If I filed a personal injury claim and my injuries became more severe, do I have to change my case?
If a claimant has already filed a personal injury claim and the injuries become more severe, it may necessitate a change to the case. It’s important to notify legal counsel as soon as possible when this occurs.
What is the impact on a case when injuries become more severe?
When an accident victim files a personal injury claim, it’s based upon the damages the victim has suffered. Generally this includes expenses incurred from property damage and medical bills. It may also address losses such as income during recovery. But more compensation may be in order to properly care for injuries that have worsened.
Even with the best treatment, sometimes an injury doesn’t get better. In fact, it may get progressively worse to a point where the individual is disabled or the injuries are life-threatening. This will lead to additional medical expenses that probably weren’t planned.
It’s important to address these additional damages. But just as critical is looking further ahead to include any potential future treatments that may be required. Will the injuries necessitate additional surgery? Is it going to become necessary to purchase a wheelchair and make changes to a residence to accommodate it?
Another issue that can arise when injuries become more severe is that they may force the victim to remain at home, not working. An injury claim might have only addressed a few weeks of missed time. But if the person’s condition worsens, the accident victim could now be facing several months of missed work time.
In some cases, it may be that the injury progression prevents the individual from ever returning to work. At the least, the victim may be barred from keeping the same type of employment (a construction worker, for instance) in which case the victim may have to find a lower paying job. Claimants must account for this loss of earnings in the claim.
A longer recovery timeframe could also impact the case. If the injuries became more severe, it could require long-term rehabilitation or physical therapy. There may be emotional injuries that now have to be addressed, such as anxiety or depression.
If the person is going to be in pain longer, damages could address this. Usually the umbrella terms ‘pain and suffering’ and ‘mental anguish’ address this. Injuries that are permanently disabling or disfiguring could also allow for recovery of damages based on reduced enjoyment of life. These and other factors may warrant seeking additional compensation.
Importance of Talking to an Attorney When Injuries Have Worsened
If the insurance company has already been notified of the damages sought, claiming additional injuries or worsened injuries can create challenges. Insurance adjusters may fight an increase and try to dismiss any claims that the injuries have worsened. Because of this, it’s in the claimant’s best interest to seek legal counsel.
It will be necessary to prove the change in injury status or severity. Having ample evidence is going to make a significant difference in the strength of the case. This may include new X-ray results, notations from the doctor, or anything else in the medical records that explain how the patient’s injuries have become more severe.
For legal assistance in and around Arvada, contact D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 to schedule an appointment to talk about your claim.