A serious accident can cause a spike in adrenaline, concealing injuries and making it difficult to determine what to do next. If you suffer serious injuries in an accident, from a car accident to a slip and fall, however, the steps you take immediately following that accident can have a huge impact on both your physical recovery and the compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries. Follow these steps following an accident to help protect yourself.
If you have been in an accident with serious injuries, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes who can give you a better idea of your rights.
Step One: Seek Medical Attention Immediately
In the case of severe injuries, including injuries like hip fractures from a slip and fall, you may need emergency transport to the emergency room to seek immediate treatment. Even if you believe you suffered only minor injuries in your accident, however, seek medical attention immediately.
A doctor can properly diagnose your injuries and prepare a treatment plan that may help prevent you from worsening those injuries. Not only that, your trip to the hospital or an urgent care facility provides a record of exactly when your injuries occurred, which can prevent the liable party from trying to claim that your injuries occurred at a different time or under different circumstances.
Keep track of all medical treatment. To file your personal injury claim and show how much compensation you need for your medical bills, your attorney may need to collect those bills. Further, your medical records can show vital evidence concerning the extent of your injuries and the limitations they cause.
Step Two: Report the Accident
If you suffer serious injuries in an auto accident, call the police and an ambulance. If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall or construction accident, notify the owner of the premises as soon as possible. Reporting the accident will result in an incident report. This incident report can serve as a vital piece of evidence when you later file a personal injury claim. Likewise, any time you suffer an injury at work, you should follow the proper protocol for reporting an accident.
If you suffer serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, that cause you to lose consciousness or prevent you from moving safely around the scene of the accident, do not do anything that could worsen your injuries.
In addition to reporting the accident to the police or to the business where your accident occurred, you may need to become familiar with your health insurance plan, if you’re insured. This will help you get a better idea of what you can expect in terms of coverage for your medical expenses.
You may need, for example, to know many physical therapy sessions your plan will cover, or how much you can expect to pay for deductibles and copays. You should also look into your out of pocket maximum for your medical expenses each year.
Step Three: Collect Evidence, if You Can
At the scene of the accident, if possible, you should collect evidence. You may want to take photos of the accident scene or collect contact information from any witnesses. You may also want to immediately note any details about the accident that you can remember, since trauma can cause your memory to fade quickly after an accident. Further, look for traffic cameras.
In many cases, however, your injuries may prevent you from taking this step. An attorney can help collect evidence even after the initial accident. Do not collect evidence if it places you at risk in any way, including worsening your injuries.
Step Four: Contact an Attorney
As soon after your accident as possible, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help collect evidence about your accident, including consulting witnesses, looking for any video footage of the accident, and reviewing the accident scene.
Not only that, a personal injury attorney can provide you with more information about the compensation you deserve for your injuries and prevent you from accepting a settlement offer that does not reflect the full amount you deserve. Finally, an attorney can advocate for you if you must take your claim to court to recover the compensation you deserve.
After an auto accident, your attorney will contact both the defendant’s and your auto insurance company and notify them about the accident. You want your lawyers to handle all important communication with insurance adjusters to prevent you from possibly saying the wrong thing and damaging your own case.
Your own auto insurance may provide medical payment coverage. Further, there may be uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage that can offer assistance after an accident with an individual who does not carry adequate insurance.
Finally, contact a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company that covers the liable party. This settlement offer usually will not fully reflect your needs, and an attorney can help you decide whether to take the offer or retain counsel.
Step Five: Follow Your Doctors’ Recommendations
In the case of serious injuries, you may need to work with several doctors to find a treatment protocol that will allow you to regain as much functionality as possible. Follow all recommendations given by your doctors.
In the case of injuries like spinal cord injuries, for example, you may need extensive physical therapy or occupational therapy to help restore as much mobility as possible. In the case of broken bones, you may need to decrease your activities while recovering so you can avoid doing further damage to your body.
Following your doctors’ recommendations can help you heal as much as possible. It also helps show that you have done your part in your recovery, which can prevent the liable party from showing that you contributed to your own injuries or stood in the way of your own recovery, which can ultimately decrease the compensation you receive for your accident.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
Following an accident with serious injuries, an attorney from Abels & Annes can give you a better idea of your rights, including how much compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon after your accident as possible.