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If you have been injured, it can often be difficult to determine in your mind if you want to make a claim against another party. You might feel that you were responsible for the accident in the first place, but this could be faulty thinking. There are legal protections put into place to make sure that individuals are safe when visiting a public building or engaging in work related activities. There are a host of other protections in place as well, so you might very well have a claim that you need to pursue. The question becomes how you actually know if this is the case, and that is what we aim to answer below. This article is from Aaron, a writer with Zooomr – a car leasing tech startup based out of New Jersey.
What to do Immediately Following an Accident
Regardless of whether you think you have a claim or not, there are some things that you will want to do immediately following any major or minor accident. The first is, obviously, to take care of your injuries. Even if you think you injury is minor or non-existent, you will want to be seen by a medical professional. This is very important. Many injuries do not manifest themselves until days, or even weeks, after the actually accident. Because of this, you will want to make sure that you have yourself taken care of.
If you are physically able to, you will want to take notes after the accident. As humans, we tend to forget things rather quickly, even if they are extremely important. You will tend to forget the details of an accident soon after it occurs because of the stress involved. There is also the tendency to recount the events different in the days following an accident. To combat this, you will want to take as detailed note as you possibly can. This is made easier now with smartphones. If you have one nearby, click on the recording feature on one of its apps and start talking away. This will be valuable to law enforcement and your attorney, should you decide it prudent to retain one.
Preserve Evidence at the Scene
You will also want to work to preserve any evidence at the scene. This is easily accomplished by taking detailed photos at the location where the accident occurred. If you are in a slip and fall accident, for example, take pictures of the surrounding area. Make sure you have a date and time stamp on the photos, as this can be used after by a personal injury attorney. Preserving the evidence from the scene will help document your injuries and ascribe fault at a later time.
Keep Your Medical Records
When you bring a personal injury claim against another individual or entity, you will want to have medical rights to prove what has happened to you. These records typically prove to be a critical element in deciding the case, so make sure that you exercise your right to get the medical records and to be able to use them if necessary.
Evaluate How Much a Potential Claim is Worth
One of the first steps in determining whether or not to pursue a personal injury claim is to take time to find out how much it would actually be worth. Depending on the particular accident and the scope of your injuries, this can range anywhere from nothing to a lot. This is why you will want to contact a professional and experienced personal injury lawyer in your area for a consultation. During this initial meeting, they can help determine if it would be worth your while to pursue a claim.
Was There Pain and Suffering Involved?
The law does provide compensation if you can prove that you were caused noticeable pain and suffering as the result of your accident, and that the accident was no fault of your own. This will entail looking at how the injuries you suffered are impacting your daily life. Some accidents can make victims afraid to engage in certain activities. Other injuries may take away earning potential and detract from the quality of life that was enjoyed prior to the accident. When these items are documented and can be proven, both by the facts of the case and expert opinion, a claim is certainly possible.
In order to file a personal injury claim, there has to be someone or some entity that will be responsible for paying any compensation that is ultimately directed towards you as the victim. This could be a business, workplace, private individual, or even a government agency. When an injury occurs, you need to report to the relevant authorities as quickly as possible. This is an effort to determine who is at fault and what level of compensation will eventually need to be paid out. Keep in mind that partial fault can also be assigned to multiple parties, in which case an eventual settlement or verdict would need to be split amongst everyone involved.
If you have been involved in an accident resulting in injuries to yourself, you may have a claim. It is important to discuss your case as soon as possible with a qualified and capable attorney in your area. The sooner you can resolve the matter, the sooner you can receive the compensation that you are legally entitled and get your life back together again.