If you sustain a serious injury due to another person’s negligence, you may deal with huge medical bills and lost income. You may not know where to turn or who to trust. Regardless of whether you were involved in an auto accident, a slip and fall, or another incident, the way you approach the accident can determine whether you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
1. Gather information about the accident. If you were involved in an automobile accident, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Take photos of the crash site and your vehicle. If you slipped and fell inside a store or other business due to a hazardous environment, take a photo of the conditions that caused your fall. You also need a record of the incident. For auto accidents, call the police and complete an accident report. Obtain a copy of this report to ensure accuracy. If the accident occurred inside a place of business, contact management and file an accident report.
2. Seek medical attention. The sooner you have a record of your injuries, the better. If you delay treatment, the other person’s insurance company may argue that you sustained the injury after the accident. Seek medical attention on the day the accident occurs - regardless of how you feel. Some injuries may not manifest themselves for several days or weeks. However, a doctor can usually detect trauma during a physical examination.
3. Limit communication with the insurance company. Immediately after a serious injury, the other party’s insurance company may contact you. It’s okay to provide your account of the incident. However, do not admit fault and do not accept an early settlement offer. Some insurance companies quickly contact victims before they have an opportunity to speak with an attorney. This is because insurance companies want to pay the least amount of compensation for personal injuries.
4. Hire a personal injury lawyer. With an attorney on your side, there is somebody to look out for your best interests. A lawyer who specializes in personal injury can estimate the value of your injuries and work with the insurance company or the other party to get you the maximum compensation. These lawyers are not only negotiators, but proven investigators as well. They’ll review your accident report, speak with witnesses and examine the evidence surrounding your claim. And if the insurance company or the other party is unwilling to cooperate, your attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court.