What to Do Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When you are injured in an accident, things can quickly become a chaotic mess of doctors and paperwork. If you are considering seeking compensation for your injuries through a lawsuit, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Important Steps to Take
Taking these several steps after your accident will help when you are ready to file your claim.
Obviously, the first thing you should do when injured is seek medical assistance, especially if the injury is serious. However, once your mind is clear and you are in stable condition, you should begin taking notes of your recollection of the accident. Include details about what you were doing before the accident, how the accident occurred, and what you felt during and after the event.
It is also important to write down anything you remember being said at the accident scene by the other people involved in the accident and/or any witnesses. People are generally honest by default, and recording what someone who caused your injury said immediately afterward can help you if that person later denies responsibility.
After you’ve written down the initial facts, begin keeping a daily log of any pain or discomfort you feel. Sharing this information with your doctor will help discover additional injuries that were not immediately apparent, such as damage to your spine.
You should also maintain a record of any losses you suffer due to the accident. This includes destruction of personal property, loss of income due to an inability to work, and any other tangible damages.
As you begin your efforts to resolve your damages from the accident, write down information about any follow-up conversations you have regarding the incident, especially when speaking with your doctor, any witnesses, or your insurance agent. Record the date and time of the conversation, the names of those involved and the details of the discussion.
You will also need to obtain copies of your medical records. During a lawsuit, you will likely need to prove the extent of your injuries. The court may also require proof that the injuries were caused by the accident and not a pre-existing medical condition.
The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorizes you to obtain a copy of your medical records from any healthcare provider with access to them. Under the HIPAA, your medical provider is required to provide the copies within 30 days of the request; however, it is entitled to charge a small fee for this service.
Be sure to ask what costs you will be required to pay for copies of your medical records, if any. When you are physically able, you can return to the scene of the accident to collect evidence and take photos of the scene if you were unable to do so immediately following the incident.
Be sure to look for anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a malfunctioning traffic light, a broken step, or an overhanging tree branch. Physical evidence, such as torn clothing or a damaged bicycle, should be preserved exactly as it was after the accident if possible.
You should also take photos of the evidence in case it cannot be preserved or is later lost or damaged. Photos of the extent of your injuries will also help your case. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.
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