The choices you make after an accident will have huge repercussions
Time is of the essence in personal injury matters, and that clock starts ticking the moment the accident is over. In decades of practicing law, we’ve seen far too many people weaken their legal position because they didn’t take proactive steps to protect their rights.
If you’re injured in an accident, here are the three things you need to do right away:
- Get immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine.
We can’t stress the importance of this step enough. Don’t just dust yourself off and say it’s no big deal. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, your adrenaline level is still high, your “fight or flight” response is engaged, and that can make it easier to ignore pain or other symptoms. Plus, many injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and internal organ damage, can have delayed-onset symptoms. So, you are not able to assess whether you are healthy or not. See a doctor right away, whether that’s at an urgent care center, an emergency room, or your primary care provider.
Tell your doctor what happened and inform them of every symptom, no matter how minor. You aren’t being weak or whiny; you’re giving a medical professional the information they need to treat you. Then, follow your doctor’s instructions. Go to your follow-up appointments. Take your medications as prescribed. Don’t push through the pain; be proactive about taking care of your health.
At each stage in your medical treatment, get everything in writing: bills, discharge instructions, prescriptions, doctor’s orders, even the travel time and mileage to and from each medical appointment. This creates a record of your injuries and medical treatment in case an insurance company later disputes them. Speaking of which:
- Document everything.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident and any visible injuries. If you slipped on, tripped over, or were hit by something, save the object. Get names and contact information for anyone else involved in the accident and any witnesses to the accident. If your injury occurred on private or public premises, make sure to report it to a representative of the owner of the property or someone in charge of the premises, and get all the incident report information — but don’t sign anything until you talk to your lawyer. All this information is critical to prove how your accident happened and who was responsible.
You should also start keeping a journal immediately after the accident. Each day, record your level of pain and other symptoms. Document the ways the injury has affected your life. Did someone else have to run an errand or pick up household chores because you were too hurt to do it? Have you had to miss work or take on lighter duties at work? Every detail needs to be accounted for.
What you’re doing is laying the foundation for a strong case for the compensation you’re entitled to receive by law. To really protect your rights, though, you need to:
- Talk to an attorney before you talk to the insurance company.
Insurance company representatives do this every day. They’re trained to ask loaded questions and manipulate injured people into saying things that hurt their claims. They may even offer you a settlement that looks good – but taking it means signing away your right to pursue further damages if it turns out the cost of your accident was higher than you thought. They’re not on your side, and you shouldn’t face them on your own.
It’s critical that you choose an attorney, one with experience and a winning track record in personal injury cases, to discuss your case and advocate for your rights throughout the personal injury process. Before you speak with an insurance company or other interested party, or sign any documents or settlement offers, talk to us. We can handle the insurance company on your behalf, conduct a full investigation to get to the bottom of what happened, and make sure your legal rights are protected while you focus on healing. We are adept at assessing the full value of an injury and will work with you to build a strong case for the full and fair compensation you need.
In short, the attorney you choose will make all the difference. If you’ve been hurt in an accident in New York, we strongly encourage you to speak with us as soon as possible. Attorney Pat James Crispi will give you clear and candid answers about your legal options. Contact Keogh Crispi, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation.