The time immediately after suffering an unexpected injury can be stressful
and confusing. While your first priority should be to seek medical attention
and protect your health, you should also begin thinking about your legal
options. Whether your injuries were the result of a
car accident, a slip and fall, a dangerous product, or
medical malpractice, you may have grounds to pursue compensation by filing a
personal injury claim against the responsible parties. But where do you even begin?
Seek Medical Attention
As stated above, your first step should be to see a doctor as soon as possible
and receive treatment. Aside from the obvious health reasons, doing this
will help your claim by establishing a medical record of your injuries
and treatment. The longer you wait, the greater the chances are that the
responsible party or their insurance will imply that your injuries were
the result of another cause. In some cases, waiting too long to see a
doctor can cause your claim to be outright denied for reasons of negligence,
as this can lead to a worsening of your condition.
During this time, keep a record of all expenses you incur, including:
- Medical bills
- Prescription drug costs
- Medical copays
- Lost wages from time away from work
- Transportation costs to medical appointments
- Rehabilitation costs
Keeping track of these expenses is vital to allow you to maximize your
claim and pursue compensation for all incurred costs. It is also recommended
you keep a journal documenting your levels of pain and all hardships caused
by your injuries, as this can be crucial to help determine a fair level
of compensable pain and suffering.
Your next priority is to gather evidence and write down as much information
as you can about your accident while your memory is still fresh. Depending
on the nature of your accident, this may include:
- Taking photographs of the damage or accident scene
- Recording the names and contact information of witnesses
- Writing down important details about possible causes of your accident
- Examining police reports
- Making copies of medical records
This will help you to establish the other party’s liability for your
injuries and strengthen your chances of securing compensation. In most
personal injury cases, liability is based on the legal concept of negligence.
Others, such as injuries from dangerous products or intentional assaults,
may instead involve the legal bases of strict liability or intentional
wrongdoing. An attorney can help determine which of these applies to your case.
Do I File an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit?
Once you have seen a doctor and have collected the necessary evidence of
your injuries, you will need to determine if your injuries are covered
under the at-fault party’s insurance. While many injury claims are
settled through out-of-court negotiations with the responsible party’s
insurers and their attorneys, others may require you to file a civil lawsuit
and potentially pursue litigation to recover damages.
Generally speaking, personal injury lawsuits are only required if the negotiation
process between you and the at-fault party’s insurance breaks down,
or if the at-fault party does not have insurance at all. Breakdowns can
occur over disagreements of fault or when an acceptable settlement amount
cannot be reached. In any case, it is best to discuss your case with a
knowledgeable personal injury attorney to determine the most appropriate
course of action.
Contact Michael J. Doyle Attorney at Law
Regardless of the specifics, any personal injury case requires a detailed
understanding of the facts, the law, and the associated processes –
all of which can be incredibly complex. If an accident has impacted your
life, contact Michael J. Doyle, Attorney at Law today. Having protected
the rights of the injured for more than 10 years, our Albuquerque personal
injury lawyers can handle the legal heavy lifting on your behalf and provide
the powerful support you need to maximize your financial recovery.
To find out more about how our firm can assist you, call (505) 219-2176 today.