What do I need in order to file a personal injury case?
If you were in an accident and would like to file a personal injury lawsuit, you are likely wondering what steps you should take. Knowing what you must do in the days and weeks that follow your accident will improve your odds of getting the outcome you need and deserve. Although an attorney will help gather evidence and build your case, there are steps that you can take to improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Document the Accident
After the accident takes place, it is important to call the police to respond to the accident. If you are in a safe area and your injuries do not prevent you from moving, you should start taking pictures of the scene, the hazard that caused your injuries, and any visible marks of injury on your body such as swelling, lacerations, or bruises. If you were involved in a car accident, then take pictures of the damages to both vehicles as well as any debris or marks left on the road. Use your phone or a notepad to write down the date, time and location of the accident as well as the names and contact information for any witnesses.
Although the police often record this information, you want to have your own copy in case someone tries disputing your claims. You do not want to lose the documentation you create because doing so could harm your case. To avoid that problem, make sure you store everything in a secure location as soon as possible.
Having as much evidence as possible on your side will boost your odds of getting a favorable outcome on your case. If you notice witnesses standing in the area of the accident, approach them and ask for their contact information. You do not want to turn people who could help your case away. When you want to avoid complications, make sure you maintain a neutral tone and do not argue with or confront the negligent party about the accident. If you were involved in a car wreck, you may ask the other driver if they are ok and may ask for their contact information and insurance information.
Getting involved in arguments at the scene may cause unneeded tension, and you may say something that angers witnesses or hurts your chance of winning in court. You need the full name, address and phone number of each witness you would like to use to support your case. If your case goes to trial, your personal injury lawyer will subpoena the witnesses to testify in front of a judge or jury.
Photograph Your Injuries
If you were injured you may be asked to give your testimony about what your injuries looked like; however it is much more effective if that testimony is supported by pictures showing your injuries. Take high-quality pictures of all your injuries following the accident and at each stage of the healing process. If you are immobilized, then ask a friend or family member to take pictures when your condition is stabilized.
Visit a Doctor
Visiting a doctor after an accident is one of the most important things you can do. It is important because you could have injuries that have symptoms that are not apparent from the onset. Being in an accident is a shock to your body and often causes a rush of adrenaline. This can mask pain or other symptoms associated with your injuries. Hidden injuries may get worse if you do not seek treatment. Going to the doctor documents your injuries, and your medical records may be evidence that you can use to prove your injuries if your case goes to trial.
Speak With a Personal Injury Lawyer
You may think you can handle your case alone to save money on legal fees. While it seems to make sense from the surface, moving forward without an experienced legal professional can hurt your odds of receiving a fair outcome. Most individuals do not know the true value of their case without expert guidance, and you may say something in a recorded statement to a claims representative that may be taken out of context and used against you later in the case. A personal injury lawyer will stand in your corner and show you a path that will fit for you and your goals in the case.
Collecting evidence at the scene, going to the doctor, and retaining an attorney will help you optimize your chances of receiving a favorable outcome on your personal injury claim. Accidents are traumatic events, and you may find that taking these steps are difficult to do following an accident, but doing so will assist your attorney in helping you to achieve the best outcome.
You can move forward with confidence because your lawyer will ensure you are doing the right thing at each stage. You do not have to face this challenge alone when you enlist the support of a personal injury lawyer. If you are serious about safeguarding your right to collect compensation, begin the process as soon as possible following an accident.