Most people have absolutely no experience with being in an accident or having suffered the death of a loved one as a result of negligence or a defective product. Personal injury claims, lawsuits, accidents, and wrecks are clearly not something that people have any experinece with.
Seek medical help. The most important thing that you can do is to care for your own health, rather than worrying about a personal injury lawsuit. Go to the emergency room or your normal doctor and get the help that is needed. Once that is done, you can move on to some of the following steps.
Hire a board-certified personal injury lawyer. Clients often come to us a significant amount of time after the accident. If you wait too long to hire a personal injury lawyer, the evidence in your case may disappear, witnesses will be hard to find, and memories will have faded. It is essential to hire a qualified /certified civil trial specialist lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so the vehicles involved can be preserved, witnesses interviewed, and photographs of the vehicles and scene taken. It is important to know that the insurance company is not on your side. The United States insurance industry is enormously profitable, and they do that by taking in lots of premiums and not paying injured people. Do not fall into this trap. Hiring a personal injury lawyer immediately will allow someone to be on your side and to insure that your injuries are justly compensated.
Journal your injuries. Keeping track of your injuries and your day-to-day suffering is important. In two or three months, you will forget what it was like and forget the exact days you missed work. Keep a simple journal that would include writing down physical ailments, consultations with doctors, and missed work. This will be helpful in not only making a settlement demand, but explaining to the jury what you went through.
Photograph the scene and vehicles. It is important for juries to understand that the accident was not a minor one. Skid marks on the road and damage to vehicles help jurors and insurance adjusters understand the severity of the accident. Grass may grow up around a railroad crossing and block vision that would not have been present at your accident. While your accident may have taken place in the middle of winter when there were no leaves on the trees and no one’s vision was blocked, the trial may take place during the summer and an insurance adjuster will bring a picture of the intersection with leaves blocking someone’s line of vision. Taking photographs immediately will help the jury to understand the truth.
Write down the names of witnesses and healthcare providers. The names of witnesses at an accident scene are extremely important because police officers often do a very poor job of documenting every witness at the scene. Police officers frequently write down one or two names when they get the jist of a story and may not write down everyone’s name. However, insurance companies will often try to cloud the truth and numerous witnesses all telling the same story are important for your case. Healthcare provider’s names are easily forgotten. By keeping a list of each and every healthcare provider that provides a service to you, we can make sure that all of the medical records and bills are collected and presented to the insurance company for settlement or to the jury at trial.
Photograph the injuries. Hopefully, years after the accident happened, the scars, the bruises, and the swelling will be gone. A jury, however, will be asked to compensate you for those injuries. Only through pictures can a jury fully understand the pain and suffering that you went through in your accident or wreck. Photograph your injuries as soon after the accident as possible so that a jury and an insurance adjuster can properly evaluate these damages for either settlement or trial.
If you have any questions about what to do after an accident, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation on how to preserve your personal injury claim. This is especially important in Tennessee where a one-year statute of limitaions applies to personal injury and death claims.