If you were involved in an accident and someone else is to blame, you may be wondering how you can recover compensation for your injuries. A personal injury lawsuit is a legal pathway for recovering valuable compensation for the losses you suffered in an accident at no fault of your own.
Subject to very few exceptions, Georgia law requires that you file your personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident. This may seem like plenty of time. However, laying the foundations of a solid personal injury suit requires a lot of time and preparation. To make sure everything is done properly, it is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the intricacies of the legal system and make sure you are not left with the short end of the stick.
The personal injury attorneys at Butler Kahn are here to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in an accident at no fault of your own, call today for a free consultation. Read on to learn more about important steps when preparing a personal injury lawsuit.
Steps to Take After Being Injured in an Accident
Accidents happen. When they do, victims are often left wondering what to do next. In all cases, it is always best to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to make sure you start your journey toward compensation on the right footing.
The remainder of this page will provide an overview of important steps to take after being injured in an accident. Some steps you can take on your own. Others will require the attention of a skilled attorney. The attorneys at Butler Kahn are ready to handle your case.
1. Report the accident
You should report your accident as soon as possible to the relevant authorities. The “relevant authority” may vary depending on your case. For example, if you were involved in a traffic collision, you should report it to the police so that the officer dispatched to the scene can document the accident in an official report.
However, if the accident happened on someone else’s property, you should also report it to the person responsible for keeping the area safe. Similarly, if the accident happened at your workplace, be sure to report it as soon as possible to your supervisor or human resources department in writing.
2. Exchange Important Information
Gather important information from individuals involved in the accident. Start by collecting their names and contact information. If you are dealing with an auto accident, also be sure to collect driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, insurer names, and insurance policy numbers. In all cases, be sure to identify witnesses and collect the contact information as well.
3. Collect Evidence at the Scene
If possible, thoroughly document the scene of the accident. The goal is to collect any evidence that will help determine who was at fault for the accident, as well as substantiate the severity of your injuries.
Start by taking photographs and videos of your injuries. Also, take photographs of any equipment that might have captured the accident as it transpired — for example, surveillance cameras and traffic cameras — before they can be removed or tampered with. If the accident involved a traffic collision, also document damaged vehicles, road conditions, weather conditions, and signs of impaired driving.
When collecting evidence, be creative. For example, a simple screenshot of your weather app near the time of an auto accident can go a long way in proving that a speeding driver should have been more careful during a storm.
4. Seek Medical Attention
In any accident, your well-being is the top priority. Therefore, even if you do not think your injuries are severe, do not wait to seek medical attention. Many injuries — for example, whiplash and concussions — may not become apparent until some time has passed after the accident. A doctor might even discover them before you become aware of them yourself.
Remember that avoiding medical treatment early on in your case can come back to haunt you down the road. The medical treatment and billing records your doctors create will serve as essential evidence when evaluating your injuries and calculating your compensation. Because even “minor” injuries can be compensated, do not leave anything out.
Also, failure to seek medical treatment soon after the accident gives the at-fault party ammunition to undermine your case. For example, if you wait to seek treatment, the at-fault party and their insurers may argue that your injuries were not as severe as you claim or even that they were not actually caused by the accident.
5. Start a Pain Journal
Document the ongoing impact of your injuries in a daily pain journal. In many cases, you may be entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and lowered quality of life. Your daily journal will help your attorney illustrate the full impact of your injuries at the negotiation table and in court.
6. Notify Your Insurance Company
If you are involved in an auto accident, whatever insurance policy you have that might cover your losses likely requires you to notify your insurer before a certain deadline, sometimes in as little as a few days. Failure to do so may disqualify you from receiving compensation. If you have already consulted with an attorney, your attorney will manage any required communication on your behalf.
7. Beware of All Insurers
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. As such, they prioritize their bottom lines well before paying you the compensation you deserve. In most cases, insurance adjusters will look for as many reasons as possible to reduce your compensation or deny your claim altogether. Sadly, even your own insurer is not your friend.
Ultimately, it is best to let your attorney handle all communication with insurers. However, if you have not hired an attorney and are contacted by an adjuster, do not (1) admit fault, (2) provide a recorded statement, or (3) accept any settlement offers.
8. Be Cautious When Posting on Social Media
Resist the temptation to post about your accident and injuries online. Often, insurers and lawyers representing the at-fault party will mine your posts in search of anything they can use to undermine your case. Therefore, it is best to avoid discussing your case on social media until it is resolved.
Consult With an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you are reading this page because you were injured in an accident at no fault of your own, we hope you are receiving the medical care that you need and are well on your way to a full recovery. We hope the information on this page has been helpful.
If you would like to speak with us about your case, call us or contact us online. We offer free initial consultations, and you pay nothing unless we win your case.