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Steps to Take Immediately After Suffering a Personal Injury

Hoffspiegel Law Blog

Steps to Take After A Personal Injury.

Experiencing a personal injury can occur anywhere at any given time. Perhaps while en route to the grocery store, another motorist may hit your car. Perhaps you are shopping when you slip and fall on a freshly mopped wet floor. Or perhaps you sustained dog bites when someone was unable to restrain their dog.

Understandably, in the aftermath of an accident, a victim may be in an elevated emotional state. While in such a state, it is often difficult to think rationally about what to do. Therefore, in advance, you should familiarize yourself with what critical steps to take and avoid in case you experience a personal injury.

What You Should Do Immediately After Suffering a Personal Injury 

You may be familiar with some steps that you should take immediately after suffering a personal injury. However, some steps are not so widely known. These actions should be taken in order to protect your legal rights. 

The following are some of the most important things you can do in the aftermath of a personal injury incident. 

Check for visible injuries

One of the first steps you should take is to check for injuries. Look for bruising, cuts, or burns on your body and anyone else involved in the accident. 

Do not ignore any feeling of dizziness, headaches, or ringing in the ears. These may be symptoms of a more serious injury requiring immediate medical attention.

Seek immediate medical attention 

After suffering an injury, you should call 911 for emergency medical attention if you can. And when your injuries don’t allow you to call for help, you should have someone call for you. The sooner you get medical attention, the better your chances are for recovery – both physically and financially.

Even if you initially feel fine or your injuries appear minor, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible to be evaluated by a doctor. Immediately after experiencing a personal injury, you may be in a state of shock, which may initially hide serious injuries. Also, injuries that appear to be minor at first may progressively get worse over time. 

Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after sustaining your injury also establishes a clear connection between your condition and the accident. This will benefit your legal claim later on.

Report the accident

You should contact the authorities as soon as possible to make a report of the incident. When you do, be sure to explain your side of the story.

But who should you contact to make a report? The answer depends on where the accident occurred. 

For example, if you were hurt in an auto accident, the police would make a detailed report of what occurred. If you were injured on another person’s property, an initial report would be made with the property owner, a property manager, or the police.

The incident report should contain the following: 

  • Details of what occurred
  • Where and when the accident happened
  • Information about any witnesses
  • A description of any injuries sustained 

Once a report has been made, you or your lawyer should obtain a copy. Such a report can be included as evidence that may directly impact the outcome of your personal injury claim.

Gather evidence related to the incident

If you can do so, gather as much evidence as possible about what occurred or else have someone do it for you. Take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries. 

If the injury was caused by a car accident, take photos of the following:

  • Hazards on the road
  • Street signs
  • Skid marks
  • Property damage
  • The position of all vehicles involved

You can use your phone to record what happened and how the accident occurred according to what you can remember. Ideally, you should do this while still at the scene of the accident since memory fades over time. Additionally, record witness statements since these could be crucial later in the claims process.

Keep a record of your injuries

In addition to recording statements regarding and taking pictures of your injury, you should also maintain a written record to document all its effects. In some cases, such a record may later bring to light certain details of the incident that may have been overlooked initially. 

Keep copies of any medical records, including diagnoses, procedures, and treatments that you receive related to your recovery and any expenses from repairs made to damaged property. Make sure you document any lost days from your employment. 

In addition to copies of medical expenses and lost wages, make periodic notations of your mental and emotional state while undergoing treatment. Such notations can be used to determine a fair amount of compensation for your damages suffered.

Hire an experienced personal injury attorney 

The value of hiring a personal injury attorney to represent your personal injury claim cannot be underestimated. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know how to go about performing a thorough investigation of the incident and how to pursue all responsible parties for compensation. 

Your personal injury attorney should know how to negotiate with insurance adjusters to attain a satisfactory settlement. If your losses exceed insurance limits, your personal injury lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit.

What You Should Not Do Immediately After Suffering a Personal Injury 

After suffering a personal injury, there are some negative steps that you would want to avoid taking since these can drastically affect the outcome of your legal case. 

What are the steps that you should avoid in the aftermath of a personal injury? Consider the following.

Do not admit fault

In the aftermath of an accident, it is never a good idea to admit that you are to blame. Do not admit fault, even if it initially appears that you were negligent in some way. Admitting fault can hurt your compensation claim. 

After a thorough investigation, other factors that may have contributed to the incident may be discovered. For instance, in the case of a car accident, a faulty part or even the weather could be two potential causes.

Do not ignore medical treatment or follow-up doctor’s visits 

You must follow through with any treatment plan your doctor stipulates for your recovery. This treatment plan may include prescription medications, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments. 

Failing to follow your doctor’s orders thoroughly could hinder your recovery progress as well as weaken your claim for compensation. You could also hurt your claim if you return to work too soon. 

Do not attempt to handle your case on your own

Far too many people have made the erroneous decision of trying to navigate a personal injury claim without legal representation, only to discover that the process is far more complicated than they initially thought. Worse still, many who have pursued a claim on their own have agreed to settle for an amount that is far less than they were legally entitled to receive. 

What if you make the decision to handle your personal injury claim on your own? You could find yourself in tough negotiations with adjusters from the opposing party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters are highly skilled at using tactics to lower the value of your claim. 

Also, you may potentially miss a filing deadline, which could put your entire case in jeopardy of being dismissed. For example, in Georgia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is 2 years from the date of injury. There are few exceptions to this statute, and if you miss the filing deadline, you could be barred from pursuing compensation, even if you have a valid claim.

Do not post anything on social media

In this day and age, many people choose to post what happens in their life on social media. However, in the aftermath of a personal injury accident, social media postings could potentially harm your compensation claim. 

Why is posting online potentially harmful to your claim? One reason is that multiple people reading your post means multiple opinions about your accident, which could lead to misinformation being spread about your legal case. 

Further, any post that shows you engaging in physical activities may be used by the opposing parties to lessen the amount of your settlement or even dismiss your personal injury claim entirely.

Speak With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away 

After suffering a personal injury, the best way to protect your rights is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible. 

A personal injury lawyer would be familiar with any legal deadlines so he or she could ensure that your claim is filed and resolved in a timely manner. Also, your lawyer would have the resources needed to perform a thorough investigation of the accident and calculate the total losses you could seek to recover as damages. 

At Hoffspiegel Law, our experienced team of personal injury lawyers knows very well the tactics used by insurance company adjusters and how to fight for fair compensation to cover your losses. You can trust that our legal warriors have the experience and resources needed to handle your personal injury case while you focus on healing.

You may be surprised by the peace of mind that comes with having dedicated, knowledgeable advocates on your side. So come speak to us at Hoffspiegel Law before the legal deadline to file your case expires.

Your initial consultation is free. During this session, we will discuss the details of your case, explain your legal options, and assess whether we are the right law firm to help you. Contact us today at (404) 760-8600, or click the Contact Us button to get started.