Accidents Happen: 3 Important Steps To Take When Dealing with a Personal Injury
In every auto accident, there are always preliminary things that almost everyone knows to do: exchange names and insurance info with all parties involved, get a police report, and notify their insurance company. But when it comes to personal injuries, the critical steps aren’t so commonly known.
See your doctor right away
If your injuries don’t require an ambulance ride or immediate hospitalization, call your doctor’s office the same day as the accident. If there isn’t an appointment available within a reasonable amount of time, or if you are injured outside of normal office hours go to the emergency room. You should be examined fully and have your complaints checked out immediately.
Write down what happened
As soon as possible, note evidence, and then write down your version of everything that happened immediately leading up to, during, and right after the injury occurred. These notes will be extremely important when you are answering questions later. Memories fade quickly, and, at times, the most critical facts can become obscured in your mind.
Schedule a consult with a personal injury lawyer
FindLaw.com, a website dedicated to making the law accessible to all, indicates that a consult with a personal injury attorney is highly advisable. An initial consult doesn’t cost much (it may even be free), and that will be your best way of finding out whether your case is something you can handle yourself, or if it requires the assistance of an attorney.
People can be hesitant to consult an attorney, often believing that a law firm will turn everything to their own monetary advantage. Most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning if your attorneys don’t win your suit, you don’t pay, so personal injury lawyers are not likely to advance a frivolous suit or one where the award would be so small that neither you nor they would benefit.
Having an attorney represent you does not necessarily mean a big trial. According to government statistics, only four to five percent of the personal injury cases in the United States go to trial: 95 percent to 96 percent of personal injury cases are settled pretrial. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, Federal Tort Trials and Verdicts). At the same time, the consult is critical to helping you understand your obligations in a personal injury case and the steps you should take to protect yourself and your assets. This is your time to ask questions about your own financial liabilities to your creditors and to your insurance company.
Look to your own health first, and as soon as you are able, create a narrative of the events surrounding the injury. Lastly, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but expert knowledge can smooth the way toward knowing how to proceed in order to protect yourself following an injury. Be sure to contact a reputable personal injury lawyer to assist you.