Unexpected accidents are among the most disturbing and shocking experiences a person can have. Healing and recovering from a severe accident can take a long time. Fortunately, there is a 9-step process every person should follow after a personal injury. This post will cover the nine steps that everyone should take after a personal injury of any kind.
How Do You Define Personal Injury?
In general, personal injury refers to injuries caused by accidents, intentional acts, or other people’s negligence. These are often called “tort” cases, which are solved as a civil matter rather than a criminal one. However, in some cases, a criminal court may become involved. Nevertheless, personal injury is a tort for which the plaintiff can receive compensation for physical or emotional harm suffered due to an injury. According to the personal injury law firm Bey & Associates, these types of lawsuits are filed against an individual or company that negligently caused the injuries and aimed to get the maximum compensation possible. Such parties are called “defendants,” and the harmed party is called the “plaintiff.” Some of the most common causes include (but are not limited to):
- Vehicle accidents: When you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault due to negligent driving, this could be considered a personal injury case.
- Medical malpractice: In such cases, the patient usually suffers injury caused by the medical practitioner’s negligence.
- Wrongful death: Your family carries out these cases on your behalf and is the most extreme example of what can be considered personal injury.
- Workplace accident: The definition of workplace injury is a physical injury sustained due to work duties. Injuries and illnesses at work cost the U.S. economy billions annually.
- Premises liability: The area of law dealing with an individual’s liability for injuries sustained on the property of another individual.
- Product liability: if someone is injured due to a defective product, they have cause to initiate a lawsuit to recover damages.
As you can see, there are numerous categories of personal injury, and each type requires lawyers specializing in both the overall theory and the particulars. However, if you were involved in any of those situations, you must follow a nine-step procedure to ensure your health is not compromised further and that you get the compensation you deserve.
What Are The Nine Steps That Everyone Should Follow After An Accident?
After an accident, anyone involved in the incident must take specific steps. Taking these steps ensures that your health remains stable, you gather all of the necessary information for a claim, and that you can initiate proceedings against the responsible party. However, it is crucial to remember waiting for emergency services to arrive is the best course of action following a critical injury. These steps are intended to be general guidelines.
- Be Sure To Check For Injuries
Following an accident, you must check for any injuries that you may have sustained. Taking stock of the situation and determining whether additional steps need to be taken is a vital step. You should, however, wait for emergency responders to arrive if you have serious injuries or are in critical condition. Moreover, if you are in a critical condition and attempt to extricate yourself from the situation, you might ruin chances of successful litigation. In this case, the plaintiff might argue that you caused yourself further harm.
- Don’t Leave The Scene
Although it is tempting to leave the accident scene if you don’t feel you have sustained an apparent injury, you should stay until an appropriate time. You may have injuries that you are unaware of or take time to manifest, and if you leave prematurely, you will drastically lessen your chances of winning a case. A person suffering from an internal injury may not realize the extent of their injuries until it is too late. It is therefore imperative that you wait until paramedics arrive and check you out at the scene.
- You Should Contact Emergency Services
Depending on the nature of the accident, you may need to call the police, the fire department, or paramedics. All three may be necessary in some cases. You can decide what services are required based on your judgment, and in most cases, you know who to contact. Depending on the accident’s severity, some form of emergency service should be notified to provide an official accident report. You can use this report in any future legal action.
- Exchange Information With Those Involved
The next step will depend on the type and severity of the accident. Exchanging information is mainly centered around motor vehicle and workplace accidents or where there is another party involved.
- Speak To Witnesses
It would be wise to obtain the contact information of any witnesses to the accident if they would be willing to provide it. This could be used as evidence at trial and might give you an advantage over the opposition.
- Take Photos
In this day and age, almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera. Taking photos of the accident could make or break your ability to gain damages to pay for medical expenses.
- Maintain Medical And Property Damage Records
Organize your notes on the medical expenses and other damages you have incurred. By making detailed notes, you will have a solid number to present your attorney. By doing this, you will have a better chance of getting compensation to cover expensive medical bills.
- Consult With An Attorney
Once the dust has settled, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible. They will advise you on whether you have a case or not, as well as the steps involved in bringing a civil lawsuit to court. Make sure the lawyer you select for your injury case has specialized knowledge in your field of injury.
- Avoid Talking About Your Case
If you are involved in a court case, you should not discuss anything except with your lawyer and doctor. While this is not a requirement for civil cases like criminal ones, you still risk divulging information that could scupper your case.
The above steps are essential to take to avoid injury-related complications. Taking care of your body after an injury is one aspect, but you should also consider your legal rights. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced personal injury lawyer, who can assist you with recovering compensation for your injuries.