Action Tips - Personal Injury
Report collisions to the police no matter how minor it may seem. Don’t cave into pressure from another driver not to make a police report. The report is important for your protection in the event that the other driver denies the collision took place, denies fault or later accuses you of wrongdoing.
Report animal bites to animal control no matter how minor it may seem. Don’t cave into pressure from the owner of the animal not to make a report. The report is important for your health and safety and the safety of others in the event that the animal owner denies the bite took place, denies fault or later accuses you of wrongdoing.
Provide an honest report to the police or other authorities. Do not exaggerate. Do not assume blame. You may be in a state of shock and not thinking clearly so that you may not be aware of all of the facts. Let the police or other authorities and your insurance company make a preliminary determination as to who was at fault based upon an investigation of all of the facts and witness statements.
Accept medical treatment if you believe that you are injured. If you do not seek immediate medical treatment because you are trying to tough it out, many insurance companies will claim that your injuries are fake or not caused by the collision.
If you are able and it is safe to do so, when involved in motor vehicle or similar collisions, check on the condition of the other person(s) involved in the collision, exchange contact and insurance information and write down the names and addresses of any witnesses. That may be your only chance to identify eyewitnesses who leave the scene of a collision before police arrive.
If you are able and it is safe to do so, when involved in motor vehicle or similar collisions, take steps to preserve important evidence, take photographs of the scene of the collision, the vehicles, tractors, trailers, bicycles, pedestrian signs, the roadway, skid marks, obstructions, traffic signals, brake lights, turn signals and anything else relevant to the collision. Take pictures from multiple angles. Ask family and friends to help if you are unable to do so.
Take photographs of bruises, cuts, bites, infections, scars, bandages, casts and any other evidence of your injuries promptly, before they disappear as a part of the natural healing process.
Do not wait to seek medical treatment for new or worsening symptoms. The full extent of what may at first seem like a minor injury may not become apparent until hours or even days following the injury, after the adrenaline rush is over, inflammation develops and pain sets in. The longer you try to tough it out and without seeking medical treatment, the more difficult it will be to prove that your injuries were caused by the incident.
Promptly follow up with your doctor and fully describe all of your symptoms. Your doctor needs complete information in order to make sure that you are getting the treatment you need. The descriptions of injuries set forth in your medical records are also important evidence for your claim.
Report collisions to your own insurance company. Do not provide a statement to the other person’s insurance company in the likely event that they call you. Remember -- they are trying to protect themselves and their insureds, not you.
post comments or other information regarding the event or your injuries on social media. The use of social media in such situations can be dangerous and detrimental to your interests. If posts have already been made (even if you think the information was posted with limited access privileges), print out paper copies of the postings and preserve them electronically; but take them down and adjust your security settings to make your postings private. You want to preserve evidence and not later be accused of destroying it.
If you are aware of any information posted on social media by others that pertains to your matter, print out paper copies of the postings and preserve them electronically. Such postings are often deleted and there may be no means of retrieving them electronically.
Get a copy of any police or other governmental authority’s reports. Check to see if they are accurate. Police officers and other investigators are human and mistakes happen. Correcting or at least noting errors on a report should be done as soon as possible.
Keep notes on important dates, expenses, time and income lost from work and changes in your routines or ability to do things that you would normally have done, that were caused by your injuries.
Do not cave into pressure from an insurance company to sign a release or a check that includes or is accompanied by a release until you have complete information about the extent of your injuries and any subrogation claims. If you sign a release and an injury worsens or shows up later, you cannot make another claim for medical treatment. The signing of that release will have the effect of forfeiting the right to pursue a further claim. As the saying goes, there is one bite at the apple for claims against the person that caused your injuries.
If you try to settle a claim without the assistance of an attorney - a practice we do not recommend for a variety of reasons - identify any subrogation claims and account for those liens in your settlement. You may be required to pay those liens from any recovery you receive.
The above are just some examples of ways in which you might protect yourself in the event you sustain a personal injury caused by the wrongful acts of another person. An attorney will be able to advise you as to additional means and how best to accomplish your objectives.
Consult a dispute resolution firm such as Jacobs & Barney to evaluate your case, advise you as to its strengths and weaknesses, assist you in your decision-making processes to resolve the dispute and work towards a satisfactory and cost-effective resolution to your problem.