If you have chosen to initiate the claim for the injuries suffered in a traffic accident by criminal means, it should be known that the objective assessment of them will be made by the Forensic Doctor assigned to the Investigating Court that hears the case. After consultation with the Forensic Doctor , he will issue what is known as a Forensic Health Report.
The Medical Examiner is a medical expert in personal injury assessment who works for the Public Administration. When we file a Complaint for injuries suffered in a traffic accident, the objective assessment of those injuries is carried out by the Forensic Doctor, in accordance with the Legal Scale of traffic injuries. The Health Report will contemplate the objective assessment of the injuries of the injured, according to the Traffic Legal Scale updated each year. The Scale contains all those injuries that may occur in a traffic accident and regulates their assessment by means of a score, which in many cases is a non-closed scoring range, precisely so that it is the Forensic Doctor who objectively sets that score in depending on the severity of the injuries that the injured person presents. Once this Forensic Health Report is issued, the Traffic Scale specifies the economic amount that corresponds to each of the sections that the Report may contain.
Let’s see block by block, the parts that a Forensic Health Report can contain depending on the injuries that the injured person presents:
- Hospital days: are those days in which the injured person has spent the night in the hospital to monitor the evolution of the injuries. These days are shown with the hospital admission report and the discharge report, which will show how many days the patient has been admitted.
- Preventive days: preventive days are often the subject of controversy in forensic practice. The general definition that is usually given is that the preventive days are those in which the injured party has shown that he cannot lead his life normally. For example, justifying parts of sick leave, showing that a cervical collar has been worn, reports from the family doctor recommending total rest, etc. But, another forensic criterion to set the preventive days has another definition: the preventive days are those in which injury stabilization has not yet been reached. This meaning has a more difficult interpretation, since it is based on already established medical-forensic criteria and medical studies, which is why the assessment generally does not adjust to the reality of the patient.
- Non-impeding days: As with the preventive days, the non-preventive days have several meanings: on the one hand, some forensics understand as non-preventive days those days in which the injury is already stable but the patient continues to require specific treatment to support the symptoms and get them to remit: drugs, rehabilitation, etc. On the other hand, they understand that the non-preventive days are those days that are included in the period in which the rehabilitation treatment is carried out. However, other forensics suppress non-preventive days and include them in the sequelae section, increasing their assessment. As we see again, there are multiple criteria to define each section of the Forensic Health Report,
- Aftermath: it is the second major block within the Health Report, with the days block being the first. The sequelae are those injuries that last over time when the consultation is held and that will foreseeably be prolonged in the healing. The Traffic Scale includes all those injuries that can be included in this section and in many cases their assessment is closed. In other cases, these sequels leave a fork open for the coroner to close his score. For example, the classic cervical post-traumatic syndrome has an open score between 1 and 8 points, with 1 being very mild and 8 being very severe. On some occasions, the Forensic Physician does not close this range of assessment and only assesses the degree of symptoms: mild, moderate and severe. In these cases, it will be the lawyer’s job to try to get the most accurate score for the injuries that his client presents. For example: a Forensic Health Report closes the evaluation of a Cervical Post-Traumatic Syndrome to a mild degree. The lawyer specializing in traffic accidents knows that the mild valuation ranges from 1 to 3 points, so the negotiation for an amicable agreement with the opposing insurance company can be closed at the valuation of 2 points.
- Corrective factors : this section includes those factors that modify the Health Report as a whole due to a special situation of the injured person: partial permanent disability, total permanent disability, absolute permanent disability, disability (need for help from a third person, need to adapt housing, family damages, adapting one’s own vehicle) and the special situation of pregnant women. Each one is detailed in the Traffic Scale. This section does not include the Corrective Factor for economic damages, since it is applicable once the Forensic Health Report has been closed. It is not the responsibility of the Forensic Physician to assess the application of this corrective factor.
As we can see, the Forensic Health Report can include multiple sections and each one with its specific definition. Even so, there are numerous interpretations and each Forensic Physician, each personal injury assessment professional, has his or her own criteria. Therefore, the most important thing is to leave the case in the hands of a lawyer specializing in traffic accidents, so that thanks to his guidance and his knowledge, the injuries that have been suffered can be accurately demonstrated through the necessary medical documentation so that the Forensic Health Report is as close to reality as possible.