People injured in car accidents, slip and falls, dog bites or other traumatic events only have one chance to pursue their claims and receive the compensation they deserve. Some injured people may not know whether or not they have a valid claim against the insurance company. Others may accept a nuisance value settlement from the insurance company before realizing the severity of their injuries. If you have been injured by another person’s negligence, consider taking the following steps to protect your legal rights.
Obviously a seriously injured person transported from an accident scene by ambulance will be more focused about her immediate well-being than any potential claim she might possess against the other driver. Still, do not forget about valuable evidence that could help support your claim. If you are physically able to do so, consider taking a few photographs of the vehicles involved and the accident scene itself. Use your smartphone or ask to borrow one from a witness and email the photos to yourself. If you are too injured to take photographs, ask your family or friends to take photographs when they get to the accident scene.
If the other driver is denying fault, the driver’s insurance company may reject your claim or offer to only pay a percentage of your damages. For this reason, try to get contact information from any eyewitnesses and follow up with them as soon as you are able to do so. Also remember to ask the investigating officer how you can obtain a copy of the police report.
Find the Right Attorney
Finding the right attorney for your case can be difficult. Many attorneys spend thousands of dollars on television commercials and billboards, but advertisements alone do not insure that a certain attorney is the best attorney for your claim. Conduct online searches to find attorneys in your area who practice personal injury law. The biography sections of the websites should tell you the attorneys’ experience in representing injured people. The websites should also tell you if the attorneys are willing to meet with potential clients for no charge. Ask friends and family about their experiences with attorneys representing them on accident claims. Did their attorneys return their phone calls and emails? Did their attorneys fully explain their legal rights?
Be Involved in Your Claim
Once you find the right attorney, keep in contact with her. Return all phone calls and provide your attorney with any documents she might request from you like paycheck stubs or insurance policies. Do not involve your entire family in your claim. Keep your conversations with your attorney private and work hard with your lawyer to get the money you deserve from the insurance company.
Peter Wendt is a freelance article writer and researcher interested in current legal issues in today’s society.