According to the National Safety Council, over 40 million injuries requiring medical attention happen in the United States every year. That means each of us have a 1 in 12 chance of being seriously injured annually. We hope you never find yourself a victim of an accident, but if you do, there are some steps to take to protect yourself.
Not every accident does or should result in a personal injury claim. However, if you have been in a serious accident which impacts your life or results in significant medical bills, you should consult with a lawyer to learn your option. Even before you talk to a lawyer, you should gather information necessary to evaluate a potential personal injury claim. You will need to show that negligence or a breach of duty caused the accident, as well as demonstrate the nature of your injury. Collect information as soon as possible after an accident, as witnesses can become hard to contact and records and accident reports can be misplaced.
A personal injury lawyer will gather evidence to support your claim, but you can make the process easier by collecting information beginning immediately after the injury.
The first few days after an injury are critical in the information gathering process. The following suggestions can get you started, but what information is most important in your situation will depend on the facts involving your accident.
Photos can be critical in supporting your claim. If you are capable of taking photos immediately after the injury, do so. You can also ask anyone who is with you to assist in taking the photos. Try to capture as many angles as possible.
Take photos of the scene of the accident. If it was a car accident, take photos of the vehicles involved, the roadway and any other factors that may have contributed to the accident. For workplace injuries, or slip and fall injuries, take pictures of the area where the injury happened.
Take pictures of any injury you sustained. Cuts, bruises and scrapes can heal quickly. Take photos of your injuries through the various stages of healing. Have a friend or family member help with these photos if needed.
If you are injured in an automobile accident, there will be an accident report. You are entitled to a copy, so have someone pick up a copy of the report as soon as it is ready. If you were in a public place, such as a store, they might ask that you fill out a statement as well. Take a picture of the completed report and ask for a copy. Take note of cameras in the location of your accident. Video from surveillance cameras could help support your case. This all applies to a workplace injury as well.
If you are involved in an accident, seek medical attention right away. Some injuries may not be evident in the immediate aftermath of an injury and adrenaline can mask the signs and symptoms of serious injuries. If you seek medical attention from an emergency room, sign a records release while you are there and arrange to have a copy of the full file released to you.
Request your medical records from any other provider that you see during recovery from your injury. Check the records to make sure that they contain the correct information, and that they are complete with any radiology results and referrals.
If you have been seriously injured, contact an attorney right away. An attorney can hire a private investigator or an accident reconstructionist while the matter is still fresh. An attorney can also tell you to which insurer your medical bills should be submitted, eliminating confusion and potential problems later on. A good attorney should make you aware of your options and recommend how to proceed.
If you have sustained more than a minor injury, contact us as soon as possible after an accident. Do not talk with insurance companies, store managers, or other potential opposing parties until you have sought a consultation. For a FREE consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, call us at (715) 246-2211 or contact us online.
Since 1883, the attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow have represented families, individuals and businesses across Wisconsin and Minnesota in areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law and divorce, civil litigation, estate planning and trusts, workers compensation, and more. We are recognized as one of western Wisconsin’s most skilled and successful personal injury law firms and have built our reputation on what we achieve for our clients. We are committed to being your advocate, regardless of your circumstances. Located in New Richmond, we serve clients throughout western Wisconsin and Minnesota.
DISCLAIMER: The Doar, Drill, & Skow blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported may come from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these types of situations choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect.