I didn't think I was hurt, but now I feel horrible. What do I do?
If you were injured in an accident and did not think you were hurt, you probably avoided seeing a physician. Now that you feel horrible, you need to have a plan of action. First, make an appointment with your doctor right away. An accident can cause many serious health problems, including a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury leaving you with a permanent disability. Your doctor may decide to order various blood tests, X-rays, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a computerized tomography (CT) scan. Test results help your physician diagnose the precise reason that you feel horrible.
A Personal Injury Attorney Can Determine if Negligence Caused your Condition
When you make an appointment to consult with a personal injury attorney, the lawyer will evaluate your case to determine if your injury was caused by an act of negligence of another person or entity. If the party who caused your injury was negligent, the attorney may decide to accept you as a client. Most personal injury consultations are free, and even if you retain the services of the attorney, the fees are likely handled on a contingency basis where you do not have to pay money out of your own pocket. Instead, an attorney working on a contingency fee will receive their fees from a settlement or a verdict.
Bring all Documentation and Medical Records to your First Appointment
A personal injury lawyer needs to see all the evidence you are able to produce regarding your accident and injury. Bring the police report, list of witnesses, photographs of the accident and medical records, including test results, to your appointment. After looking at the documents, an attorney is able to determine if you have a reasonable chance of winning a lawsuit against the negligent party. Your attorney then files an insurance claim if the negligent party has insurance, and may file a lawsuit if they are unable to resolve the case at the claim stage. Your personal injury lawyer is with you every step of the way. You may also have access to the services of a paralegal or legal assistant who works with your lawyer on the case.
Your Lawyer can Refer You to Attorneys who Handle Disability and Worker’s Compensation Claims
If it is determined that your accident has caused a permanent disability, your attorney can refer you to a disability lawyer. Most personal injury attorneys do not handle social security claims themselves, but they are able to refer you to a reputable attorney who helps people with these types of claims. After filing a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim or a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim, a Social Security Administration representative decides whether you are disabled. In the eyes of the Social Security Administration, you are disabled if your disability prevents you from working as a full-time employee.
If your injury happened on the job, a personal injury attorney may also refer you out to a worker’s compensation lawyer. In Texas many personal injury attorneys handle claims where the employer is not a subscriber to worker’s compensation insurance, but they often do not handle cases where worker’s compensation insurance is involved. Non-subscriber cases are handled in the courts or in arbitration as opposed to worker’s compensation claims that are handled through an administrative process.
If either of these situations apply to your case, your attorney will make sure you are in good hands so that you have another avenue to receive compensation or income while the case against the negligent party is pending. Keep in mind that payments made by social security or worker’s comp are often subject to reimbursement from the settlement of the personal injury claim.
Your Personal Injury is a Serious Medical and Legal Matter
Do not take your personal injury for granted. If you felt fine at the time of your accident but now feel terrible, you may have a condition requiring prompt medical attention. For instance, you may experience problems with your short-term memory. You may not remember what you ate for breakfast or even if you ate your meal. You may feel tired all the time. Any of these symptoms could indicate that you are suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Your injury may prevent you from holding down a job. If your brain has been injured because of negligence, filing a lawsuit gives you a chance to win a substantial monetary settlement. If you are feeling these types of symptoms after an accident that was not your fault, contact a personal injury attorney immediately so that you can file your lawsuit without any further delays.
Time is not on your Side When it Comes to Legal Limitations
Due to the statute of limitations in the state where you live, you only have a limited amount of time to file a negligence lawsuit. Depending on where you live, you must file your claim within one to six years. In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to an accident in most types of cases. However, the statute of limitations in Louisiana for most personal injury cases is only one year. Consequently, it is vital that you contact a personal injury attorney soon after your accident. If you fail to file your claim within the acceptable period, you forfeit the right to bring your claim and receive compensation.