If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, following the guidelines of the personal injury action checklist can help to save you a lot of grief. After an accident that results in a personal injury the best next step you can take to protect your rights is to enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Many people make critical mistakes early on in their personal injury case like waiting longer than they should to contact an experienced accident lawyer. The personal injury action checklist can help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
Things You Should NOT do Following a Personal Injury Accident
Typically a personal injury action checklist is chock full of things you should do, but there are a few things that you should not do if you have been injured. Many people make similar mistakes after an accident, you can avoid them by remembering not to do these things:
- Don’t admit fault for the accident at the scene. It may seem like the honest thing to say if you slip and fall at the local grocery store by saying “oh these shoes are slippery on the bottom and I slid on the wet floor”. Once you utter those words you have just given the grocery store a great defense. There is no reason to accuse or accept responsibility at the scene of the accident.
- Be careful what you say to the insurance adjuster when they call. The insurance adjuster will likely contact you within the first 24 hours after an accident. Just share the facts of the incident, do not make comments like “I feel fine” or “I was not injured at all” the first 24 hours is far too soon to determine if you have been injured or not. If you make statements like that it may come back to haunt you.
- Never ever leave the scene of the accident. Many car accident victims will leave the scene once they have the other driver’s information. Unfortunately, many times the other driver is giving false information. Stay on the scene and wait for help to arrive.
Some other things that you should not do include paying for medical care, paying to repair damages to your vehicle, or paying an attorney up front to represent you in the personal injury claim. You should also avoid having conversations with well meaning friends and family members that want to advise you to not hire a lawyer.
Many accident victims wait to call in a lawyer to handle their claim because they know someone who did it on their own or a family member told them not to do it. The fact is you need a lawyer in these matters to ensure you are not taken advantage of.
Personal Injury Action Checklist for The Things You Should Do
A personal injury action checklist has to start with the scene of the accident. It is important from the minute that the accident occurs that you take the right steps to protect your rights. Whether you are involved in a trucking accident or a slip and fall incident, the steps are exactly that same:
- Wait for the authorities. It is important that someone in authority takes a statement from you and prepares an accident report. For example, if you slip in a store, you want to be sure that you notify the manager, not just a store clerk. You want the accident to be recorded. The same is true of a car accident, do not leave the scene, stay put until the police arrive. That initial statement can be vital to the success of your accident claim.
- Get witnesses’ phone numbers. If you are able to get information about witnesses at the scene of the accident, it is a good idea to do that. Having someone else verify the details of the accident can help if your claim needs to go to court.
- Get healthcare attention. Any time you have been injured in an accident it is strongly recommended that you get medical attention. A lot of people make the mistake of not seeking healthcare right away because they are in shock and they just want to get home but wind up dealing with pain and other symptoms a few days later. You do not necessarily have to seek out emergency care if your injuries are manageable but you should get checked out.
What you do in the days following the accident are just as important as what you do at the scene of the accident. Whiplash can set in sometimes as much as 48 hours after a car accident. You want to be sure that you take care of your health and get the care that you need.
An online doctor will not be able to diagnose certain injuries, you do want to make an appointment or head over to urgent care to get checked out, if you choose not to get emergency care.
Personal Injury Action Checklist In the Days that Follow
After the accident, there are a few things that you want to make sure that you do. First as soon as practical consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. There are a few reasons you want to consult with a personal injury attorney including:
- Ensuring your rights to medical care and compensation for the injury are protected. An experienced lawyer is your best advocate after an accident injury.
- Personal injury matters can be very stressful, a lawyer will help to keep the stress off. Your lawyer can act as your advocate and liaison between you and the insurance company. There will be less for you to worry about.
- Your lawyer can help you to get the outcome that you are hoping for with your personal injury claim.
It can be tough to navigate a personal injury claim on your own. The insurance companies have teams of lawyers that are ready to fight your claim. Hiring an attorney as early as possible will help to even out the playing field and help you to ensure you are treated fairly.
