What you do immediately after a serious injury could determine whether or not you are fairly compensated for your losses. This is critical to you and your family because you will likely need that compensation to stay on track financially and obtain the medical care you need while you recover and move forward with your life.
Of course, in the aftermath of a traumatic event, many people are not thinking clearly or in a position to make important decisions. Knowing the key steps to take in advance will help to protect your rights in the event of an injury.
Protecting Yourself after a Car Accident, Workplace Injury or Other Personal Injury
Injuries happen in all facets of life: at home, at work, in the grocery store, while you’re driving your children to school, at the park or swimming pool, and virtually anywhere else you travel or spend time. Although the nature and context of these injuries varies significantly, some of the actions you’ll take to protect yourself will be exactly the same.
- Seek medical care promptly. Seeing a physician as soon as possible after an injury protects your health and your legal rights. Immediate medical care helps ensure that you know the full extent of your injuries and begin treating them properly as soon as possible. It also makes it much easier to later demonstrate that the injuries resulted from your accident and are therefore compensable.
- Be cautious with insurance companies: It’s likely that an insurance company will contact you shortly after your injury—perhaps more than one. While the representatives will likely be friendly and seem helpful, it is important to remember that their job is to minimize the money you recover, and that casual conversation may actually be intended to elicit statements that can be used against you later.
- Obtain witness contact information, if possible. If you’re injured at work, this may be as simple as noting who is nearby for later questioning. When you’re injured in a car accident or a fall in a store parking lot, however, the witnesses will likely be strangers. If you are able, or someone with you is able, gather their contact information while they are present.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer from the start will help you to avoid pitfalls, ensure that you are aware of important deadlines, and give your attorney the best opportunity to gather evidence.
Some important steps will vary depending on the nature of the accident, but there are a few critical things to keep in mind. For example:
- Call the police. If you were injured in a serious car accident or assaulted by another person, you will want to contact law enforcement immediately. Other types of injuries, such as a fall at work, will generally not require police contact.
- Make deadlines. Florida law generally allows up to four years to file a personal injury case. However, there may be much shorter deadlines in play in certain cases. For example, failure to report a work-related injury to your employer within 30 days could bar you from receiving benefits. And, specific claims – such as medical malpractice and wrongful death – have shorter statutes of limitations than general personal injury claims.
A Skilled Personal Injury Attorney Can Be Your Best Resource
The information above will help ensure that you don’t miss an important step after an injury and jeopardize your claim. But, there are still things to be on the lookout for. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney from the beginning, that attorney can act as a buffer with the insurance companies, begin gathering evidence while it is still fresh, and take responsibility for managing deadlines and other technical requirements.
When you retain the Stokes Law Firm, John M. Stokes puts 30 years of legal experience to work protecting your rights and pursuing fair compensation for your injuries. Call (727) 954-0186 today and put your case in capable hands so you can focus on your recovery.