In Personal Injury Cases, a Photo Can Say 1,000 Words

Photographs can be a very important part of any type of personal injury case. While often, even if available, they may not be needed. However, in other cases, they could be essential. The most important reality is that we have them. We need as many photographs, from as many angles as we can get. Photographs are important of both the scene and the injuries. Never ignore the potential value of photographs, because when you least expect them to be needed, they are.

Recently, attorneys Dell and Schaefer were attempting to resolve a rather “common” automobile accident case. The accident had occurred in Palm Beach County, Florida, in the city of Boynton Beach. The defendant driver in the accident rear ended our 81 – year – old female client at a traffic light. The actual property damage to her vehicle was relatively minor with the cost of repairs under $2,000.00.

The personal injury to our client was a somewhat typical neck and back sprain. The injuries were diagnosed and treated by a chiropractor. As treatment went on, the initial physician referred our client to an orthopedist for consultation. The orthopedic evaluation reached a similar conclusion to the chiropractor. Our client had sustained a 5-6% permanent partial impairment rating. Again, that is a rather “common” type of automobile accident case in the State of Florida.

A demand letter was prepared and sent to the insurance company for the at fault party. The policy limits on this liability policy was $25,000.00. This was the amount that was demanded to settle the claim. A response from the insurance company offered $6,000.00 to settle the claim. Again, a rather “common” demand and insurance company offer to settle scenario.

In the file were several photographs that were never sent to the insurance company with the original demand package. The reason they were not sent was because of privacy. The photographs were taken shortly after the accident and were of our client horribly bruised torso, including her breasts. Dell and Schaefer were trying to be sensitive to our client’s privacy, while doing the best we could monetarily on her case. Legally, we didn’t feel they had great value because injuries in an automobile accident case need to be permanent for them useful in assessing damages. However, with the offer being so ordinary and with the client’s consent, we decided it was best to send the photographs and see if we could do better for the client financially.

Although the injuries depicted in the photographs were entirely resolved by the time our clients case went into the demand stage, the impact of the photographs taken at the early injury stage was enormous. The insurance company, upon receipt of the photographs, agreed to pay the entire policy limit of $25,000.00.

The old adage — a photograph says 1,000 words — could not be more true.

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