A person who has suffered an accident may be unsure of what to do. Many people are unsure of what to do after a fall or car accident. They may not realize how difficult it can be to quantify or document the impact of an injury. This can make filing a personal injury claim difficult down the road.
The following are the steps that every person should take after an accident or injury of any kind.
Seek medical attention. Even if it seems at first that one has not been hurt, a slip, burn, crash, or any other type of accident should be followed immediately by a trip to the doctor. In some cases, especially those involving a blow to the head, signs of an injury can go unnoticeable for weeks or months.
While at the doctor, discuss openly and honestly about both the cause of the injury and how one has been feeling since it happened. This is especially true about pain; no matter how minor, always mention any pain one has been feeling.
It is important not to embellish or exaggerate. At the same time, do not downplay anything either. Simply be thorough and honest.
Furthermore, it is important to follow the advice of medical professionals following an accident or injury. Failure to do so could reduce any reward one is owed, as a judge or jury may see this noncompliance as contributing to one’s suffering.
Consult an attorney. As soon as possible, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss the situation. One should tell the attorney about the circumstances of the accident, the type of injury, and the diagnosis/advice of any doctors.
In the initial consultation, the attorney will advise whether or not one has a viable case and the potential award amount. An attorney might suggest who one should and should not talk to about the accident or injury. He/she may also discuss which documentation may be needed to help support the case.
It is important to adhere to one’s attorney’s advice just as one would adhere to medical advice.
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Photograph the scene. This is not always easy to do, especially in the wake of a serious auto accident or even in some slip-and-fall accidents. However, it is important to make every effort to obtain photographic evidence after an injury. This might include pictures or videos of broken stairs, the condition of one’s car, water on the pavement, the placement of objects around a yard or home, etc. Try to capture the scene at both close-up and far away angles, as well as from the perspective one had moments before the accident.
The more images one can get, the better. Videos are also helpful, including dashcam footage or security camera footage. If one is not physically able to get images due to the level of injury or other circumstances beyond one’s control, an attorney may be able to offer suggestions.
Gather other information or evidence. In any personal injury case, it is helpful for one’s attorney to interview any witnesses to the incident. A person or someone acting on his/her behalf should do everything possible to get the names and contact information of anyone who might have seen the events. While it is possible for the injured person to ask questions, an attorney is best qualified to know what to say and what to ask to get the most pertinent and most honest information.
Witnesses aren’t the only evidence one may need. Physical evidence, such as the shoes and clothing the injured person was wearing during a slip-and-fall or premises liability accident, may also be important.
File an incident report. For accidents that occur in a store, restaurant, or any other place of business, it is important to file an incident report. This may require asking for a manager or owner. The incident report should cover details of what happened, when it occurred, who was involved (e.g. a waiter dropped hot soup or a custodian knocked over a bucket of water). Anyone who witnessed the incident should also provide a statement in the report. Be sure to get a copy of the report before leaving the property if possible.
Keep a file of all medical records and expenses. No matter how serious or minor an injury, it is critical that one keeps a record of every doctor visit that is associated with the accident. This should include the outcome of every test, as well as details of doctor recommendations for recovery.
For example, if a person is prescribed 10 weeks of physical therapy, this prescription will be necessary in order to recoup costs associated with those sessions. Moreover, a person should also keep receipts for co-pays, medication (both over the counter and prescription), and medical devices. Even small costs like a cane or sling should be cataloged.
Non-medical costs associated with the accident should also be recorded. For example, if the accident prohibits one from driving, then the cost of a taxi or Uber ride should also be documented. Similarly, a person whose injuries prohibit them from cooking could potentially include the increased cost of having food delivered.
Sign nothing (without consulting with an attorney). After an accident, many insurance companies reach out to injured parties. A person may be contacted by a claims adjuster, attorney, or other specialist. In many cases, a person may be asked to sign a form. It is not unheard of for such persons to lie about what the form or forms mean and how it affects one’s rights. The bottom line: sign nothing without the consent of one’s attorney.
In fact, whenever possible, avoid speaking with anyone representing the persons responsible for the accident. While a person may be tempted to be honest about the facts thinking they have nothing to lose, this is not wise. An insurance company’s goal is to avoid having to make a settlement, so it will use one’s words to in any way possible twist the facts to help its case. Instead, refer them to one’s own attorney.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or someone you love has been injured and feel you may be entitled to compensation, contact Rosenblum Law today. Our experienced and skilled attorneys have won cases with positive results. To speak directly to one of our attorneys for free please call 888-815-3649 or email us.