Once you have hired an attorney, you want to be sure that you keep your doctors appointment. It is understood that it can be hard to get around after a personal injury and going back and forth to the doctor can be taxing, but it is vital that you keep your appointments.
Showing your desire to get back on your feet again is important to your injury claim. For example, many car accidents and slip and fall victims have to see orthopedic doctors for care, which can mean going to the doctors every two weeks or so. Keep your appointments it is how you will get better.
Personal Injury Action Checklist For Keeping Documents
While in most cases all of the documents relative to your claim will go directly to your attorney, in some cases they will come to you. If you receive anything about your claim, make sure you send a copy to your lawyer.
You will collect a lot of documents for your claim including:
- Medical documents from your doctor’s appointments like diagnostic testing results, diagnosis, and more.
- Bills and other payment requests. You likely will get bills from the doctor, hospital and other entities involved in your care and the accident. Send them to your lawyer. Do not pay the bills that you get.
- Correspondence from the insurance company, other law firms, and more. Anything that is relative to the accident should be sent to your lawyer.
Keep copies of anything that you get from the insurance company or any parties that are involved in the accident. A strong paper trail can be very powerful in accident claim cases.
Your lawyer can manage any documents that you receive. You do not have to deal with the burden of answering any notices, that is what your lawyer is for. You do want to keep a copy of anything that you receive just in case the document does not reach your attorney.
Personal Injury Action Checklist During Your Case
It can take a while to settle a personal injury claim, and during the time that the claim is pending, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:
- The insurance adjuster is not your friend. Insurance adjusters can be very nice, but they are employees of the insurance company and they are not there to help you. Once you hire an attorney, anything that the insurance adjuster has to say must go through your attorney, however, that does not mean that rule is always adhered to. If the adjuster calls you, let them know to contact your lawyer.
- You also want to be careful about who you speak to about the accident. Harmless conversation about the accident can be twisted. A good rule of thumb is to not talk about the accident with anybody outside your family or the law firm.
- Be patient. Many personal injury victims get frustrated with the speed at which their case moves along. The fact is that the insurance company will not make an offer to settle the claim until you have reached MMI (maximum medical improvement). Read more about MMI below.
Maximum medical improvement is determined by your team of doctors. Basically MMI means, that you have improved to the point that you will improve. That there is nothing left medically that can be done to improve your condition or injury.
In some cases personal injury MMI happens in a short period of time, in other cases in can take years to reach. You do not want to accept a settlement before your doctor determines that you have reached the point where there is nothing left to do. It is for your benefit.
Personal Injury Action Checklist in the Case of Wrongful Death
A wrongful death suit is brought about by family members when a loved one loses their life because of someone’s negligence. It is important that you have an attorney on your side that is experienced in these matters.
There is no way to put a price tag on a loved one’s life, but that does not want a wrongful death suit is about. The only way to get justice for your loved one and to keep the same thing from happening to someone else is to fight for justice with a wrongful death suit.
Making sure that you get the justice for your loved one that they deserve requires that you are able to work with your attorney to build a case. There are a few things that you should bring to the attorney’s office to help build a winning case:
- Be able to explain the circumstances of the death. If it is easier for you to write things down to communicate the event than write it all down. Make special note of when the negligence occurred. Dates, names of the people that were involved, and any contact information that you have is also important to include.
- Before you meet with your attorney of choice be sure that you have the death certificate. This document is very important because it lists the cause of death.
- If you have medical records, an autopsy report, witness statements or any correspondence that is relative to the case bring it with you.
The more information you can provide your attorney the more information the attorney will have to come up with a winning strategy. It can be very painful to rehash the situation, and the right attorney will understand that. You can expect to find compassion for your situation that you need from an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Personal Injury Action Checklist and Knowing Your Rights
Don’t take advice from insurance adjusters. They are not on your side. You have the right to get health care for your injuries and you have the right to go to the doctor of your choice. You do not have to go to the doctor that the insurance company sends you to. The same is true of any property damage. You do not have to take your car to a specific shop to get the work done.
Protect your rights by having a legal expert on your side.