First Steps After An Injury - Simple Pro Tips
California Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury - Injured? First Steps After an Injury
First Steps After an injury, your life can be thrown into a state of chaos. One of the best ways to start getting your life back is to take the proper steps immediately after the accident. Your reaction to the injury can make all the difference in how the insurance companies will look at the accident - and this can mean a big difference in how much money you eventually get. By following the steps below, you'll save time and energy, too.
Step 1: Contact the Police
Immediately after an accident, contact the police. This is especially critical in cases like auto accidents, since the police need to document the accident and the fact that an injury occurred. Whether the accident occurred on public or private property, the police will create an accident report that can then be used to help prove that the injury happened.
Step 2: Get Medical Treatment
Seeking treatment immediately - directly from the scene of the accident if possible - is absolutely essential when an injury occurs. There may be cases where you don't recognize an injury immediately, but that does not mean that one is not present. If there is even a small possibility that an injury occurred, it is important that you get checked out at the closest emergency room. Alternatively, visit your primary care physician as soon as possible after the accident. This will generate medical records that will help in establishing the legitimacy of the injury.
Step 3: Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
In the vast majority of cases, an accident injury is best handled with the assistance of a personal injury attorney. The attorney will help in several ways. If the attorney is contacted very quickly after the injury they can handle most of the difficulties involved, which will take considerable stress off of your shoulders.
The lawyer will typically do all of the following on their client's behalf.
- Obtain a copy of the accident report from the police
- Investigate at the scene of the accident, if any evidence might remain there
- Identify and contact witnesses who were at the scene of the accident
- Compile a list of all monetary damages, including medical bills and time missed from your job
- Contact the insurance company representing the at-fault person to inform them that a claim will be filed
- Send an official demand letter that requests financial compensation for your injury
- Respond to any offers made by the insurance company, after discussing them with you
- Negotiate with the insurance company to work towards a fair settlement for you
- Receive the check from the insurance company and distribute it to you
- Take the case to court if necessary
Getting Sophisticated Pro Representation as a First Step
Although the vast majority of personal injury cases do end in settlement today, there are cases when an agreement simply can't be reached without litigation. In those situations, the attorney can file a lawsuit against the guilty party on your behalf. When the case goes to court, the attorney will be there to represent you by demonstrating clear and compelling evidence of your damages to the judge.
In some cases, the attorney may file a lawsuit when negotiations stall, but this does not necessarily mean that the case will ever make it to court. The fact that your attorney filed a lawsuit indicates a clear willingness to litigate, and a clear confidence in your proof of injury, to the insurance company. They may respond by submitting an additional settlement offer, which you can elect to take at any time up until the actual court date.
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