What you do in the days, weeks, and months after you have suffered an injury in an accident can determine whether you can receive financial compensation for your injuries. Even though you are dealing with both the physical discomfort and the stress of your accent injuries, there are still things that you must do if you hope to receive a settlement check for your damages.
If you make any mistakes, they will undoubtedly come back to haunt you during the personal injury process. Here is what you should do after you have suffered an injury in a car accident.
It will be unreasonable to expect you to have all the answers at the accident scene. You can do very little at the scene when dealing with physical injuries. You cannot investigate your own accident, nor can you do much to begin to assemble the legal case that will lead to a settlement check. This is why hiring a car accident attorney is vital to receiving fair compensation.
After you have suffered an injury, the situation leaves you in a problematic state. The last thing you may want to do is expend the effort it takes to launch the legal process. However, that is precisely what you must do if you hope to receive compensation.
See a Doctor and Tend to Your Own Physical Health
Your physical health is the most critical thing after you have suffered an injury. You cannot afford to ignore it no matter what. You may have received treatment at the scene of the accident, and first responders may have even sent you to the hospital.
Not every car accident injury appears at the scene or immediately after the crash. Some injuries may take days or weeks to show symptoms. However, that does not mean that the injuries are not there.
Personal Injuries can get worse over time if they are left untreated. Some people have a natural urge to tough it out. This is the last thing you want to do if you have suffered an injury.
Seeing a doctor is not only the right thing to do for your health, but it is also a must for your legal case. You cannot even begin the legal process until you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. In addition, you need a diagnosis in writing to prove the full extent of your injuries. Without seeing a doctor, this will be impossible.
You Have a Legal Duty to Mitigate Your Own Accident Damages
The insurance company may actually try to penalize you if you do not see a physician. In a personal injury case, you have a legal obligation to do everything within your power to mitigate your own injuries. This means that you have not only seen a doctor but also followed their recommendations to the letter.
If they prescribe a certain course of treatment, you must take all medications and attend all doctor appointments. Otherwise, the insurance company will claim that you made your own injuries worse through inaction. You never want to be in a position where you must defend or explain.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible
In addition, you should also hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you. You should not try to handle your accident injury claim alone for many reasons.
First, you might not have the physical capacity to engage in the legal process yourself. Assuming that you are doing everything to care for your health, you will not have the bandwidth or ability to deal with legal matters.
In addition, you will also lack the legal experience to go up against the insurance company. Personal injury lawyers always describe the legal process as taking on the insurance company.
There is a reason for that. To get the money you legally deserve from them, you will need to deal with the tactics that an insurance company uses to reduce your financial recovery. Sometimes it takes legal force to get the insurance company to do right by you.
You Need to Gather Evidence Before it Is Too Late
Initially, the most important thing that an accident attorney will do for you is to investigate what happened. The burden of proof is on you to show that someone else was legally responsible for your injuries. If you cannot meet this burden, you will end up empty-handed regarding compensation. However, you are not in any physical condition to go out and secure the necessary evidence, including tracking down witnesses and taking pictures of the scene of the accident. Even if you were in this condition, you will not necessarily know what you were looking for or how to speak with witnesses.
You only have a limited amount of time to gather the evidence before it is lost to you permanently. In addition, the defendant will certainly not make it easy for you to get the proof that you need to hold them legally accountable for what they did.
You are legally at risk if you do not reach out to an attorney after an accident. You will not get any leeway for mistakes you made when you were unrepresented by a lawyer. At the same time, insurance companies react with glee when they see a claimant try to handle their own process. They invite them to do everything they can to take advantage of you. However, they will look at you differently when they see that you have an experienced and aggressive personal injury lawyer representing you.
Do not let worries about money get in the way of getting the legal help that you absolutely must have. The personal injury law system does not expect you to come up with any money out of your pocket to hire an attorney. Instead, your lawyer can work for you on a contingency basis. They take on the risk that you may not get paid for your accident injuries. In that event, you will not pay them for the time and effort they put into your case. You will not pay legal bills along the way and will owe your lawyer nothing unless you win your case. This payment agreement allows you to get help from an experienced attorney when you need it, even if you cannot afford it at the time.
