|If you are ever injured because of an accident, carelessness of another or through the fault of a product malfunction, you deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, loss of wages and possibly even more. It’s important to not only know your rights but to also know what to do and not to do at the time the injury occurs – as well as before, during and after medical aid is administered.That’s why we have provided the following list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you make sound decisions in case you are ever injured.DO’s: What To Do In Case Of Personal Injury:
1. Seek legal advice as soon as you or a family member become the victim of negligence by a third party.
2. Learn your rights and how the law protects you in the circumstance of your injury.
3. Identify witnesses to the accident (names, addresses and phone numbers).
4. When possible, photograph or videotape the surroundings, instrumentalities or things that caused or played a role in causing the accident.
5. Where appropriate, call the police or governmental authorities to investigate, and:
-Never be talked out of calling the authorities, because without a police, incident or investigative report, you may not be able to prove your case.
-Give the police or authorities your full cooperation and a full, accurate account of what happened. Never admit fault and never exaggerate!
-List for police or the authorities all symptoms of injury you may be feeling, no matter how slight.
-Try to listen to what the other persons involved in any way in the accident or incident tells police or the authorities about what happened.
-Ask the police or authorities about fault under law or regulations which apply to the accident or incident.
-Cooperate fully and completely with any request made by the authorities, and always be courteous.
6. If in pain, report your condition to any and all authorities involved in the investigation and request an ambulance.
7. When the medics arrive, give them a full, accurate report of symptoms.
-Cooperate fully with their examination and treatment plan.
8. Never attempt to drive, operate heavy machinery or work at heights if you are dazed, injured or on strong medications.
9. Call a family member or friend to the scene of the accident or incident, to lend assistance and as a witness.
-If possible, ask them to bring a photo-camera or video-camera to record the scene.
10. Attempt to get names, phone numbers and addresses of any witnesses.
-Give this information to the investigating officer or governmental authority. Keep a copy.
11. If symptoms last several hours, go to your family doctor or emergency room.
-Report how the accident occurred and give a full, accurate account of symptoms, but never exaggerate.
-Submit as necessary to exams, x-rays and advice of the treating doctor.
If recommended, or if symptoms continue, see a specialist.
-Follow your doctor’s recommendations (to the letter).
-Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor, to help you understand your injuries and treatment.
12. Don’t discuss your case with any unnecessary parties.
-Your spouse, your doctor and your insurance agent are necessary. You should tell your insurance agent only what is absolutely necessary to give him/her notice of the accident and injury.
-Insurance adjusters who want recorded statements are not necessary and you should never give such a statement.
13. Report the accident to your insurance company.
-Get a copy of the accident report for them, and check it for accuracy.
-If the report is inaccurate, call the investigating officer or governmental authority and question him on it. (You have a right to do this. Ask him to correct the report.)
-If you have applicable insurance coverage, insist that your company investigate the accident/injury, and appraise and/or repair any damage done to your property.
(They will be reimbursed by the other, responsible party’s insurance.)
14. If your injuries/symptoms persist for more than a few days, consult an attorney.
-Be sure the attorney is a personal injury specialist. Ask him about his experience!
-Write down all questions you may have about the accident prior to the interview.
-Learn all you can about your rights in such a legal case.
-Ask what fees and expenses you will be required to pay, what the attorney thinks the case should be valued at, and what he feels he can do for you in a recovery.
-Don’t hesitate to interview several attorneys and compare their responses.
15. Get property damage estimates on any damaged equipment or property from the accident, if you have appropriate coverage to repair such damages. Give these estimates to your attorney or to the negligent party’s insurance company if you have no attorney.
-Try to get the identity of the responsible party’s insurance carrier and ask them to repair your damaged property.
16. Try to get the responsible party’s insurer to pay for your medical bills, without signing releases. (By doing so, the other driver’s insurance company will be admitting fault.)
17. Never sign any releases until you are fully prepared to settle your case.
-The only exception is when your attorney advises you to do so, for a particular and important reason.
18. Keep a written daily diary of the aftermath of the accident.
-List all that happened in the accident and initial medical exams.
-Follow your progress and the problems caused in everyday life by your injuries.
(This will prove invaluable at your trial, which may be much later.)
19. You should never consider settling your case until all your symptoms have disappeared and you are back to normal.
-If you have had a concussion, you should not settle for six (6) months, at least.
-Remember: Your cause of action is the most important protection you have against a truly serious or catastrophic injury.
20. Obtain the following documentation for yourself and/or your attorney:
-Copies of all medical bills resulting from the accident.
-A list of which bills have been paid and which have not.
-A list of mileages to and from all healthcare providers.
-Copies of all doctor’s medical reports and dictations in your medical file.
-Copies of all admit and emergency room records of all hospitals treating you for the accident.
-Copies of radiology reports on tests given to you, such as x-rays, CT scans, MRIs or myelograms.
-Copies of all statements given by any witnesses to any aspect of the accident.
-Copies of your wage records or income tax returns to show the impact of the accident on your income.
-Any photographs or videotape of the injuries, accident scene, vehicles, equipment, property or any other aspect of the case.
-Copies of your insurance policies.
-Copies of property damage estimates on your vehicle.
-A copy of the accident report filed by the police or governmental authorities.
DON’Ts: What Not To Do In Case Of Personal Injury:
1. Don’t be talked into not calling the police or governmental authorities.
2. Don’t give recorded statements to insurance adjusters.
3. Don’t sign releases or checks with release language printed on them.
4. Don’t settle your case unless your symptoms are completely gone.
5. Don’t settle your case unless you have spoken to an attorney and have had your rights explained to you and your questions answered.
6. Don’t discuss any aspects of your case with unnecessary persons.
7. Don’t do anything just because they say you “have to”.