A personal injury lawsuit is just that—personal. As the victim, otherwise known as the plaintiff, you might be asked to present a lot of personal information when your attorney is putting together your claim. That could include W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns, insurance policies, benefits, medical records, driver’s license number, or even your social security number. But is all that really necessary? Let’s discuss what information is essential when filing a personal injury lawsuit and what you need to know regarding your privacy rights and options.
Understanding Your Privacy Rights When Filing a Lawsuit
When you’re going into a personal injury case, it’s important to know what you can and can’t keep private. Here are some things to think about:
- Paystubs. Your financial information is only needed if you’re claiming lost wages or lowered earning capacity from the injury.
- Medical records. If you sign a release to your medical records, it should only be for those related to your injury. Never sign a release to your complete medical history.
- Social media. While your social media pages might seem private to you, they aren’t. Anything posted on your Facebook—or any other social media platform—could be used against you in your case.
- Cooperation. Your claim in the state of West Virginia hinges on your cooperation with the police even before a report is made. You must comply with police officers from the moment that the injury occurs in order to file a claim.
Why Keeping Information Private Doesn’t Help Your Case
Although you might want to keep your privacy in a personal injury case, it could actually hurt you to withhold personal information. To establish your credibility, you’ll want to provide as much information as possible that is pertinent to the case. Keeping any information private could end up undermining your case.
Your medical bills and medical records are the most important. You need to present your proof of injury and bills because there must be a personal injury and an economic loss to be eligible for a personal injury claim according to the state of West Virginia. You’ll also want to present receipts from any other costs incurred from the injury. For example, a gas receipt from driving back and forth to medical appointments would be a key piece of evidence for your case. The more proof you have, the more likely you are to be compensated.
If you end up going through the litigation process, the defendant’s attorney may request your personal documents and ask difficult questions to make sure your claims are valid. This process can feel like an invasion of privacy, but you’ll want to comply so there’s no chance that you’ll come off as suspicious. It’s important to always keep your composure and not let the tough questions get to you. Before proceeding to trial, you’ll want to practice with your personal injury lawyer so that you know what to expect from the defense.
When you work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, they will work with you to make sure your privacy rights are respected and that you’re prepared for any issue of privacy that may come up during the process of settling your claim. If you have any questions or would like to find out your legal options, don’t hesitate to get in touch with DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress today.