Very few people know what to do after being injured in an accident. They’re involved in a painful medical interim, and attempting to obtain compensation for their injuries requires tedious legal and insurance claims work. You’ll want to give due consideration to following the steps that others have taken so that you might increase your chances of a satisfactory outcome.
Get medical attention
Even if your injuries seem minor to you, don’t wait to be examined by a doctor. Symptoms often get worse 24 to 48 hours after an accident, so it’s best to document the subjective and objective signs of an injury immediately. If you wait 72 hours or more to seek medical attention, that delay in treatment will only be used against you by the other side. Your credibility will be attacked.
Make a record of the injury
If you were in a motor vehicle accident, make sure that police come to the scene. When you call 911, the operator will ask if you want paramedics there too. Answer in the affirmative. The paramedics will examine you and document your physical complaints. They’ll also note any obvious signs of an injury. The paramedics can transport you to an emergency room where more detailed diagnostics can be performed. Between the paramedics and emergency room personnel, you’ve started your trail of medical records in connection with an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you’re injured in a store or supermarket, make sure that management knows about your injury before you leave the premises. You can insist that paramedics be dispatched to that location too.
Don’t give the opposing insurer a statement
Sometime after your accident, an adjuster from the opposing insurer might phone you “just to see how you’re feeling now.” Then he or she will ask you to give a recorded statement about how the accident occurred. Politely refuse to give any kind of a statement. The Utah Rules of Evidence allow that statement to be used against you in the future. As per Christensen & Hymas, that’s the precise intention of the adjuster. He or she already knows how the accident occurred. There’s no law in the State of Utah that requires you to give that statement, so don’t help the other side with its case by giving one. They’ll only attack your credibility in the future, and this time it will be done with your alleged prior inconsistent statement.
Retain a respected personal injury attorney
Don’t try to represent yourself in a personal injury case. You know nothing about the rules of civil procedure or evidence, and it’s likely that you’ll unknowingly give up rights in the case that a judge probably won’t give you back. Although most cases don’t go to trial, you’ll want to retain a knowledgeable and experienced Utah lawyer who concentrates his or her practice in personal injury. Your attorney should be respected by both the insurance defense law firm assigned to your case and the judge who will preside over it.
Don’t worry about paying that lawyer either. You can obtain a free consultation and case evaluation from a successful and respected personal injury lawyer at no cost. Your retainer agreement with the attorney should be in writing, and don’t forget to leave his or her office without a signed copy of it. Pursuant to that agreement, no legal fees should be due until such time as your attorney obtains a settlement or verdict on your behalf.