Accidents and Personal Injuries: First Steps
Pursuing legal action after accidents are delicate work with very little room for error. Even with the best personal injury or accident lawyer on your side, the tiniest detail can derail an entire case, drastically changing the outcome, and leaving you high and dry. That’s why it is important to take the right steps, ensuring that you lay the groundwork for a successful personal injury lawsuit or other satisfactory resolution.
Accidents with Personal Injury: Following the Incident
Immediately after the car accidents, slip and fall accidents, or other accidents, you may not be able to make a proper record of the inciting conditions—nor should you, if it will only serve to exacerbate your injuries. However, if you are able to, then the best thing to do at this time is to take pictures and notes. Photos of poorly-maintained walkways, in the event of a slip and fall injury for example, can go a long way to proving that you were not at fault for your own injury (what is known as “contributory negligence” in legal terms), whereas photos of the damage done to your car in a car accident can smooth things over with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Taking down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of consenting witnesses is also a strong aid in your case, as your personal injury lawyer will be able to call on them if needed.
When you make the decision to take legal action, you should notify the defendant immediately. The major benefit to this is that it could increase your chances of settling out-of-court, which may be preferable for you if your injuries would make a court case overly difficult or painful for you (remember, however, that just because a settlement is offered does not mean you are obligated to accept it).
Next, be sure to file your claim within the timeframe mandated by law. A personal injury or car accident lawyer may be able to help you get an extension under extenuating circumstances, but it is best not to leave it until the last minute, as doing so could seriously undermine your case—especially if you are relying on witness testimony. Time is the enemy of memory.
Being Prepared for Anything
These steps are only a guideline, based on a very typical personal injury case. There are many variables that could change along the way, bringing in new steps and ultimately changing the course that your case takes. The best way to be absolutely sure that you are taking the correct actions is to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.