No one wants to be injured because of someone else’s negligence but it happens every year. It has been estimated that, around the united states, there are about 31 million accidents that end up sending people for medical treatment. Unfortunately, negligence causing personal injury is something that happens all of the time. If you find yourself injured through no fault of your own, there are things you need to do.
1. Get medical help immediately.
The first thing you need to take care of is your health. A number of people, after negligence causing personal injury, do not recognize how important it is to see medical professionals but it is incredibly important. Whether you go to an urgent care clinic or a hospital emergency room, the quicker you get medical help, the better.
Some people think they should wait because that will somehow help their case but it actually hurts as judges never like that. Also, if you have been injured, doctors can do more to help you right away rather than if you wait. If you have been in a car accident or one involving a motorcycle, serious internal injuries may be present but hidden. A prompt visit to the doctor can uncover these injuries when they can be treated.
2. Let the medical professionals know you may have a legal claim.
If you know you are suffering from negligence causing personal injury, make sure the medical professionals who are treating you know about it. This will not make any difference in the kind of care you receive but it may very well impact how detailed the reports about your case are. Knowing they may be asked by lawyers or agents of insurance companies may make them take more detailed notes and offer more explanations for the tests they run.
Take their advice. If you are told you cannot go back to work because of an injury, going back will hurt your claim. The same goes for missing physical therapy appointments, not going back to your doctor, get the appropriate chiropractic care, or not filling prescriptions they write. If you are dealing with insurance companies, they will do whatever they can to discredit you. Do not give them anything to use against you.
3. Talk to law enforcement.
Not every negligence causing personal injury will result in a call to the cops but if it does, you should give them your side of the story. If there has been a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you need to reach out to them. If your injuries are such that you are sent to the hospital in an ambulance, you can talk to them later but make sure you do.
If you find the other person was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should see if there is a police report. This can help you later when you are dealing with car insurance companies and anyone else. Get that report if you can.
4. Do not confront the negligent person.
If you have been in a car accident caused by an intoxicated or impaired person, you should not confront them directly. It may be tempting to find their bail bond agent and see if they were able to bail out of jail but you should do whatever you can to resist that urge. This will just get you upset.
If your employer is the reason for your injury, you can only hurt your case by talking to them. They can use anything you say against you later. Let your lawyer do the talking and be the go-between.
5. Get as much documentation or witness reports as you can.
If you can get a police report that will do a lot to help strengthen your case. That is not the only documentation you can use. Get records from the medical facility you went to, the doctors who treated you, and the tests that were run. Do you have x-rays or MRIs of your injuries? Save them.
Did other people witness what happened? Did you slip or fall at work? If you did, and these kinds of accidents cost the country at least $34 billion every year so you are not alone. If you slipped or fell, did anyone see it? If there was anyone around when you were injured, see if you can get them to speak to you about what they saw.
6. See if there is a video of what happened.
People do not often realize just how much of our lives is caught on camera. No matter where you go when you are outside of your home you can bet you are being recorded. Whether you were in an accident at work or on the road, there may be video available of the incident. Talk to your employer if it happened at work. Talk to stores in the area if this happened outside. You may find that security cameras caught what happened to you.
If you can document damage to your vehicle or something else, do it. This video or photos do not have to be museum or Oscar-worthy. Cell phone images and video will work. Whatever you can find that backs up what you are saying should be used.
7. Document every penny you spend or lose.
You need to pay attention to every bill you pay, any expense you have, and out of pocket cost that comes up because of the negligence causing injury. This includes, but is not limited to, LYFT, Uber, and taxi rides you take to medical appointments, co-payments for medical treatment or prescriptions and medical equipment, any money you pay out for at-home help, the food you order in because you cannot fix it yourself, and anything else you have to buy or rent due to your injury. Keep any receipts you get or keep a record on your credit or debit card statement.
