Accidents can happen quite suddenly and without any warning. Stress, confusion, and fear are all common and logical responses to these incidents, especially if you’ve sustained a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence. The decisions you make immediately after sustaining a personal injury can have a significant effect on your lawsuit, as well as your physical and mental health. With that in mind, here are the most important steps you should take:
Preserve any evidence
Whether your case goes in front of a judge or jury, the evidence will be key in supporting it. The other party will look at your evidence as well, using it to determine the strength of your case and decide on a fair settlement. The more evidence you preserve, the greater your chances of winning will be. If you’re able, attempt to take photos of the scene and your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Collect the contact information and names of any witnesses that might have seen the incident to support your case.
Seek medical treatment
Every injury has to be treated. Even if you’re unsure of its extent, it’s still important to seek medical help immediately after sustaining a personal injury. This will allow you to heal and recover more quickly, but it will also help your case. Healthcare professionals will be able to document your injuries, assess your mental health, and formulate a suitable treatment plan. This will represent critical evidence in court that might also encourage the other side to offer a higher settlement. Don’t wait too long to get medical treatment, as this can only hurt your case.
Try to collect information
If you don’t go to the hospital immediately, you may also want to speak with the individual who caused the incident and injury. Collect the person’s name, contact information, and insurance information. But be particularly cautious of your wording when speaking to them. Never excuse their behavior or admit fault – simply collect the necessary information. It might also be a good idea to call the police. They can document the accident and your injuries, gather statements from both parties, and write a detailed report. Police officers could also act as mediators between two parties if necessary.
Find a good a lawyer
Instead of going through the process alone, consider hiring a qualified lawyer. With extensive knowledge of the law and personal injuries, such a professional will be able to provide support, help you build a solid case, and get a fair settlement. In countries such as Australia, for instance, it’s common to hire experienced Australian superannuation & insurance lawyers specializing in claims. Committed to helping people, these experts can leverage their skills to provide the best possible outcomes. Consider finding similar personal injury lawyers in your area as well. They could be of great help in streamlining the claim process and supporting your case.
In a personal injury case, you and your lawyer will need to prove that you were injured due to another person’s negligence. To do this, you have to provide evidence and documentation. Along with the initial evidence you’ve collected at the scene, attempt to gather additional pieces of evidence such as security camera footage or personal videos filmed by eyewitnesses. The documents and records that could help your case include police reports, medical records, witness statements, personal statements, etc. Keep copies of all documentation and evidence until the case is fully closed.
Build a solid legal case
Even if your case doesn’t go to trial, building a case methodically can be quite beneficial for maximizing damages. This preparation involves serving discovery demands to the other party and having your lawyer request records or conduct depositions. Throughout this process, you might need to be examined by additional medical professionals, and your lawyer may decide to work with various expert witnesses in order to build a stronger case as well. Stronger cases often pressure responsible parties to offer fair settlements, encouraging them to pay you an adequate amount.
Don’t wait to file the case
After a personal injury occurs, you can only bring your case to the court during a specific time period. Across the US, for example, personal injuries typically have a three-year statute of limitations, but this can vary based on state and exceptions. Ask your lawyer about local guidelines, and file your case as soon as possible. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you might not be able to make a claim at all. Filing the case will also enable you to formally gather evidence, which is critical to preserving it and ensuring a favorable outcome.
Personal injuries are challenging to handle, both physically and emotionally. But by following the right steps and getting support, you may at least be able to get fair compensation.