When it comes to a personal injury case, once the injury occurs, the “clock” starts ticking in a sense. Every step you take along the way is a potential pitfall that could end up costing you your case. If you’re injured, then chances are you will need financial help with your medical bills and also recompense for your pain and suffering. There are eight things that you need to know to be fully compensated for your injury. Take these steps to heart as you proceed in the process.
1. Don’t take the blame for the accident.
When someone is arrested, part of their Miranda Rights states that “anything they say may be used against them in a court of law.” Think in those same terms when you have an accident. If you tell the other person the accident was your fault, then that will be brought up in court and will probably sink your case. Even something as seeming innocent as saying “I’m sorry” could be construed as an admission of blame on your part. Instead, be sure to pay close attention to everything that is being said around you and if you are asked questions only state absolute facts and not potential opinions.
If you are involved in an accident, you need to report it to the proper authorities. This creates a paper trail that can be used in court later on. Also, you need to have any injuries documented and checked on as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any pain after a car wreck, tell the police so that they can document it and request to be checked out by a physician.
3. Document everything.
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to make sure that you properly document everything that happened. This should be done by the police who respond, but you should also keep your own documentation as well. Be sure to use your cell phone to get pictures of your car or even yourself to show the extent of your injuries. Also, be sure to get the names and contact information for any potential witnesses to the event.
4. Get checked out by a doctor.
If the injury doesn’t manifest itself for a day or so, as can happen with neck and back injuries, then go to your own doctor immediately so that you can be checked out. This has a dual purpose because it gets you the medical attention you need but it also continues the paper trail that will be used in court or settlement proceedings.
Many clients destroy their own cases by not following the advice of their doctor. For instance, if a doctor prescribes bed rest for a week and you try to get up and go back to work after only three days, you are not just hurting your chances for recovery. You will also be giving ammunition to a defense attorney who can then claim that you are exaggerating your injuries since you aren’t taking your own doctor’s advice seriously.
6. Get an attorney.
Just like doctors, attorneys specialize in different kinds of cases. You wouldn’t want to hire a tax attorney to handle a divorce case nor would you want to hire a corporate lawyer for a personal injury suit. Be sure you find an attorney who specializes in personal injury. If your personal injury is a result of medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney with a reputation for this type of lawsuit. Finding the right attorney will make all the difference in the long run.
7. Don’t sign anything.
If you sign a statement admitting fault or if you sign a settlement offer, you may not be getting full compensation for your injuries. Be sure to have a personal injury attorney look over all settlement offers before you put your name to anything.
8. Don’t talk to an insurance company without proper consultation.
Remember that you may not just be going against the person who injured you, but against the insurance companies and their attorneys as well. That’s why you need an attorney who can be the go-between for you and these companies.
If you are injured in an accident or as a result of someone else’s negligence, then you deserve all of the compensation that you are fully entitled to receive. But this will not happen unless you follow certain steps along the way. That’s why the attorneys at Wolf & Pravato are here to help you to make your case as strong as possible.