You should also make a note of what pay you are not receiving. Keep track of earnings you are losing and potential earnings. Were you up for a promotion that you could not compete for because of your injury? Whatever documentation you have to back this up will help you.
8. Keep a diary of what you experience.
You think you are never going to forget everything you go through on the road to recovery but you will. The body and mind have a way of protecting us from reliving pain we experience so we do not relive it. Just like a woman who has given birth will forget how much that hurt, you will forget what you go through.
It is important to keep a record of this because your pain and suffering matter when it comes to a settlement in your case. Many people who go through this find it helpful to keep a diary. This can also help you deal with the injury on an emotional level. Many people who experience an injury that disrupts their life find the trauma of the entire experience is hard to deal with. The good news is that you can reach out to mental health professionals who can help you. This can make your healing process progress faster and will help your case against the negligent person or company. Health insurance plans cover this kind of treatment.
9. Get a good personal injury attorney on your side.
Hopefully, all you need is a good personal injury attorney. Sometimes companies and people who engage in negligence causing personal injury leave people needing a wrongful death lawyer or have to deal with funeral expenses.
Having said that, have a lot of things to consider when you are hiring any kind of injury attorney. Here are some tips for finding the right one:
- Talk to people you know and trust. One of the best ways to get good products or services is to get recommendations from the people you like. More people than you know have been victims of behavior that leads to negligence causing personal injury. The odds are good that you know someone who has had to hire a personal injury lawyer or firm.
- Get the right kind of lawyer. Lawyers, like doctors, specialize. You need a lawyer with experience dealing with personal injury cases. You would not go to an obstetrician for a broken leg and a divorce lawyer cannot help you with your personal injury case.
- Ask about what you should realistically expect. If they have as much experience as they should have, they will be able to tell you what you can expect and how long things should take. There is a great misconception out there that personal injury lawyers are ambulance chasers who take any case that comes along. That could not be farther from the truth. When it comes to cases from negligence causing personal injury cases, they do not benefit from taking ones they know have no merit. Keep that in mind when talking to them.
- Ask the right questions. All law firms allow prospective clients to go in for a free evaluation. You should take your time and get all of your questions answered. A law firm that will not take the time to answer your questions before you hire them, they are not going to change course and make time after you sign the paperwork. Do not feel bad if you do not choose one law firm after spending a lot of time with them. This is how they do business and they know you may not hire them. No one’s feelings will be hurt.
- How much experience do you have with this kind of case? The best thing you can hope for is a lawyer with a lot of experience dealing with cases like yours. You also need someone who is both a good negotiator and who is comfortable in a courtroom. Most of the time these cases are not settled in court but if you end up there, you want your lawyer to not be scared of the place.
- Why did you pick this kind of law? You want an attorney who cares about this kind of case. This is not the kind of job you can “phone in.” If they do not care about what they do, it will show up in how they perform on your case from negligence causing personal injury.
- How many cases like mine do you handle? A lot of law firms and lawyers handle a number of kinds of cases. That is ok but if they handle one negligence causing personal injury case every decade, they may not be the person for your case. There may also be changes to the law in your area and if your attorney does not handle a lot of cases that stem from negligence causing personal injury, it can hurt you.
- Who will be working on my case? Law firms hire a lot of different legal professionals, They have lawyers (often at different levels), legal secretaries, paralegals, assistants, and others who handle different aspects of your case. When your lawyer is not available, they may be able to answer your questions. It can help your comfort level with the law firm when they tell you who exactly will work on your case. You are going to have to give them a lot of very personal information. If you cannot do that it will impact the results.
A common dream people have is to be awarded a large settlement for an injury they have sustained. That may be a fantasy but no one really wants to experience one that has stemmed from negligence causing personal injury. The good news is that there are a lot of people who can help you recover and get back to your life.
The importance of the right lawyer cannot be overstated. Having the right legal help on your side will give you the peace of mind and let you focus on what is important; recovering and getting your life back to normal. They can handle the hard parts of dealing with the insurance companies and others so you do not have to.