Accuracy of Description of Facts of Accident and Extent of Injuries and Damages


Juries are more sympathetic when the facts of the accident and the extent of the injuries and damages are well documented and then presented accurately, without exaggeration or embellishment.


The Objectivity of Your Injuries


All things equal, juries award more compensation for objective injuries than subjective injuries.


Overly simplified, objective injuries are those that can be confirmed by diagnostic testing such as x-rays and MRI's that allow the jury to actually see the fracture or other injuries. In such cases, the potential "credibility gap" that can exist and must be bridged between the stated complaints, often referred to as subjective complaints, and the actual injuries is significantly lessened and the jury will be more likely to accept that the injuries exist.


Many accidents involve subjective injuries, even those that are very serious and debilitating. Subjective injuries are those that cannot be shown on a diagnostic test. Examples of subjective injuries are muscle strains and sprains. When an injury victim says to a doctor that his neck hurts, such subjective complaints can be hard to verify with objective evidence because injuries like muscle strains or sprains do not show up on an x-ray or MRI.


With subjective injuries, if the credibility gap is not bridged, jurors may conclude that such injuries are exaggerated because there are no objective findings to support the injury victim's complaints. This can be catastrophic since many injury victims suffer from subjective muscular injuries that can be very severe and life long.


Whether objective or subjective, the injury victim is always in jeopardy that a jury may not accept the existence or severity of his or her injuries and damages.


Your Prescription Medications


Whether your physician prescribes you medications for your injuries can impact the value of your case. Pain medication, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatories provide an indication of pain and suffering by the injury victim. Further indications of the severity of your injuries and your resulting pain and suffering include the type and length of use of the prescription medications. Failure to fill prescriptions recommended by a physician is a negative factor concerning the value of your claim.


Your Permanent Injuries and Disability


All things equal, in cases where the injury victim has suffered permanent injuries, the jury verdicts are larger than those injuries that have dissipated or resolved. Generally, although not without exception, the extent of the medical treatment and length of time it takes to recover from injuries also affects the award. A jury is more likely to award significant compensation where it takes years to physically recover from a neck or back injury than where it takes months.


Many doctors are very conservative when it comes to stating in a medical record or testifying in court that an injury victim has permanent injuries. Making such a prognosis can involve some degree of speculation by a doctor since it is by definition an opinion about the future. The injury victim's testimony that he will suffer the rest of their life is not sufficient. Under Missouri and Kansas law, testimony regarding permanent injury must be provided by a qualified medical expert. Moreover, the doctor's opinion must be based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty in order to be admissible.


Jury awards are generally much more significant when a qualified treating physician testifies that his patient has permanent injuries that he is likely to suffer from for the rest of his life.


The type of injury you have sustained also affects the value of your case.

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.