What Should I Do After an Accident? 5 Steps to Take After an Injury
If you or someone you care about was recently injured – from a car accident, trip and fall, slip and fall, or dog bite, then you should remember these five steps.
- Take multiple photos or videos of the scene of the accident and your injuries: In our pockets we possess the fruit of human intelligence: a smart phone. Why not use it when you are injured? We know a picture is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth much more. In a potential lawsuit, photos and videos of the scene of the accident and injuries serve as valuable evidence. No matter what the other person or company who caused the accident may falsely say about what happened, a photo or video is irrefutable.
- Ask witnesses for their contact information: How can you resolve a dispute involving he said or she said? Use “they” said. By “they”, I mean an independent witness who saw how the accident occurred and how you were injured. After an accident, you may understandably be preoccupied with your injuries and what happened; however, you should also take a moment to think ahead. By preserving the contact information of any witnesses, your lawyers can later contact the witnesses to provide critical evidence about what they saw and what really happened. The witnesses may even have photos or videos too.
- Go to a hospital or family doctor as soon as possible: Not all injuries are major or life threatening. Even for small or medium injuries, it is vital for you to visit a medical professional and truthfully describe what happened and what your injuries are. Thus, you should visit a hospital or family doctor to be checked out as soon as possible after you are injured. Often what you may think is a minor injury can later turn out to be more severe than you thought.
- Do not sign anything or enter into any side agreement: Napkin agreements after an accident should never be considered or entered into. Typically, one person takes advantage of the other person in a side agreement. If you sign away your legal rights to sue or report an accident, in exchange for a certain amount of money (usually too little), then you are forgetting that in the future, your injuries may worsen, you may be unable to work or gain income, or you may be unable to afford any future treatment or care that you may later need. Don’t be in a rush to sign anything.
- Talk to a lawyer: Most lawyers who help injured people allow free initial consultations. It does not cost any money to call or email a lawyer to find out what are your rights and any next steps. In personal injury cases, you have a limited time period to take certain important steps, and if that time period passes, then you may be prevented from obtaining any compensation. Further, a lawyer can help you navigate through the complex legal process to obtain treatment, benefits, and compensation.