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What To Do About Auto Accident Injuries That Appear Years Later

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The biggest reason why personal injury lawyers tell people to get medical documentation of your injuries right away is because your injuries may be compounded later. Some injuries may not show up until years later, and without that medical documentation, it may be harder to prove your case. If you were in a car accident a few years back, and you are just now showing signs of major injury, here is what you can, and should, do.

The Nature and Location of the Injuries

First and foremost, know the nature and location of the injuries. Old head traumas, injuries to the discs and vertebrae in your back, and signs of fractures that fixed themselves should all be documented. If these injuries can be matched with events in your car accident, then it gives probable cause for the judge to believe that your old injuries are related to your accident.

Verification That You Have Experienced No Recent Accidents

The other driver's lawyer will attempt to contest your claims that other accidents caused the injuries you have. If your driving record and work record are free of accidents, you have a better chance of fighting this case and winning it. Other accidents at work, long-term wear and tear from the work you do, and any other accidents on file can be linked to your injuries, thus ruling out the one accident you think is the cause. Provide your lawyer with documentation that shows that you have not suffered any other accidents. Also provide a professional medical doctor's statement and/or testimony regarding these old injuries.

Finding Witnesses

Depending on whether it is a couple years after the accident or a decade or two, you may not be able to find witnesses. In fact, witnesses in these instances are not really a good idea anyway, since it is human nature to forget a lot of details just a month afterward an event. Those that do think they can remember might remember things in a very different way, and that is no benefit to you either. Contact an auto accident attorney, and if they think witnesses could help, see if you can track them down.

Get the Police Reports

Not surprisingly, the police reports on an accident are still valid in court, regardless of how old a case is. Yours may have been archived if the reports are older than seven to ten years. You may have to pay the police to dig up copies of these reports from their archives, but at least you would have those for your case.

Show Disability

If you are able to link a disability to the accident, show that you are on disability because of one or more injuries received from the car accident. This lends even more credence to your claim. It also shows that you are seeking compensation for lost wages as a direct result of your injuries from years before.

Be Ready to Lose

Delayed pursuit of an accident injury case frequently means that you may lose your case. It often becomes a gray legal area for most clients and judges, but your lawyer will do what he/she can for your case. In the meantime, you need to accept the possibility of not receiving anything or having to appeal your case and pursue it to the "nth" degree.

If you do win, you can only sue for your medical bills going forward. Most compensation awards are not retroactive in these cases. Otherwise, everyone would attempt to sue someone else to get compensation for something that happened a very long time ago. It helps to keep track of your current expenses as they relate to your injuries.