The events after an accident of any kind are stressful, with so much happening at once. You’re injured, or someone you love is hurt or killed. You’re in pain, physical, emotional, and mental. Bills are starting to come in and maybe you can’t go to work. What do you do?
The first thing is to get medical care. Even if it feels like you can’t afford it, it’s best to talk with a doctor and receive recommended treatment. Once you begin the healing process, you can start thinking about pursuing a personal injury claim to help you cope with your losses.
Once you are getting the right medical care… what’s next?
- Collect evidence that can help show who caused the accident. You’ll also want to be sure to have evidence of damage and injuries. Photographs are an obvious way, and correctly documenting the date, place, and time each photo is taken. This includes photos of bodily injuries and damage of the car, plus the scene of the accident if at all possible.
- Memories get faulty with time, especially traumatized memories. Write down what happened to you after the accident. Medical treatments, bills, hospital visits, lost work or wages. Keeping a written record helps preserve the facts of what happened.
- If there were witnesses to the accident, make sure you keep their contact info. Names and a phone number should be collected at minimum. Anyone you talk with who was involved in the accident, take notes of what was said.
- Tell anyone that you may be filing a suit against that you are thinking of filing a claim for your injuries and property damage. It’s important to give notice because you only preserve your rights and prevent the other person or parties from the defense of saying you waited too long to tell them about your injuries. As long as you file your claim within the statue of limitations – a deadline that varies by state that determines how much time you have after an accident to file a claim – you can proceed with negotiations at your own speed. Giving this notice doesn’t mean that you must file a claim against them but it protects you in case you choose to. In any case, avoid discussing the facts of the case or perspectives about it with the other party until you’ve gotten some legal help.
For more information on the claims process, visit these links:
A video on how attorneys are paid
Bill Coats is a personal injury attorney in Bellingham, Washington working for accident victims to get fast, full and fair settlements. If you’ve been injured, it’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about what happened, and Bill offers those consultations completely free with no obligation to sign on as his client. Let Bill Coats Law help you.