Information is the key to the success of your personal injury claim, but what information is helpful to your lawyer?
In order to successfully claim damages for your personal injury through Common Law in Queensland you are generally required to:
prove that the injury resulted from the negligence of another party
prove that you have suffered a quantifiable loss which is attributable to the actions of the other party
Common Law damages are designed to compensate you for the effects of your injury on your life such as your pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, income loss (including the future), out of pocket expenses incurred because of your injury, future expenses that may be incurred in treating your injury, etc.
The information which will be helpful to your lawyer in proving that the other party was negligent (i.e. at fault) will include the following details:
how and why the incident occurred
witnesses to corroborate your version of events (eg. statements)
a diagram of the incident
photographs of the incident or equipment/plant involved in the incident
video footage of the incident (eg CCTV)
reports relating to the incident (eg Report of Injury form, Police Report, Investigation Report, etc)
Assessing your damages
To assist your lawyer in assessing your “loss” suffered because of your injury, you should tell or provide to your lawyer the following information, where applicable:
photographs of your injury, if visible
tax returns, payslips, group certificates to prove your income (prior to the accident and after)
If self-employed, business financial statements, profit and loss statements, partnership tax returns, invoices/expenses journals, wage books if new staff hired to take on your job, documents confirming loss of business contracts due to your injury, etc.
Sick leave and annual leave print-outs showing time taken off work after the accident
Non-standard employment benefits, such as locality allowance, housing subsidy, remote living allowances, etc.
Payslips, group certificates of co-workers to compare their earnings in similar positions you would have held but for your injury such as promotional opportunities
Resume showing your prior work history
Job seeking records, such as job applications, email acknowledgements from job agencies or prospective employers, letters/emails of rejections, etc)
Receipts/printouts of medical consultation fees (GP, Specialist, Physiotherapist, Psychologist etc)
Receipts/print-outs for medication (prescription and non-prescription)
Receipts for travel expenses to attend medical appointments
Receipts/print-outs for aids and appliances (eg walking stick, hire fees for crutches/wheelchair, brace, jar opener, etc).
Receipts/print-outs for domestic or nursing services provided for your benefit that you otherwise would not have incurred if you had not suffered your injury (eg lawn mowing/gardening, house cleaner, paid carer).
Details of any unpaid/voluntary domestic or nursing care provided by friends or family members that you otherwise performed immediately prior to your injury (eg showering/dressing, meal preparation, driving, laundry, mopping/sweeping/vacuuming, dishwashing, mowing lawn, general tidying, etc)
whether there are any pre-existing or co-existing medical conditions which either relate to the injuries sustained in the accident or contribute to your current incapacity to work
Names and contact details of co-workers who might be able to support your ongoing difficulties in the workplace due to your injury
Your lawyer will usually ask you for information at various stages throughout the course of your personal injury claim, but it is important that you keep any relevant documentation to prove those losses.
What you must tell your lawyer
You must tell your lawyer about any of the following changes as soon as they occur:
any aggravations of the accident-related injuries or new injuries sustained (whether to the same area of the body or otherwise) and also any significant illnesses diagnosed (eg cancer, arthritis, nervous disorder, psychological condition, etc).
change of your address or contact details
change of job (including promotion) or change of employer
any significant treatment of your injury (eg proposed surgery or specialist review)
If you are unsure about what information will be relevant to your claim you should talk to your lawyer.