November 10, 2017
Anyone involved in an accident needs to collect as much information as they can before going to a lawyer.
“The first step is to see the family doctor and explain what happened in the accident, taking care of your health is the top priority.”
Documenting the events from the start is crucial, including with a medical professional.
It would also be a good idea to go back to the scene or have a family friend take pictures and measurements of the area as soon as they can.
How the accident occurred and the impact it had on the victim is essential in a personal injury case. And getting a proper diagnosis and treatment are optimal for recovery. In a slip and fall, also known as an occupier’s liability claim, the focus is on both getting medical help as soon as possible and on who’s to blame.
If the accident victim is hospitalized, that documentation will automatically be generated. Otherwise, it is up to the victim to chronicle everything that happens after that.
“Slip and fall cases, especially, are notorious for the person who was injured being blamed in whole or in part for the injury, so if they can, they should establish the fact that there was uneven pavement, for example, that caused the accident. And it’s very important to get the precise area where the accident occurred; that’s why pictures are so important.”
The exact cause of the accident needs to be established as soon as possible.
If someone is injured after slipping on ice, pictures of the conditions and the exact area where that fall occurred could help tell the story. But that opportunity is missed once a thaw occurs. S/he points to an area under construction, where changes occur regularly as the construction proceeds until final completion. That may not be as important in a car accident, but even then, pictures could still be helpful.
While contacting the insurance company is obligatory in a motor vehicle accident, it may not be as intuitive to call them in other situations. The best approach in this type of scenario is to tread carefully.
“It is in the insurance company’s best interests to pay out as little as possible and, in litigation, any information an accident victim provides may be used against them.”
While it’s important to answer their questions, it’s also critical to see the big picture, and that’s where it’s helpful to get the advice of a lawyer.
I advise the best approach is to move swiftly. If a lawsuit follows, there are certain time limitations for the processes.
Receipts could also be helpful for a claim. I suggest keeping receipts for any medical expenses related to an accident, which could include the cost of transportation to a medical appointment.
I also offer a salient piece of advice for those seeking compensation following an accident: Be careful of what you post on social media.
While the focus on Facebook is often to post positive pictures or stories, that could prove detrimental in a personal injury claim.
Posting pictures of happy travels, recreation or even dancing at a wedding could leave the impression that things are just fine.
“So an insurance company can go to Facebook and show that you were able to dance at that wedding, that’s where you have to be careful.
“This is one of the situations where it’s an easy way for the insurance company to leave the impression that a person is not being fully truthful about their injuries.”