What to Do if You Sustain a Personal Injury

personal injury

What to Do if You Sustain a Personal Injury

If you get injured because of some form of negligence, take steps to help make sure you get fair treatment. This article is not a guide for how to sue every business or building that you enter. But if you sustain a personal injury in a place like this, it will help you to understand that there are processes designed to protect the rights of both sides.

First, make sure you’re safe. What’s more important, after all? Call for help and take care of yourself. A settlement is a little less important than survival.


Preserve Evidence

Once you’re safe, take photos or video of the scene. Ask a friend or a bystander do this for you, should your injury prevent you from doing it yourself. You should demonstrate the conditions that caused your injury.

In today’s world, almost everyone carries a smartphone. That can be a valuable source of evidence for your future case. Record everything that you can. If a rail is damaged, if there is water or ice on surfaces, or if there is some non-standard structure that caused you to get hurt, make sure to capture those details. Take photos of our injuries as well.


Get Your Condition Checked

If you sustained injuries, visit a doctor. If your injury is severe, maybe a hospital is more in order. Take injuries to your neck, back and head especially seriously. Some of these injuries can stick with you the rest of your life.

Keep careful records of all your medical care. While you’re there, make sure you ask your doctor about the potential of long-term problems or symptoms that may appear in the future. This can make a difference between cared for fairly versus receiving a quick settlement and getting stuck later with additional medical bills much later.


Who Is On Your Side?

When the procedures begin, the store or business may want to capture information of their own. You should not talk to, or make recorded statements for, the company’s representatives. They may act friendly, as though they care for your well-being. But they are also working to protect their assets. You are not their primary concern.

The same is true for the company’s insurance company or claims management company. They will seek to get your statements and other documentation in order to defeat your claim. The will collect evidence in an attempt to establish a story contrary to your case. You do not have to give them a recorded statement!


The Next Stage

We’ve covered the important warnings and things to consider in the short-term following your injury. Now we will look at what to do in the weeks and months to follow.

Continue to follow your doctor’s medical advice if you have a treatment or therapy plan. Follow their instructions and document all appointments and expenses. Keep notes about your injury. Is the condition improving, or getting worse?

If you miss work, you can request FMLA leave to help protect your job. Depending on your state, this may extend your income and benefits and hold your position beyond your normal paid time off.

Also, during this time, do not make a spectacle of yourself on social media. A statement there could be captured and used against your case just like the recordings described earlier. It is best to stay clear of public online communication for the duration of the case. Too many happy pictures may support the case that your injury is not as serious or painful as it is.


Lawyer Up

During this initial phase, you should also collect information and recommendations for local attorneys and law firms. Find a lawyer who has experience working on personal injury cases. He or she will coach you through the process and help you get fair compensation. Share all of your records with your lawyer to provide a complete picture of your case. Ask questions about the legal process to clarify anything you don’t understand.

Remember it is important to only seek what is right. Do not exaggerate the claim in an attempt to get more than you ought. An honest and respected attorney should help you and keep your expectations at the correct and legal level.


PHOTO: Bill Branson, National Institutes of Health / CC0 Public Domain

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