You may well be reading this after an accident has occurred. Maybe it was today or yesterday. Or last month or last year. Remember the saying: Time waits for no man!
Time wipes out memories, makes scene recreations difficult or impossible. Witnesses disappear or are difficult to locate. Wounds heal. Sometime what is called the Statute of Limitations (usually 2 years) runs and it becomes too late to file a claim.
If you have been in an accident or are helping someone else the following are suggested:
- Take pictures—lots of pictures—of the scene of the accident, the vehicles , injuries, and people involved. Get closeups, whole –scene shots, and whatever else you can think of. Be careful! Many a person at a wreck scene—particularly a multicar pileup has been hit and even killed by another vehicle or chain reaction of vehicles. Safety first!
- Get every driver’s and passenger’s and witness’s name, address and phone number, as well as his/their license plate number, name of his insurance company and policy number. Get the names and contact information of any EMT people and ambulance and wrecker companies at the scene if you can do so without interfering or endangering yourself.
- You might not think you have been injured, but if you have even the slightest doubt about that you should still go to the emergency room and receive follow-up medical treatment within a few days after the accident. Although you have no cuts, scrapes, bruises or broken bones, you may have spinal, internal organ or head injuries that need to be examined and treated.
- You should be very wary of what you say at the scene or later over the phone to insurance adjusters or “investigators”. They may be trying to settle the case quickly and for less than you ought to otherwise get, and you may blurt out something that you find later on is not true, such as “Oh, I’m OK!” when just a day or two later the real problems begin to assert themselves. This can be particularly true of spinal injuries and concussions. Refer all inquires to your attorney.
- When you go meet with your attorney, take every bit of paper and proof with you you can find. Take the camera or cell phone camera with you. If you can get a police report of the accident, take that. Make copies of it and mark them up with any questions or inaccuracies you find.
- Keep an independent notebook of the case. It should have a section of questions to ask your lawyer, names and phone numbers of anyone who calls you about the case, and a day-by-day accounting of all of you pain, suffering, time spent and lost from work, costs of travel and medications, and so forth.
The laws of personal injury are based on negligence. That may sound simple enough, but there is a huge body of statutes, case law, and experience that has grown up around the issues of responsibilities to pay damages to injured people and their survivors. Multivolume sets of law books on personal injury have been written, and that’s what a personal injury specialist must know so that he can best represent you and/or take on other specialists to help him in his fight to assert your rights. It is not an area of law for the beginner or the faint at heart. The good personal injury lawyer must know a good bit about each and every one of the following considerations:
|Negligence||Damages||Product Liability||Trucking Issues||Motorcycle Issues|
|Last Clear Chance doctrine||Contributory and Comparative negligence||Strict Liability||Insurance coverages||Deep Pockets, Umbrella Policies|
|Medical Malpractice||Procedural issues & Jurisdiction||DUI law||Federal Regulations||Trade associations|
|Nationwide damage award levels||Mass tort issues, safety recalls||Police procedures||Accident re-creation specialists||Medical possibilities: spine, brain, etc|
|Evidence Law||Wrongful Death||Distracted Driving||Weather considerations||Respondeat Superior doctrine|
|Dram Shop law||Punitive Damages||Uninsured Motorist coverage||Special Damages||Family Purpose Doctrine|
Your lawyer must be ready, willing and able to take cases to trial. He must be a trial attorney who knows how to pick juries, argue cases, present evidence, persuade courts and jurors, anticipate defense tactics, and follow through on judgments.
Are you in need of a lawyer ready willing and able to fight for you and your rights?
Our team fights for our clients in Personal Injury Cases. Give us a call if you would like a free case evaluation.
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