Scott Kappes has a very good post on his blog reminding victims of Hurricane Ike to take pictures of all of their possessions for their insurance claims. That’s great advice, and it applies equally to almost every personal injury claim I’ve been involved in.
In many cases, we’re not hired until weeks or months after the incident occurred. In that situation, injuries fade or heal. While medical records can help fill in the story of what the client is going through, pictures can bring those injuries to life. It’s one thing to read that a client hurt both knees — it’s another to see the client trying to cope while wearing two leg braces. And like it or not, simple things such as bruising drive the settlement factors of many of the insurance companies’ computer programs so pictures of bruises, which emergency room personnel often don’t note, can be critical.
But don’t just get photos of the injuries. Get photos of the incident. If it’s a car wreck claim, get photos of the damage to the cars, the location of the cars after the impact, where the debris was in the street, and get photos of the emergency personnel on the scene to convey the serious nature of the wreck. If it’s a slip and fall case, get photos of the dangerous condition and photos of any changes they made after the fall. If it’s a products liability case, get photos of the product.
If you don’t take these photos at the time of the injury or incident then you never get a second chance. And in this day and age of digital cameras and camera phones, it is easy to take multiple pictures so take as many pictures as you can. It’s much better to have too many photos than too few.
Clients like to take a role in their cases, and there are few things clients can do as important as documenting their claims.