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Recording important medical evidence in low value Personal Injury Claims during the Coronavirus Pandemic

If you suffer an injury that wasn’t your fault you may be considering making a personal injury claim and depending on the severity of the injury, you may choose to contact your GP or opt to go to hospital on your own. During the pandemic, many GP surgeries have been limiting in-person appointments and certain outpatient hospital appointments are being either postponed where possible or conducted remotely.

If you suffer from an accident and instruct solicitors to deal with your claim, they will require the following information:

  1. The exact date that your accident took place;
  2. The date you first sought medical assistance;
  3. Details of how your injury was treated; and
  4. What steps your medical practitioner is taking to treat your injury.

This is often not a problem where the injury is so serious that immediate medical attention is required and often at hospital. However for injuries that are less severe, such as a minor fracture and/or a sprain, some people have chosen not to seek immediate medical assistance. This is either because they cannot go to the GP or they are hesitant to call an ambulance and go to hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19. Similarly, where people would have previously gone to see their GP, some people are now dealing with their injuries themselves. So why is this a problem?

Proving a personal injury claim

When your legal team prepare a claim, you are of course required to prove your claim and prove the extent of your injuries. What is more, you have to show that you took steps to mitigate your losses by seeking medical assistance at the earliest opportunity possible. If you have not, then the opposing party could argue that it cannot be held entirely responsible for your injuries and compensate you in full as you did not act reasonably to seek treatment at the earliest opportunity possible and this could have exacerbated your injuries.

So what can you do to ensure that you are not prejudicing your own claim? Here are our top tips:

  1. If you cannot go to hospital, call your GP surgery straight after your accident, explain what has happened and request an in-person appointment or a video call / telephone call appointment at the earliest date available;
  2. Keep a diary and make a note of every step you have taken after your accident. This information will prove invaluable to your legal team; and
  3. Keep your medical practitioner updated as to your injury – just because you think it is bearable does not mean it should be considered so. Updating your medical practitioner and making sure it is properly reviewed means that there is a full record of the treatment of your injury from when it first arose to when it eventually healed.

If you have any further questions, contact our Personal Injury team on 0808 252 5231 for a free confidential discussion.