Your personal injury lawyer’s job is to handle all the details of your legal process. They will involve themselves in the day-to-day matters, So you can focus on what is essential, including your health and your family. Your attorney will keep you informed, explaining your legal options to you at all times. They will give you the advice that you need to make the right decisions in your case.
Preserve All Accident Evidence in Your Possession
If you have any accident evidence in your hands, take all necessary steps to preserve it until you can physically give it to your attorney. If you have pictures or documents, make several copies of them and keep them in a safe place.
Never make any judgment on your own about what can be persuasive accident evidence. When in doubt, save and preserve it. Once you inadvertently get rid of the evidence, you may never get it back. Let your lawyer determine what may be necessary to prove your case.
Document Your Damages as Well as You Can
Not only do you have the burden of proof to show that someone else should pay for your injuries, but you also must demonstrate the full extent of your damages. Neither the insurance company nor the jury will give you the benefit of the doubt when proving your damages. To fully show the harm you have suffered, you will need documentation of your expenses and your experience.
If you have suffered a physical injury, you should keep a journal of your daily experience to better show the pain and suffering you endured. In addition, you should save the physical documents that underlie your claim and gather them for your lawyer to make their job easier. If you cannot do this yourself, have a family member work on this for you.
Adjust Your Expectations and Prepare for a Fight
You should also calibrate your expectations for the legal process. It is never an easy thing to get the money that you deserve after an accident. Insurance companies are not known for making the process easy for people anyway. If they were, you might not need an attorney to represent you. Know that it may take some time to get your settlement check and have your claim fully resolved. It may even take you several years to conclude the legal process.
While it is easier said than done to remain patient during this difficult time, it is precisely what you must do. In most cases, you will end up in conflict with the insurance company. Eventually, you will most likely end up resolving this disagreement and agreeing to a settlement. Very few cases will ever go to a full jury trial.
Your attorney will educate you on the legal process and help you understand what you may expect as it unfolds. There will be some tough days while your claim or lawsuit is pending. There may be times when your frustration may get the best of you. However, you should keep your eyes on the end goal of getting a full and fair settlement check and know there will be ups and downs along the way.
You should not expect to take too much upon yourself during this difficult time. The more you try to do, the higher the likelihood you may make a mistake. Therefore, you should resolve to hand the matter over to an attorney as soon as you possibly can.
What Not to Do After You Have Suffered a Personal Injury
Equally important as what you should do is what you should not do after an accident Injury. Once you make a mistake in the personal injury process, it is difficult to take back. The insurance company will act as if you are on the record. If your case ends up going to trial, your mistakes can end up putting a dent in your credibility.
One of the essential things not to do is post or talk about your accident and injuries. You should assume that the insurance company will have access to your social media, and they may even be watching you. It is entirely legal for them to conduct surveillance on you while your claim or trial is pending. If you comment on social media, even an innocent one, an insurance company can use it to undermine your personal injury claim. Further, you should always assume that the insurance company is watching you when you go out in public.
You should also refrain from speaking with the other driver or their insurance company after the accident. There is little good that can come from this conversation. However, it is not always easy to avoid the insurance company. They may be looking for you and using every method at their disposal to strong-arm you into giving them a statement. Once you hire an attorney, you can protect yourself from insurance company overreach.
The other thing that you should not do is panic. Personal injury claimants make bad decisions when they are making choices out of desperation. If the law and the facts are on your side, you should eventually get your money. While it may not happen at the time of your choosing, with an experienced lawyer, it should eventually happen.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to hire a personal injury attorney. This way, you can focus on the most important thing, your health. You can do this while your lawyer handles your legal battles for you, knowing that this has maximized your chance for success in your case and the highest compensation possible.
Following an injury, always try to remain calm and trust your doctors and the legal process. Our Florida personal injury lawyers are here to help. Contact us today!