Each personal injury case is different as no two injuries are the same. While we treat each client as an individual with unique needs, there are general rules which apply to any injury claim. By following these rules, you will greatly increase the chances that your personal injury case will have a satisfactory outcome.
- Do not make a statement at the scene of the accident. This includes giving statements to the police or to other people at the scene. You are most likely not in a condition to give an accurate account of what occurred because usually you are under the effect of the moment. Your adrenaline is pumping, you are angry, and you are probably in pain. That is no time to make a statement which will have a direct effect on your right to recover for the damages which you have sustained. Saying the wrong thing, even by mistake, can reduce your right to recover for your damages, or worse, eliminate your right altogether. Simply tell the officer that you are not in a condition to make a statement at that time and that you want to get to the hospital to be treated. Assure him or her that you will be happy to make a statement at a later date after you have received medical attention. You may be pushed to give a statement but stand your ground. You have the right to calm down and reflect before talking to anyone. You can call us at 1-800-321-8968 to discuss the facts of your case prior to speaking with anyone.
- If you are physically able, record the names and contact information of all witnesses. If you are physically unable to do this but have someone with you who can, have them do it. Do not assume that the police will do this for you. Many times the investigating officer assumes the case against the defendant is clear and, therefore, does not record the names of witnesses. This can complicate your case if the defendant’s insurance company determines that you are either solely or partially at fault.
- If you are physically able, take photographs of the accident scene to include the location of the vehicles involved and any debris in the road. Make sure to take photographs from a distance so that they have perspective. If there is a question about in which lane the accident occurred, a photograph of a piece of a vehicle in the road is meaningless. Seeing where in the road the evidence sits in relation to the scene as a whole is critical. If you are physically unable to do this but have someone with you who can, have them do it for you.
- Do not give a statement to any insurance company (the defendant’s or yours) without first consulting with an attorney. Any statement that you make may be used against you in the future. Remember, if you end up going to court, it will likely be more than a year after the accident. If you make a statement at trial which differs from your original statement, that discrepancy will be used to attack your credibility. This is why you are not legally obligated to give a statement in most instances. Prior to giving a statement to anyone feel free to contact us at 1-800-321-8968.
- Seek medical attention and make the medical professionals treating you aware of all pain that you are experiencing regardless of how minor. It is important to do this in order to prevent an insurance company from later claiming that your injury is not a result of the accident. Most of us do not run to the doctor with minor aches and pains. This common trait is often used by insurance companies to deny claims. By way of example, assume that you are in an accident and escape with only minor shoulder pain. You assume that your shoulder will heal up after a week or two. However, after two months your shoulder is still hurting and seems to be getting worse. If your first complaint of shoulder pain to a medical professional is two months after the accident, the insurance company will claim that it is not related to the accident. To make matters worse, if your case ends up going to trial, they will have a doctor who will agree with them. Seek medical attention and make the medical professionals treating you aware of all pain that you are experiencing regardless of how minor.
- Follow the directives of the medical professional treating your injuries, and do not miss appointments. Missing appointments sends the message that your injuries are healed and that you no longer require treatment. Remember that your doctors will be among the most important witnesses in your personal injury claim. They will not be able to help a judge or jury understand the full extent of your injuries if you have not cooperated with them and followed their directives.
- Not a single aspect of your personal injury claim should be discussed or recorded on social media. Stay off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other social media sites. Also, refrain from texting about your accident or injuries. Insurance companies routinely surf social media in order to find information that they can use to attack your credibility. If an innocent comment or picture can in anyway be construed in a manner inconsistent with the claims that you are making, the insurance company will use it. Do not assume that your privacy settings will protect you. If you are required to file a law suit, the insurance company will subpoena the contents of your social media accounts and/or cell phone. Consider all aspects of your personal injury claim private and share them only with your attorney.
Remember that if you are injured by someone else, you will only have one opportunity to recover for your injuries. Do not leave anything to chance. If you believe that you have been the victim of negligence contact one of our lawyers at 1-800-321-8968. You may also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are experienced personal injury attorneys who understand your case and care about your unique needs.