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Understanding residual injuries and long-term injuries

If one sustains an injury in any sort of accident and someone else is at fault, a demand letter for injury compensation should be sent to the other party’s insurance company. A demand letter will command far greater attention when it comes from an attorney for the victim of the accident. Such letters, however, should not be sent until the injured party has reached the point of maximum medical improvement. This is the stage when a doctor believes the patient has achieved the maximum expected recovery, and that further medical intervention or assistance will not result in any additional improvement.
Although some patients are fortunate enough to completely recover, as though the accident never happened, others are not so lucky. These individuals may still experience limited mobility, stiffness, pain, and other forms of impairment after reaching maximum medical improvement. To make things worse, these physical impairments may not improve with further treatment or time. These new injuries may remain a permanent obstacle in the patient’s life. He or she may not be able to continue certain recreational activities, return to a previous job, and more. Also known as residual injuries, long-term injuries are considered one of the largest elements of compensable harm. It is the same category as damages physical and emotional suffering, lost wages, and medical bills incurred after an accident.
Common Types of Residual Injuries
Residual injuries can significantly increase one’s awards for his or her personal injury damages. Here is a quick look at the most common long-term injuries:

  • Joint and back injuries
    Injuries involving one’s cartilage and ligament; joint dislocations; and the displacement or narrowing of a vertebra can have a residual effect. Although the pain from those injuries may subside or stabilize, there is a medical likelihood that mobility issues, discomfort, and pain may persist or reoccur as one ages.
  • Disfigurement and scars
    Scars are another common residual injury. They may form from medical repairs or the original injury. Oftentimes, large and visible scarring on the face and neck can mean significant damages. This happens because the scars may create cosmetic embarrassment that causes a patient to avoid going out in public. Before negotiating with insurance companies, a medical opinion regarding the feasibility and cost of improving the scar is necessary. It is important to include future medical treatment costs as part of the demand for compensation.

When Can You File a Lawsuit?
Long-term injuries are critically important in certain kinds of injury claims. For example, an automobile policy with a standard Limitation on Lawsuit clause only allows damages if the injuries sustained in an automobile accident fall into one of the following categories:

  • Statute-defined permanent injuries
  • Losing a fetus
  • Displaced fractures
  • Serious scarring or disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • Death

Lawsuits for serious permanent injuries can also be filed for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical negligence, construction site accidents, truck accidents and accidents at work.
Always Document Your Residual Injuries
If an individual suffers from residual injuries, he or she is entitled to higher compensation. That’s why it is important to make sure you tell your doctor all of your complaints and problems on each and every visit. If you have any current complains or problems, when the doctor asks how you are doing, never just say, “no change from last week. Instead, list all of your problems and complaints since your last visit to the doctor. This way, you will have documented support for your claim.
The attorneys at Team Law will work with you to gather your medical information for substantiation of your personal injury claim, whether it be from a car accident, a motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, dog bite or slip and fall accident.

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