Whether on the job or in an accident, getting an injury is a costly mistake. Depending on the severity of your injury, you could need to take weeks off work to fully recover. In addition to the lost wages, you’ll also have to pay hospital bills, physical therapy fees, and potentially prescription costs. Not to mention, if someone in your family takes time off to stay at home with you, they’re also likely to out of some money, too.
If you ever incur an injury where someone else is at fault, there are five steps you should take to legally protect yourself and help build a case on your behalf. Please note this information is generic by nature and is useful as a guide. It is also likely to differ too depending on where you are located around the world. This information is most relevant in the USA.
Personal injury can occur in many places. Whenever you incur damage at the fault of another, ensure you take measures to preserve evidence if you can.
You can do a few things to preserve evidence. First, if you’re able to protect the scene, do so. If you’ve been in a car accident, this would mean setting off flares or turning your hazard flashers on. Don’t let anything get moved or damaged.
Next, call the police even if there aren’t serious injuries. When the police arrive, give them an accurate account of what happened. Having a police report is useful for filing with your health or car insurance provider.
You should also take pictures of the scene including physical damage to any property and any physical injuries you incur. If you cannot take pictures immediately after the incident, take them as soon as you can or send someone in your stead.
If you’ve summoned a police officer, he should collect all the contact and insurance information from all parties involved. You can retrieve the police report with the report number the officer gives you.
If the police don’t respond, you need to take action to collect all the necessary information. If you’ve been in a car accident, obtain the name, address, number, and insurance policy number of everyone involved in the crash. You should also provide your information to everyone involved. If there were witnesses to the incident, collect their information, too.
Notify Your Insurer
As soon as you are able, notify your insurance company about your personal injury. Most insurers do require immediate reporting.
When you notify your insurer, you’ll need to provide the medical bills associated with your injury and, in the case of a vehicular accident, pictures of the damage. You’ll also need to give the police report and the information you collected from the at-fault party or parties. It’s best to keep all these records together in a file. Having copies on your computer will also make finding and emailing information more accessible.
Get Medical Attention
If you have a severe medical emergency, it’s easy to know that you need to seek emergency medical attention. However, there are some cases where injuries are internal or not immediately apparent like a concussion. This can especially be the case in car accidents where concussion and whiplash aren’t visible until later.
Even if you don’t think you have an injury, you should still seek out medical attention and have a doctor write up his notes on your check-up.
Find a Lawyer
Something you should never forget to do if you’ve incurred an injury at the fault of another is to find a lawyer in your area whom is experienced in similar events in your state. Your attorney can protect your rights and recover any wage or property losses as a result of your personal injury. In many cases, insurance providers – yours and those covering the other individuals involved in the accident – want statements immediately after the accident. It’s essential to receive legal advice before giving these statements. Hiring an attorney can provide you with information on how to ensure you are adequately compensated for your injuries. A personal injury attorney in many areas will not receive a legal fee unless he can recoup compensation for your injuries.