No one wants to get injured, but sometimes, you get the things you don’t want. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, mistake or action, the situation can be even more overwhelming. Not only do you need to deal with the pain of your injury and the time and effort recovery requires, but you also have to figure out insurance claims and potential legal responses. The following aims to help clarify a few key points if you’re dealing with a personal injury case.
It’s worth noting that every injury case is going to be a little bit different. Things like how the injury occurred and the law in your particular state can influence the rights, responsibilities and outcomes for everyone involved. It’s important to speak to a legal professional for information that is more suited to your particular situation.
Attend To Immediate Medical Needs
If you’ve been injured, it’s easy to let your mind reel in a dozen different directions. Your first priority should always be your health. This means that medical attention shouldn’t be put off for anything. Many types of injuries can get worse or heal more slowly if they’re not tended to right away. Make sure that you follow all recommended treatment protocols and that you don’t overexert yourself physically as you address the below points. You might need to ask for help from friends and family, and that’s okay. Things like reaching for glasses on the top cupboard shelf or carrying your laundry down the stairs might be difficult for a while. There’s nothing to be gained by pushing yourself too hard. In fact, there’s a lot of recovery progress than can be lost.
If you’re able, document as much of the situation and the injury as possible. This means taking photos of where the injury occurred, both close-up shots of specific details as well as wider shots of the layout as a whole. If there were witnesses to the accident, ask them for their contact information and whether or not they’d feel comfortable describing what happened again. You also want to save any receipts associated with the incident as well as medical costs and appointment information. It might be a good idea to start keeping a journal throughout this whole process so you can verify what days what things were done and what your symptoms are.
Get Legal Counsel
Likely everyone involved will have a preference in how you respond. If the injury happened while working, your company might be encouraging you to take a certain action. The insurance companies involved likely want you to respond in a specific way. Other parties involved might be trying to cover up their involvement or participation. Colleagues might be worried about losing their jobs if they speak out against what happened to you. People might be denying or changing their stories.
You need to speak to a legal professional who isn’t connected to the situation. Almost certainly, you have multiple options available to you; personal injury lawyers can explain these options as well as point out the draws and pitfalls of each. It’s vital you know what these options are before you make a choice in how you respond. In most cases, choosing to respond in one way prevents you from being legally allowed to respond in another way. Don’t sign anything until you’ve spoken to a lawyer. Even if someone tells you you need to sign something, hold off. It’s okay to say you want to speak to an attorney first.
Avoid Social Media
When you’re injured, you’re usually emotional, especially if someone else has caused you this injury. It’s best to avoid using social media at this time, as anything that you do in the digital public sphere can be used against you in a legal proceeding or insurance claims process. Unless you’ve been specifically instructed by your lawyer to carry on as usual, don’t post, share, like, comment or otherwise engage with anything on social media platforms. Personal messages should be fine, but know that law enforcement is able to see these messages on most apps, and people can screenshot and share messages as they see fit, so what you type in a private DM can still become part of a legal proceeding.
Decide On A Course Of Action And Treatment Plan
Once you’ve talked to a lawyer and are aware of your options, it’s time to make a decision. The lawyer should have given you clear timelines and expressed how long options are available. Sometimes you only have a certain period of time within which you’re allowed to pursue a certain course of action; this is often because, after a certain date, it’s hard to prove whether an injury came from the incident in question or if it happened due to something else that you haven’t reported.
It’s also worth noting that due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, many courts are quite behind in their cases. You can expect longer than usual wait times for things, and this might mean you want to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. A lawyer should be able to tell you what you expect in terms of wait times.
Whatever you decide, know that you need support in a few ways. You need legal advocacy, but you also need to be prepared to advocate for yourself medically as well. If you are uncomfortable with the medical treatment you’ve been given or with the side effects of any treatment or medications, speak to your doctor about alternatives. If you’re still unhappy, find a second opinion. Again, your health is the main focus here. Getting proper medical attention means working with a doctor who takes your symptoms seriously and works with you to find the best possible treatment plan for you.
The above information should have clarified several key components of a personal injury case. It’s vital that you follow both the counsel of the lawyer you’ve chosen and the medical advice of the doctor you’ve chosen. Professionals can help guide you through this difficult time. Don’t forget to take care of your mental health as well. Injuries that hurt the physical body can result in scenarios and mental states that are hard on your mental health.