How Do I Prove That My Car Accident Injury is Permanent?Published: Jun 22, 2021 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
In most cases, car accident injuries can be treated. However, some accident victims end up with permanent injuries. For people who have to deal with the reality of a permanent injury, getting fair compensation is important. In order to prove a permanent injury, a victim must understand what criteria must be met.
In legal terms, a permanent injury is a physical or mental injury that will not heal. The victim of the injury is said to have reached a point of maximum medical improvement (MMI). This means that the victim cannot expect to get better, even if they undergo additional surgeries, take more medications, or engage in physical or occupational therapy.
It is important that the threshold of MMI is met for a victim to recover appropriate economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that can be quantified easily, such as current and expected medical bills. On the other hand, non-economic damages are harder to quantify. For instance, non-economic damages could refer to psychological pain and suffering, loss of future wages based on the age and occupation of the victim, or the loss of consortium with a partner.
In order to prove that an injury is permanent, a victim may be asked to produce a number of key pieces of evidence. Some important forms of evidence are listed below.
During every medical appointment, a victim will be evaluated and perhaps treated by medical professionals. It is up to those medical professionals to document what happened during the visit accurately and completely. These records can help prove that the accident directly led to the permanent injury. A doctor will also be able to determine if the injury is temporary or permanent.
In many cases, a car accident victim with a permanent injury can no longer perform the same work that they did before the crash. A letter from the victim’s employer can outline any work they missed. It can also describe why their permanent injury makes them unable to continue working in their same position.
Doctor’s Impairment Rating
Doctors can use information from the American Medical Association (AMA) to evaluate the severity of a victim’s permanent impairment. The rating will be given in a percentage format, and it helps the court quantify the severity of the injury.
In some cases, a victim may be asked to undergo examinations by independent medical examiners or to present expert testimony. A lawyer can help the injured victim navigate these steps.
What are Common Permanent Injuries?
Any car accident injury can end up being permanent to some extent. However, some injuries are more likely to lead to permanent disability than others. These include:
- Disfigurement: Any time a part of the body is scarred beyond repair, the result is permanent disfigurement.
- Spinal Cord and Neck Injuries: A severed spinal cord can cause partial or complete paralysis. Even without paralysis, a victim with a spinal cord or neck injury may wind up with a lifetime of intense pain.
- Organ Damage: Organs may be damaged during a serious car crash. This can mean that the victim may need the assistance of a medical device to continue living.
- Amputation: Whether a victim’s limb is amputated during a crash or needs to be amputated afterwards, the result can be devastating.
A permanent injury is unique to the victim and the incident. Sometimes, a victim with a pre-existing condition may end up experiencing a permanent injury because the pre-existing condition was aggravated by the crash. Consequently, it is essential to remember that almost any injury can wind up being permanent.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
All victims who have been hurt should take certain measures after a car accident to improve their chance of receiving proper compensation, especially if they end up being permanently injured. The first is to seek medical attention right away. Even victims who feel that they have not been hurt seriously need to see a doctor soon after the crash. Many injuries do not present themselves until later.
A victim should be careful about making any blanket statements about their well-being to the other driver, to first responders, or to insurance adjusters. Saying that an injury is minor or that one does not feel hurt can backfire later.
Another important step to do after a crash is to attend all medical appointments. Additionally, a victim may want to avoid going back to work too soon after the crash. Many people get bored staying at home and think that going back to the job too soon will help them feel more normal and engaged. However, going back to a strenuous work schedule can suggest that the injury is not severe. It may also further aggravate the injury.
Why Should I Speak to a Lawyer About My Permanent Injury?
Many victims are surprised by how hostile insurance companies can be when it comes to offering settlement amounts. In fact, this is why many victims with a permanent injury turn to a lawyer for assistance and advice.
A victim may want to speak with a car accident lawyer soon after the incident and while they are still in treatment. A lawyer can provide the victim with legal suggestions for moving forward.
Illinois Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Represent Crash Victims Who Have Been Permanently Injured
Suffering a permanent injury after a car accident can be emotionally and physically devastating. Call the Illinois car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC to learn more about your legal options if you have a permanent car accident injury. Call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Swansea, Illinois, and we serve clients throughout St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.