We all hope to live a long and injury-free life, but the sad reality is accidents can and do happen – and very often, these accidents occur through no fault of the victim. There are an estimated 400,000 personal injury claims per year in the US alone – most often accidental or through negligence but sometimes in intentional attacks.
Steps to take if you feel you should receive compensation
If you feel you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and want to pursue things further in the form of pushing for compensation, there are some important steps you should take to maximize your chances of making a successful claim.
Try to obtain evidence at the scene: An accident, slip, or fall can often leave the victim feeling confused or in pain, but if it’s possible, you must try to gather your senses as quickly as possible to gather evidence at the scene. If you’re well enough, you should try to take photos that give a clear idea of what (or who) caused the accident – plus the damage you suffered as a result. Taking images of items that were to blame (for example, a slippery floor, falling goods, etc.) plus shots of the injuries sustained will go a long way to proving you weren’t at fault further down the line. This kind of evidence will be invaluable when a personal injury attorney comes to building your case.
Speak to witnesses and get their contact information: You should speak to anyone that witnessed the scene and ask for their recollection of what happened to you. Also, ensure you take their full contact details – and check them before leaving, i.e., by calling a supplied cell phone number to make sure it works. If you speak to anyone at the scene, you should also note what you said to them as this might be used against you – and on that subject, you should be careful what you say.
Make a record of what happened: As soon as possible after the accident, you should accurately note what happened to you. Memories can fade with time (particularly if you suffered a head injury), so having an accurate record will help you recall precise details later.
Keep a file of all related documents: You need to keep details of any medical treatment you might receive due to the accident. Also, note any associated costs (e.g., medical care, prescriptions, travel to hospitals, etc.) and keep a record of any subsequent time off work or lost wages. Also, it can be a good idea to keep a diary of the days after your accident, listing any pain or additional symptoms you might have endured (particularly after a car accident). You should also list details of hospital or doctor appointments.
Inform others of your intention to claim: Presuming you’ve made up your mind quickly to claim, you should inform the other involved parties.
Contact your lawyer: If you’ve followed all the above steps, you should have a very strong case to present to your injury lawyer, who will then handle the case for you. Note – you should resist contacting any involved parties and instead leave the lawyer to work for you.