Bringing a Personal Injury Claim: What am I really in for?



Bringing a personal injury claim is a choice. When making this choice to sue for your injuries, you should be aware of some of the realities at play that many clients tend to be unaware of until well into the process.

Bringing an injury claim for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, can get very personal. There may be nothing more uncomfortable than sitting in a room being probed by another lawyer about the details of your injury and how it impacts on the many aspects of your life such as your marriage, sex life, social life, work life etc. However, if you are putting your life at issue as a result of an injury, then you must accept that certain privacy aspects of your life must be examined and tested in order to have your case dealt with as the legal system permits.  

How would an insurance company know what amount of money to offer you without first learning the evidence, knowledge and information that you as the claimant would possess? The insurance companies have every right to examine the claimant in order to discover the facts about your case and how your life has been affected by the injuries you say you suffer.  In addition, as a claimant, it is YOUR obligation to prove your case. This is done in part through undertakings to provide certain information to the insurer for their review, which may include employment information, contact information of former bosses or other individuals and income tax returns.

If you for example claim that your injuries caused a breakdown in your marriage, you may be questioned about your marriage life as it was before and after the injury suffered. This may necessitate divulging contact information of current or former lovers and details about the reasons behind the breakdown of your marriage or past relationships.  This may reveal details about arguments you had, fights, infidelity and other private matters you would otherwise not typically want to discuss.

Your pre and post accident health may also be examined and the clinical notes and records of your family doctor and any relevant specialists are typically provided to the insurance companies for their review. In addition, your prescription summary from pharmacies listing all the prescription medication you have consumed are also commonly reviewed by the insurance companies.

If you are a user of social media, be prepared to be questioned or even asked to provide access to your facebook profile to the insurance company including facebook photo albums and wall postings. You may even be prohibited from deleting anything on your facebook page until the case is concluded, which could take years in some instances.

Another common method used by insurance companies to obtain evidence (as discussed previously on my blog) is the use of surveillance. This is something you should also be aware of because if you claim limitations in your ability to engage in certain activities, insurers may be interested  in verifying this, even if it means hiding in the bushes across the street to get the footage they need.

The above information is a snippet of some areas that may be asked of you in your injury case. All information requested from you and provided by you must be subject to relevance and of course your lawyer should be present during the discovery proceedings to ensure that you are only asked for and provide what is relevant.  That being said, what you may consider private and personal may be seen as relevant under the eyes of the law.

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