Suffering a personal injury always comes as a shock. You may be facing unexpected medical bills and property damage while your injury prevents you from working. If someone else caused the accident, you may be able to pursue legal action against them and recover compensation for your losses. Whether your accident occurred in Huntsville, TX, Navasota, TX, or elsewhere in the state, it’s important to take the following eight steps and speak to a personal injury lawyer without delay.
8 Important Steps To Take After Sustaining a Personal Injury
1. Seek Immediate Medical Care
Following any kind of accident, first and foremost, check yourself for injuries, and if you’re hurt, seek emergency medical attention. Even if you believe you’re uninjured, it’s important to see a doctor promptly: the very same day would be ideal.
When you’ve just been in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or any other kind of accident, it’s safest to assume that your injuries are worse than you first realize. Adrenaline can sometimes mask pain and hide the severity of an injury from you. And some potentially serious injuries like concussion, whiplash, spinal cord damage, organ damage, or internal bleeding may only start causing pain and other symptoms hours, days, or even weeks later.
Failing to Seek Medical Care May Harm Your Claim
There are also significant financial reasons for seeking out a doctor as soon as you can after an accident. If you intend to pursue compensation for your losses, your attorney will need to prove that your injuries are as serious as you claim them to be. You’ll also need to prove that your injuries originated from the accident and not elsewhere.
But if you fail to visit a physician until days or weeks later, the insurance company may have grounds to dispute both of these claims. So no matter how you feel, get immediate medical attention following any accident. Also, make sure you keep medical records and bills from all visits with medical professionals.
2. Promptly Call the Police
No matter what kind of accident you’ve experienced, it’s wise to think in terms of potential insurance claims or lawsuits. Later on, your attorney will need all the evidence they can get to ensure you win a full and fair settlement, and one crucial piece of evidence in many personal injury cases is the police report.
It’s best to call the police for most accidents, especially car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. If you’re unsure whether the police would be appropriate for your particular accident, call an attorney at once to find out. When you later obtain a copy of the police report, it will help prove that the accident happened as you say it did.
You Have a 10-Day Reporting Deadline in Huntsville, TX, and Navasota, TX
In Texas, you must report any car accident that involves an injury, death, or over $1,000 of vehicle damage. And you must do so within ten days. Even if you don’t think your accident meets these criteria, always call the police: you never know what kind of hidden damage has been caused to either you or your car.
While Texan law gives you a deadline of ten days to report a car accident, it’s best to call the police on the day of the accident. If the police come right away, they’ll observe the scene firsthand, and their report may include useful information you’ll need later.
3. Document Everything at the Accident Scene
Don’t count on reports from the police and doctors alone to prove your claim. At the scene of the accident, if you’re in a condition to do so, use your phone to take pictures and capture videos of everything. This kind of evidence can prove invaluable for your attorney and an accident reconstruction expert to later draw upon while building your case.
In your photos and videos, try to capture the exact vehicle positioning, any vehicle damage, any injuries caused, any skid marks on the road, debris or glass on the road, nearby road signs, weather conditions, and anything else of possible relevance. Take pictures close up, from farther away, and from various angles and levels of elevation. If your accident happened on someone else’s property, take equally detailed pictures of the hazardous conditions before the property owner cleans them away.
Ask Someone Else To Gather Evidence If You Cannot
Needless to say, if you’ve suffered a very serious injury, don’t hesitate to call an ambulance immediately. In this situation, ideally, you should have a friend or family member rush to the accident scene to document evidence. Alternatively, you can contact a local personal injury lawyer who can hire a specialist accident scene investigator to handle this early stage of evidence collection for you.
4. Collect Eyewitness Contact Details
Eyewitness statements also frequently provide valuable evidence in an insurance claim or court case. If you see any eyewitnesses, approach them and politely ask for their contact details. Your lawyer can then later ask them for statements or testimony.
5. Report the Accident to the Appropriate Authority
If you’ve suffered an accident at work or on someone else’s property, it’s also important to immediately report your accident to the appropriate authority. In the workplace, this might be your supervisor or human resources. On someone else’s premises, it might be the business owner, property manager, or property owner.
Request an official accident report form or book to fill out. Just be wary of how much information you provide. Certainly don’t admit any fault at this early stage, which would greatly hinder your chances of winning a lawsuit later on. If asked who caused your accident, you can state that it was the employer or property owner who allowed the hazardous conditions to exist, or simply say you’re not sure at this time.
6. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders to the Letter
In the days and weeks following your accident, do everything your physician asks you to do. Once again, if you neglect to attend a follow-up appointment or follow a prescribed course of antibiotics, the insurance company can use that as evidence to discredit the value of your claim.
If you’ve suffered a significant injury at work, you can even expect your employer to have special investigators follow you around. If you’re supposed to be recovering in bed at home, and they catch you eating out one lunchtime, your claim may be discredited.
7. Keep a Journal of All Your Injury Symptoms
Starting soon after the accident, keep a detailed journal of all your injury symptoms. Include any physical pain and emotional suffering you’re experiencing, including anxiety, depression, and loss of sleep. Your lawyer can later use this journal to both calculate and support your damages.
8. Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Filing Your Claim
Following most accidents, it’s usually unwise to approach an insurance company and file a personal injury claim before speaking with an experienced lawyer. Lawyers know the law and understand how to file a claim properly, without making costly mistakes.
Your lawyer can evaluate your claim, explain your legal rights and options, calculate your damages, and then start gathering evidence to build a strong case. Without legal representation, claimants frequently receive far less financial compensation than they deserve. A lawyer can help ensure that doesn’t happen to you.
If you’d like a seasoned personal injury lawyer to represent you, contact Brian C. Gutierrez today at (979) 364 5346 for a free consultation. Brian is an award-winning trial lawyer who has been helping accident victims like you win fair compensation for fifteen years in Huntsville, TX, and Navasota, TX, and the surrounding region.