorney's report that 36% of nursing home residents witnessed at least one physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year. An estimated 5 million elders are abused yearly, and about one in ten Americans over age 60 have expressed abuse.
Before you can begin a case, you need to ensure all the necessary documentation is in place to make your claim. Accuracy and verification play a significant role in how well your claim will achieve the outcome you wish.
You must have several discussions with your legal representation, but to start on the right track, here is a list of must-have documents for a personal injury claim that will help you.
The official reports can be comprised of several documents related to the accident or injury, and one of the most important documents is a police report.
Many states will request a valid police report within a specific timeframe for the casework to begin. Another piece of documentation that may help you is the private investigation reports, should there be one.
Photo and Video Documentation
Outcomes are more favorable when there's enough evidence to support your claim. To capture the full scope of the injury's conditions, it's best to take photos and provide video evidence immediately following the incident.
Photos and videos serve as superior pieces of evidence, in addition to helping an insurance company come to a favorable conclusion.
Take plenty of photos of the injuries as well to showcase just how damaging the accident has affected your health and well-being. This photo or video documentation includes cuts, bruises, torn or bloody clothing, and swelling.
If you reside in a long-term care or senior community, reach out to the property management team, as they may also have video surveillance of the incident that can act as evidence.
Statements and Medical Reports
A witness to an incident can make or break your case. If someone is nearby at the time of injury, request that they stick around to provide a statement. If you're unable to receive a witness's statement, continue monitoring and tracking the events and writing everything down to introduce later.
If you seek medical treatment immediately following the injury, compile these reports and medical statements with your claim. Ensure that immediate care and any post-care is given to your legal representation so that they can keep an accurate paper trail of the events of the injury.
These must-have documents for a personal injury claim can contribute to the overall success of your case when presented in a court of law. In many cases, families will help gather information.
Elderly Especially Vulnerable
Older people are especially vulnerable to many forms of abuse and injury. Nursing home residents with cognitive or physical difficulties, such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, substantial mobility issues, and social isolation, make patients more vulnerable to abuse. Overmedication and improper distribution of medication also increase an elder's risk of being abused.
Problems in long-term care facilities are often due to staffing issues. Many Medicaid facilities are understaffed, and the staff is often underpaid due to poor government reimbursement.
However, even quality private pay facilities are paying staffing issues and suffer from limited resources, resulting in neglect, injuries, and abuse.
Ombudsman programs work to resolve issues related to the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals who live in long-term health care facilities. Find an area office by clicking here.
Remember, accidents happen that often could have been avoided but were not intentional. No matter where your injury may have occurred, seeking fair compensation for someone else's neglect is vital to you and your family.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
Abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities is a national problem. While it can happen anywhere, you find more examples of abuse in Medicaid facilities where resources are minimal and staffing is underpaid.
There is no excuse for abuse anywhere; however, you can help limit the risk by either getting quality in-home care or by using quality long-term care facilities.
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