The aftermath of an accident can be confusing, especially if you are injured. If seriously injured you may lose consciousness, leaving you unable to immediately communicate with others at the scene or make observations at the scene. Even if you do not lose consciousness, you may be momentarily disoriented. Make sure you receive medical attention right away, regardless of how you are feeling.
In addition to making sure that your medical needs are addressed, it is also important for you to take steps to preserve your legal rights. Failure to complete certain post-accident activities may jeopardize your claim against the person whose negligence caused your injuries.
The actions you will need to take will depend on a number of factors, including the type of accident. For example, if the accident was a vehicular accident, there are specific reporting requirements that you must follow under state law. If the accident occurred in the workplace, you may need to follow workers’ compensation procedures.
The steps listed here will give you the best chance at winning a personal injury lawsuit and receiving compensation for your pain, suffering, and injuries.
Steps You Should Follow To Ensure You Receive Compensation
- Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel your injuries are not particularly serious, get medical attention at the scene. If appropriate, make sure an ambulance transports you to the hospital. In addition to ensuring that your injuries are properly cared for, getting immediate medical attention will help support your claim later about the severity of your injuries.
On the other hand, refusing medical help will tend to show that you were not injured. Keep in mind that in some cases symptoms of injury are not immediately apparent.
Be very detailed when explaining your symptoms to your doctor, including the amount and location of pain, dizziness, and movement limitations. Make sure to follow your doctor’s prescribed plan of treatment. Failure to do so may be interpreted to mean that you have recovered from your injuries or that your injuries were not particularly serious.
Do not disregard the emotional impact that the accident had on you. If you experienced psychological difficulties as a result of the accident, seek counseling. This is another indication of the extent of your pain and suffering.
Having all of your medical treatments, visits, and diagnoses documented is crucial information needed to prove that you are entitled to compensation.
- Report the Accident
Regardless of the seriousness of your injuries and the extent of damage to your property, it is important that you immediately report the accident to law enforcement or to some other person with authority. It is crucial to get an official report in which someone with authority documents the specifics of the accident, including observations of the scene, statements from those involved, and statements from other witnesses.
When you file a claim against those you believe to be at fault, an official report taken at the scene of the accident may be critical at pinpointing fault. If the accident occurred in your workplace, it is important to let your supervisor know as well as your human resources department.
Do not be persuaded by anyone’s suggestion to resolve liability without involving the police, a manager, or some other third party with authority. A properly documented report will serve as important evidence in proving your claim and give you a better chance of receiving compensation.
- Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you initially feel that you were at fault or partially at fault, you could be wrong. Admitting you were at fault before all of the details of the accident have been sorted out could result in you admitting something that you did not do and negatively impact any financial recovery to which you may be entitled.
- Get the Names of Witnesses
Get the names and contact information of as many witnesses as possible. Third party witness statements can be vital if there is a dispute as to what caused the accident. While there may be others gathering this same information, it is a good idea for you to secure it as well and then pass it on to law enforcement, your insurance company, and anyone else who can use it to help with the investigation. If you are unable to get this information because of your injuries, enlist the help of a friend, family member, or co-worker. The more information you have to help your cause, the more likely you are to win a lawsuit.
- Take Photos of the Accident
Use your cell phone to take photos of the accident from several angles. Do so as soon as possible after the accident before the scene is disturbed. Photos can be important demonstrative evidence to support or refute witness testimony.
- Document the Accident
As soon as you are able, write down what you remember about the events that immediately preceded the accident as well as what happened immediately after the accident. This will help you accurately recall this information in the future when you are asked by investigators or if you end up having to testify in court. Remember, the more information you have in support of your claim, the more likely you are to receive compensation.
- Hire Attorneys with Experience
Winning a damage award in a personal injury case can be complicated; therefore, all of the information that you collect and document is extremely important to the case. Hiring lawyers who have won personal injury lawsuits for clients in the past is a key step in the process.
The Right Attorneys Will Help You Win the Compensation You Are Entitled
Whether it was you who was injured or a loved one, contact Donaghue & Labrum to discuss your legal options. Our firm has many years of experience successfully representing clients who have been victims of injuries caused by the negligence of others. Feel free to read about our numerous settlements and verdicts
. We will work hard to win you the compensation you deserve.