Personal Injury

First Steps Matter: How to Respond to a Personal Injury

Myra Taylor was taking a scenic route during an afternoon bicycle ride, when a vehicle clipped her rear wheel and caused her to crash into the road pavement. Extensive injuries to the arms and shoulder laid Myra up in a hospital for days. Mounting medical bills and the loss of work wages put her in a dire financial predicament.

“I knew I had a way to get back the money,’ Myra said. “I just didn’t know how to do it.” Myra contacted a personal injury attorney who got the ball rolling to complete a personal injury settlement.

Sense of Urgency

The period immediately following an injury caused by negligence or an accident is often filled with stress and confusion. Your primary concern is to alleviate the pain of an injury, as well as take measures to heal all wounds and injuries. Yet, how you proceed right after an accident involves much more than taking care of the medical issues.

First, you should gather enough evidence to prove who and/or what caused the accident. Photographs tell a clear story about the causes of an accident, as well as document the damages inflicted on you and your personal possessions, such as a vehicle or a bicycle. Second, document everything that pertains to the costs of the accident. Accident costs include hospital stays health care bills, and lost income. You must save every bill related to the accident and provide one or more pay stubs to verify lost wages. Third, collect the names and contact information for all of the witnesses that saw the accident. Witnesses not only confirm your side of the story, but they often add pieces of evidence that you did not gather. The witnesses of your accident validate your explanation of the incident. Finally, contact the person(s) who caused the accident that led to the injury about your plans to file a personal injury claim.

Statute of Limitations

Although a sense of urgency matters in personal injury cases, some cases require more time to compile evidence and find witnesses to corroborate your version of events. Many of our clients want to know about the statutes of limitations for a personal injury case. Unless you plan to file a personal injury claim against a government agency, you probably do not have to deal with a short time limit for filing a personal injury claim. Each state mandates a relatively short statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims against government agencies and departments.

While being thorough is important, the timely filing of a personal injury claim ensures you receive a faster resolution of your claim. Settling a personal injury case typically is a time consuming process. Therefore, to increase the likelihood of you receiving damages for your injuries, you must file the claim as soon as you can after an accident.

What Types of Injuries are Covered?

Virtually every type of injury caused by another person qualifies for a personal injury case. However, workers compensation statutes typically cover personal injuries that occur in the workplace or off site on company time. Personal injury claims also include product liability allegations and the reckless endangerment of another person. Some personal injury cases prompt law enforcement to file criminal charges against the person who caused the accident. In Myra’s case, the driver of the car that struck her bicycle received four traffic violations. The charges bolstered Myra’s case for receiving a personal injury award.

If you suffer an injury caused by an accident or negligence, take immediate measures to gather evidence, acquire witness contact information, and organizes medical bills and pay stubs. The quicker you act by contacting an attorney, the more likely you will receive compensation for your pain and suffering.

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