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Top 5 Tips for Drafting a Statement

Top 5 Tips for Drafting a Statement

Published on January 13, 2023 by Sara McLeanSara McLean

In various personal injury and related matters, a well drafted statement is a useful tool and, in areas such as workers compensation and motor accident claims, is often a claimant’s evidence. It is important that the contents are accurate, and the statement details all relevant information thoroughly.

To assist you in drafting such a statement, my top 5 tips are:

1. Cause/s of injury

Detail the cause/s of the injury thoroughly. If the injury is an cumulative injury and has several causes and/or occurred over a period of time: For example, a psychological condition, hearing loss or an orthopaedic injury caused by the nature and conditions of your employment, ensure all the causes of this injury are detailed in the statement and include the period of time over which you were exposed to a particular cause. You should highlight over how many hours a day you were exposed to this cause and whether the cause continued for weeks, months or years; and how often you were required to participate in the activity causing the injury.

Note: when preparing a statement regarding hearing loss, in addition to outlining the cause/s of this injury, it is useful for you to indicate how loud the noise you were exposed to was by describing whether you had to raise your voice or shout to a person standing next to you. This will generally indicate whether the noise was loud enough to cause hearing loss.

2. Treatment

Detail the treatment you have received, from who and when, providing as much detail as possible. For example, if you have received physiotherapy treatment or psychological treatment, detail who provided this treatment, the dates you saw this treatment provider and/or how often you received this treatment. If your injury has required you to have radiological investigations performed (x-rays, CT, ultrasound or MRI scans) and/or cortisone, steroid or PRP injections, include details of the treatment performed, who performed it and when . If the injury has resulted in surgery being performed, it is best to include details of the surgery performed, who performed it and when, how long you were in hospital for following the surgery and any subsequent rehabilitation undertaken (whether in a rehabilitation hospital or otherwise).

I also recommend including details of any self-directed treatment performed by you at home such as the use of heat or cold packs, at home exercises you perform as well as any prescription or over-the-counter medication you take; how often you undergo this self-directed treatment and in what circumstances; how often you take the medication and in what dosage.

3. Symptoms

Detail the symptoms you had following the injury as well as your current symptoms and explain how these symptoms have changed, outlining whether the symptoms have improved, worsened or remained the same since the injury.

If the injury has deteriorated, explain to what extent it has deteriorated, and how and why it has deteriorated. In addition, also include any circumstances or activities which aggravate your symptoms, how these symptoms are aggravated, for how long and why.

4. Impact on day-to-day life

Detail the impact your injury has on your day-to-day life including what you can and cannot do as a result of the injury. I think it is useful to provide a comparison as to what you could and would do prior to sustaining the injury and what you can no longer do as a result of the injury, such as household chores (including what chores and why you can no longer do them), the effects the injury has had on your sleep, on your ability to play sport, participate in hobbies, pastimes or other recreational activities, interact with people, and any impact on your relationships with your partner, children, family and/or friends.

5. Psychological injury – Permanent Impairment Rating Scale categories

If you have sustained a psychological injury and your claim involves an assessment of whole person impairment, it is wise for your statement to also address the Permanent Impairment Rating Scale (PIRS) categories that a psychiatrist uses to assess whole person impairment. These include ‘Self Care and Personal Hygiene’, ‘Social and Recreational Activities’, ‘Travel’, ‘Social Functioning’, ‘Concentration, Persistence and Pace’ and ‘Employability’. It is best to provide as many examples relevant to these categories as possible, especially where there are conflicting medical opinions on the PIRS category class scores or if a psychiatrist assesses you with less than 15% whole person impairment (in workers compensation matters), or 10% or less whole person impairment (in a motor accident claim).

Ultimately, the statement will be reviewed by your legal representative who can suggest any necessary amendments, any additional information that should be included or any irrelevant information that should be removed from your statement. However, several of the above areas involve the impacts an injury has on an injured person, which will be different for everyone, and is something that your legal representative may not know or cannot glean from existing medical evidence or documents they possess. The best person to comment on the impacts an injury has on you, is you; as you live with the injury each and every day.

I hope this assists you.

Please contact Sara McLean, Senior Associate on 02 9291 7115 or Hanaan Indari, Partner on 02 8226 7328 for further assistance with your Personal Injury Statement/Claim.

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