If you have suffered injuries in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, there are certain things you should do after being involved in the accident. The steps you take after suffering an injury will affect your right to compensation.
There are certain things you should take after an accident to ensure the best chance of receiving fair and full compensation for your accident injury. Consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney to help you understand what to do after an accident injury and fight for the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
10 Steps to Take After an Accident Injury
If you were involved in an accident and suffered an injury, there are specific steps you should take to protect your health and legal rights to ensure that you receive the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
1. Reporting the Accident
Reporting the accident is a critical step to document the fact that the accident occurred. If you suffered an injury in a car accident, you need to call 911 and notify law enforcement.
The requirements for reporting car accidents vary from one state to another. In Arizona, law enforcement officers must prepare a report if a crash resulted in bodily injuries, deaths, or property damage exceeding $2,000 (Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-667).
The police officer who arrives at the scene of your accident will prepare a police report and perform a preliminary investigation. In some cases, the responding police officer can say who was at fault for the accident by examining the scene of the crash and interviewing witnesses.
If you suffered an injury in another accident (not a motor vehicle crash), it might still be necessary to report your accident:
- Injuries on someone else’s property. If you suffered an injury in an accident on someone else’s residential or commercial property, you will need to notify the owner or occupier of the property.
- Injuries in workplace accidents. If you suffered injuries in a workplace accident, you will need to notify your supervisor or employer.
Reporting your accident promptly will affect your ability to receive the compensation you deserve. If you fail to report your accident immediately, the insurance company may argue that you did not suffer an injury in that accident.
2. Collect Witness Contact Information
In most accidents, there is at least one witness who saw how the accident happened. Witness statements play a critical role in the outcome of any personal injury case, whether you suffered an injury in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or workplace accident.
Unless your injuries prevent you from talking to anyone at the scene of the accident, get the names and contact information of any witnesses. If you cannot move or write down the names and contact information of the witnesses, ask someone else to do this for you.
Witness statements can be an invaluable piece of evidence in any accident injury case, especially where there are disputes regarding fault and liability.
3. Seek Medical Attention
One of the most crucial things to do after an accident injury is to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You need to receive medical care immediately after the accident, even if you do not think that you were injured. Sometimes, pain or other symptoms may not surface for days or even weeks following the traumatic event.
If you do not receive medical attention and document your injuries right away, you may give the insurance company an excuse to undervalue or deny your personal injury claim. The insurer may argue that your injuries were not the result of the accident or that your injuries were not as bad as you claim
4. Be Honest with Your Doctor
When seeking medical attention and describing your pain and injuries to your doctor, be completely honest. Disclose anything that might seem relevant. Communicate all of your complaints and be thorough when describing how you feel. You want the doctor to document all of your injuries in the medical records to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.
If you claim an injury that the doctor did not mention during your medical evaluation following your accident, the insurance company is likely to deny coverage by arguing that your injury is not related to the accident.
5. Undergo Diagnostic Testing
When seeking medical attention after an accident injury, undergo all diagnostic tests recommended by your doctor. You need a full examination of medical conditions after suffering an injury. If you miss something immediately after the accident, you might not receive compensation for the condition that you develop later on.
While diagnostic tests are not cheap, undergoing comprehensive testing is important to document your injuries and maximize your compensation.
6. Do Not Give Any Recorded Statements to the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are not your advocates. They are for-profit organizations that care about maximizing their revenue. Insurance companies employ various tactics to undervalue or deny valid injury claims. One of the tactics is asking claimants to give a recorded statement.
You have no obligation to provide a recorded statement no matter how convincing the insurance adjuster may sound. Insurance companies use recorded statements to claimants to slip up and make a mistake. They will then use any inconsistencies in the claimant’s statements to pay as little as possible or deny the claim altogether.
7. Hire a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, reckless conduct, or wrongdoing, you might want to consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your best interests.
Your attorney will help you navigate the insurance claims process and fight for maximum compensation. An attorney will negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies and assist you every step of the way. You can rely on your attorney to handle all aspects of your personal injury claim while you focus on your recovery.
8. Keep a Journal
Non-economic damages, which include compensation for emotional distress, mental anguish, suffering, pain, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses, sometimes account for the largest portion of the injured person’s damages award.
