Personal injuries can occur in a wide variety of different situations. The injury may happen while the victim is at work, while the victim is shopping or running errands in a public place, while the victim is visiting a friend or neighbor, or even while the victim is relaxing in the privacy and comfort of his or her own home. By the very nature of an injury or accident the victim is likely to find him or herself overwhelmed and extremely distressed. However, though it is certainly human nature to panic, if you yourself have suffered a personal injury it is important to stay calm and get the help you need to recover from your ordeal. Consider the following.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The most important thing you can do when you are hurt or injured is to seek immediate medical attention. It’s possible that your injury may cause you to go into shock or become confused and disoriented. This could make it difficult to react with the necessary sense of urgency. Likewise, your injury may not seem too severe when it first occurs. This is because many types of injuries take time to completely manifest, are internal and thus not visible, or may escalate if they are not properly treated. Never risk it; always seek immediate medical attention if you have suffered an accident or injury. Another risk is that it could damage the credibility of a future legal case if you delay or skip treatment.
Follow all doctors’ orders – No one likes being told that his or her daily routine or general lifestyle is going to be interrupted, but following your doctor’s orders is crucial both for a full recovery and once again for the greatest likelihood of winning a legal case. If you doctor says you need to stay overnight for observations, have additional tests run, miss work or school, or confine yourself to bed rest – Do it!
Document all bills – Even if you are not normally someone who saves receipts and invoices and documents expenses and lost wages, it is important to take these fundamental steps if you have been involved in a personal injury accident. This information will form the basis for establishing the true financial toll your injury has taken on you and thus also the compensation you may be entitled to.
Consider a second opinion – Not all doctors are created equally and sometimes even the best physician may overlook or misdiagnosis something. Before you undergo painful surgeries and procedures or expensive treatments make sure to get a second opinion. Likewise, if your doctor tells you everything is fine, but you just don’t feel right, aren’t healing, or are seeing a worsening of your condition listen to your instincts and check with another physician.
Protect Your Case
It can sometimes be difficult to identify who is to blame for a personal injury. Did the incident occur as the result of a faulty or defective product, part, or piece of equipment? Was negligence on the part of the property owner to blame? Did someone break a law or safety regulation? Was the person who injured you inadequately trained or hired under false pretenses? These are all important things to discuss with your attorney. Observing the following steps will also help protect your case.
Identify witnesses – Eyewitness testimony is extremely compelling in a court case and just having witnesses lined up to testify may encourage the at-fault person or party to settle more quickly and for a better amount. Find out who was in the area at the time of the injury, gather their statements, and record all of their contact information.
Document the scene – If possible it is also helpful to take photographs of the accident scene and document any relevant events leading up to the accident. Find out who was in charge the area, what steps were supposed to be taken, and what actually occurred.
Don’t sign anything – In the wake of an accident you may be presented with a settlement offer, an agreement to pay for all or part of your medical bills, or simply a waiver of responsibility or agreement not to sue. Don’t sign anything until you have had the opportunity to consult an attorney knowledgeable in personal injury litigation.
Find Legal Representation
If you do make the decision to pursue compensation for your personal injury it is important to find qualified, trustworthy legal representation. You may be tempted to negotiate with the at-fault person or party, or their insurance company, yourself, but unless you have a strong legal background this is usually a mistake. You will also likely lack the objectivity necessary to get the best settlement or compensation without being unrealistic.
Find an experienced attorney – Make sure that your attorney is experienced in personal injury litigation and has the skills and resources necessary to win the case.
Know your attorney’s reputation – Find out about your attorney’s reputation. Does he or she have a reputation for being ethical, yet aggressive? Has he or she won similar cases? What are past clients saying about him or her?
Understand the value of your case – Knowing how much your case is worth is crucial for getting fair compensation. You don’t want to settle for too small an amount, but having unrealistically high expectations can be just as problematic.
Are you comfortable with your attorney? – Your attorney will be your greatest ally during this difficult time. It is important to find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable, an attorney who truly seems to understand your legal needs and who cares about your case.
Dies & Parkhurst is proud to serve the Southeast Texas area with high quality personal injury legal representation. We are committed to helping our clients protect their legal rights and obtain the compensation they deserve for their suffering. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a personal injury accident please contact us for a consultation.