No one anticipates getting involved in an accident, much less getting hurt. Such situations indeed trigger a flurry of confusion and discomposure. However, if the unanticipated happens and you get hurt by an at-fault party, the steps you take afterward are crucial in many ways.
Principally, they could determine whether you’ll be able to secure just compensation for your injuries and losses. Find out more about it here.
Table of Contents
1. Immediate Aftermath: Seek Timely Medical Attention
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s easy to neglect the importance of their health, especially with the adrenaline surge that may mask the pain. Regardless, your health is of utmost priority. Even if hurt by a negligent party and injuries are not immediately apparent, it’s essential to get checked over by a healthcare professional as some injuries may not show symptoms immediately.
Injury documentation is also a vital aspect of the medical check-up. Ensure that your medical report details the extent of your injuries, the treatments given, and the likely correlation between these injuries and your accident, particularly if a negligent party hurt you.
This can help to connect your injuries directly to the accident and further establish the at-fault party’s liability. The medical report can also be used as a pivotal point of reference when calculating the value of your claim later on.
2. Reporting the Incident
The nature of the accident determines to whom you need to report it. In a motor vehicle accident, the first step should be to inform the police about the incident. A law enforcement officer will create a detailed accident report, which can be crucial when dealing with insurance companies or if you decide to bring a legal claim later.
For workplace accidents, you must notify your supervisor or employer immediately. The sooner you report the accident, the easier it is to establish that your injuries are work-related. Ensure the incident and your injuries are documented in your employer’s incident book.
In case of personal assault, it’s crucial to report the incident to the police promptly. A formal police report provides an official, objective account of the incident and can facilitate your pursuit of justice later.
3. Document Everything: It Helps Establish Liability
Documenting every relevant detail about your accident can prove immensely beneficial. This can serve as factual evidence and aid significantly in establishing the at-fault party’s liability. Documents and records to consider include:
- Identifying Details: Record the at-fault party’s full name, address, and contact information. If it’s a car accident, also collect information about the car’s make, model, and license number, as well as their insurance details.
- Eyewitnesses: Eyewitness accounts can be pivotal in supporting your version of events. Identify any witnesses from the scene and jot down their contact details.
- Photographic and Videographic Evidence: Capture the accident scene, any visible damage (to your vehicle in car accidents), and your injuries from different angles.
- Personal Record: Record how your injuries have affected your day-to-day life. These can provide a more personal perspective and offer insight into the psychological impact of the events.
4. Legal Support: Consult an Injury Attorney
After your immediate health concerns have been addressed, it is imperative to seek legal guidance. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide advice tailored to your situation and walk you through the subsequent legal procedures.
It’s crucial to highlight that your relationship with your attorney is not traditionally transactional. Most of these attorneys work on contingency fees – in simple terms, they get paid only if you win your case.
They can handle all dealings with insurance adjusters who often employ tactics to devalue your claim. Moreover, your attorney can calculate the actual value of your compensation, considering all damages you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and even intangible damages like pain and suffering.
5. Guard Your Rights Vigilantly
While it’s easy to feel vulnerable after an accident, remember that you have rights and must guard them stringently.
- Do not admit liability: Limiting your discussion of the accident to factual details without drawing conclusions or admitting fault is best.
- Only sign something with legal advice: Insurance companies may pressure you into signing documents that may undermine your claim. Always get legal advice before entering into any such agreements.
- Avoid oversharing on social media: Insurance adjusters often check the social media profiles of claimants for contradicting information that can minimize the severity of your claim. Be very cautious about what you post.
- Stick to your medical treatment plan: Failing to take prescribed medication or skip treatments can be interpreted as evidence that your injuries are not severe. Adhere to your medical professional’s advice and keep proof of your appointments and medical receipts.
Knowing what to do when hurt by an at-fault party is vital to securing a just settlement. It’s about taking deliberate steps to protect your health, rights, and interests. Though the process might seem daunting, it can lead to a positive resolution with the proper guidance and methodical handling.