Since medical bills or other documents cannot quantify non-economic damages, the only thing that can help you prove the extent of your psychological and emotional suffering is a journal. Keep a journal detailing how you feel while recovering and how your injury has affected your quality of life, relationships, ability to work, ability to participate in the activities you used to enjoy, and other relevant details.
9. Keep Track of Your Medical Expenses
It is vital to keep track of your medical bills and all expenses associated with your treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and other costs. You also need to document any time missed from work as a result of your injury. Your lawyer will use these records to support your injury claim and prove your damages.
The insurance company will only cover the damages and losses that you can prove. Keep track of your medical expenses from the date of the accident.
10. Follow Through with Your Treatment
It is critical to follow your doctor’s recommendations and prescribed treatment. You should maintain and follow up with your medical care after the accident injury. Following through with your medical treatment can be time-consuming. However, following the doctor’s recommendations is important to protect your right to maximum compensation.
If you fail to follow through with the treatment or deviate from the prescribed treatment, the insurance company is more likely to deny your claim by arguing that you did not mitigate your damages. Even if the insurance company does not deny your claim, it might not be willing to pay the full amount.
By failing to follow through with the treatment, you are giving the insurance company an excuse to challenge your personal injury claim. Attending doctors’ appointments and following the prescribed treatment will also affect the long-term outcomes of your injury.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Accident Injuries
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
Determining whether or not you are entitled to financial compensation for your accident injury may require the expertise and counsel from a skilled attorney. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the circumstances of your accident and determine if you can pursue a personal injury claim to obtain compensation for your losses and damages.
Your attorney will carefully review your unique case and determine if the other party can be held accountable for your injuries and resulting losses.
What compensation can you seek for your accident injury?
The damages that may be available in your personal injury case depend on the circumstances of your accident and the impact of your injury on your life.
We can categorize recoverable compensation for an accident injury into economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages include reimbursement for your medical expenses, compensation for the loss of income and diminished earning capacity, the cost of repairing your damaged property, and other losses.
- Non-economic damages are less objective. No one can measure, in quantifiable terms, expenses, costs, and lost money. Instead, we can measure them in the loss of quality of life, inconvenience, and emotional suffering and distress.
Contact an experienced attorney to review your unique situation and determine what compensation you can seek for your accident injury.
Can you obtain compensation if you had a pre-existing injury?
You might have a problem obtaining compensation for your accident injury if the insurance company discovers that you had a pre-existing injury. However, the fact that you have a pre-existing condition does not mean that you cannot recover damages for your new or aggravated injuries.
The eggshell-skull rule states that you take your victim as you find them. It means that the negligent party can be held responsible for worsening the victim’s condition even if they had a pre-existing injury when the accident occurred.
Needless to say, having a pre-existing injury can complicate your personal injury case. The fact that you had an injury before your accident may require the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you prove that you are entitled to compensation.
How much is your accident injury case worth?
The value of your personal injury case depends on the nature and severity of your injuries. It also depends on the effect of your injuries on your life. Determining how much your accident injury case is worth can be challenging. For this reason, you might want to consult with a skilled attorney to evaluate your particular accident and determine an adequate settlement amount in your specific case.
Your attorney will be interested in helping you maximize your recoverable compensation to ensure that you have the money you need to pay for your medical bills and cover your losses.
How long do you have to sue for your accident injury?
If you suffered injuries in an accident that occurred because of someone else’s negligent conduct, it is vital to act quickly. There is a limited amount of time for seeking compensation after an accident injury. The time limit is known as the statute of limitations.
Those time limits vary from one state to another. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Arizona is two years from the date of the accident (Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-542). If you fail to bring a personal injury lawsuit within two years, the statute of limitations will bar you from recovering damages.
Do you need an attorney after an accident injury?
Yes. An accident can overwhelm the injured party. Dealing with insurance companies can cause a tremendous amount of stress. As a victim of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to collect evidence proving the other party’s fault, prepare tons of paperwork, gather witness statements, and negotiate with insurance companies.
Consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney to provide you with legal help and take some of the burdens off your shoulders. An attorney will represent your best interests and help you navigate the claims process.
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