There are few things more stressful and dismaying than being injured in an accident. Although many victims are initially overwhelmed in the days or weeks after a serious accident, it is important to act quickly to secure your claim.
If you or your loved one is injured in an accident, it may be in your best interest to take the following steps:
Seek Medical Treatment
Your main priority after being injured in an accident should be your heath. If you have been involved in an accident, you should seek medical attention regardless of whether you believe you have been injured.
Often, many victims suffer injuries with delayed or hidden symptoms that may not appear for days or weeks after an accident. For example, many auto accident victims who suffer whiplash may not begin to experience the injury’s symptoms until several days after the collision.
Promptly seeking medical attention will provide you with an understanding of your injury and inform you of the treatment you need to recover.
Furthermore, your actions after an accident will likely be heavily scrutinized by insurance companies. Quickly seeking medical treatment will provide documentation of the severity of your injuries and will show that they were caused by the accident.
Consult with an Attorney
Once you have received medical treatment for your injury and have a strong understanding of your health and financial losses, your next step should be to contact an attorney to discuss your claim.
Phillips Law Group has experienced personal injury lawyers in Phoenix that can provide you with a free consultation to review your accident and the injuries you suffered. We will use this information to evaluate your claim and determine if you have a case that entitles you to compensation.
An attorney will act as your advocate throughout the claims process and will handle all communications with insurance companies and attorneys representing the at-fault party.
Keep Important Documents and Records
Throughout the claims process, you should collect important documents and records that your Phoenix personal injury lawyer can use to support your case. This includes:
- Police or accident reports detailing the incident in which you were injured
- Receipts showing the cost and type of medical treatment you received
- Employment records stating the wages you lost during the course of your recovery
- Medical documents that show the severity of your injury
- List of names and contact information for the other parties involved in your accident
- Pictures taken of the accident scene
Additionally, you should carefully document the course of your medical treatment. This includes accurately recording the types of medical treatment you receive and how your injury has responded to treatment.
Be Careful What You Say
Filing an insurance claim is often the first step in recovering compensation for your injuries. However, you should be cautious about what you say to the insurance adjuster. An adjuster is a person employed by an insurance company to determine the amount of compensation you should be paid.
It is important to understand that an adjuster’s main goal is to save the insurer money by paying you the least amount of compensation possible. He or she may do this by using your statements against you to reduce your claim’s value or deny it altogether.
For this reason, you should be careful about what you say to the adjuster, and you consider speaking with a Phoenix personal injury attorney before providing any type of recorded or written statement. Your lawyer will assist you in handling your claim to help ensure you are treated fairly and receive compensation that accurately reflects the severity of your injury.
If you are injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, it is important that you act quickly to secure your personal injury claim. This can help ensure you collect important evidence before it is lost and memories fade.
It can also help make sure you stay within the statute of limitations that applies to your case. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit and miss this deadline, your case will likely be dismissed and you cannot recover compensation for your injury.
For this reason, you should immediately contact a Phoenix personal injury attorney to investigate your claim and determine if you have a case.
Evidence that May Help to Support Your Claim
Evidence is vital to every personal injury lawsuit. To build a case that supports your claim, our personal injury lawyers in Phoenix may use evidence such as:
A crucial piece of evidence our attorneys use to build a case is the victim’s medical records. These documents can be used to establish the type of treatment the victim received and the severity of the injury he or she sustained during the accident.
Some medical records our Phoenix personal injury attorneys may use include:
- Ambulance service receipt
- Initial doctor’s examination report
- Results from medical tests
- Physical therapy/rehabilitation
- Specialist’s reports
- A second opinion from a healthcare provider
- Copies of medical imaging tests, such as x-rays
- Copies of your prescription medication
Additionally, you should keep copies of your medical bills, receipts, discharge information, and any other documents that your healthcare provider gives you. These documents can be used to prove you received medical treatment and are making an effort to treat your condition.
In some cases, we may hire medical experts to review your records to determine the extent of your injuries and how they will affect your life. We also may use expert testimony to further support your case, if necessary.
Police or Accident Report
Another important document our Phoenix personal injury attorneys may use is an accident report. This provides an objective third-party account of an accident and may provide important details about the incident.
According to ARS Â§ 28-666, law enforcement officers in Arizona are required to file a report of any auto accident that results in injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000. If your auto accident occurred in Phoenix, you can obtain a copy of the police report by contacting the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Similarly, in incidents involving an injury on a property, such as a slip and fall accident, you should always report the accident to the property management so there is a written record of the incident.
Photographs can be effective evidence to use in your case, as they provide a visual representation of the severity of the accident and the resulting damage.
Some examples of the types of photographs you should take include:
Pictures of the Accident Scene
If possible, try to take as many photographs as you can of the accident scene immediately after the incident occurred. If you are severely injured and need medical attention, ask someone else to take pictures of the scene for you or try to return shortly after to do so yourself.
If you were injured in an auto accident, the pictures you take should include the vehicles involved in the collision and any factors that may have contributed to causing the accident. This can include debris on the roadway or nearby traffic signs that show the at-fault driver acted negligently.
Likewise, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Phoenix, you should photograph the location of the accident and any dangerous hazards the property owner should have fixed or warned guests about before visiting the property.
Pictures of Your Injury
Additionally, you should take pictures of your injury directly after the accident. This may help your claim in several ways, such as documenting the progress of your recovery and the time it takes for your injury to heal.
Furthermore, if your case goes to trial, it may take several months before you are in front of a jury, and your wounds may be fully healed by then. By taking pictures of your injury directly after the accident, you will have proof of its severity.
It may also benefit your claim to keep a journal in which you document how your injury has affected your life since the accident.
Your journal may provide an insurance adjuster or jury with a better understanding of the effects of your injuries. In your journal, you should provide details such as:
- How you have responded to medical treatment
- Whether you have lost your independence since becoming injured
- The pain and suffering you have experienced since acquiring your injury
- If you have lost enjoyment of life
- If you are unable to perform simple daily tasks
In many cases, an injury sustained in an accident may prevent the victim from working or earning an income. This may entitle the victim to compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity.
However, to obtain this type of compensation, you will need employment records that detail:
- Your average rate of pay before the accident
- The average number of hours you worked each week
- The difference in pay or time you spent working before and after the accident
- Any benefits you have used since the accident
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Phoenix will understand how to acquire this information and build a case that supports your claim. Your attorney will use this information to work to reach a fair outcome that helps you recover the compensation you deserve.
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