In the event that you are entitled to make a claim for damages for injuries suffered in an accident, it is recommended that you document as much as you can from the moment the incident occurs. No matter how you became injured, or even if injuries are not yet apparent, information is extremely valuable. Whether you’ve had a slip and fall on property belonging to someone else, been bitten by a dog, been involved in a motor vehicle accident, or been exposed to trauma while renting an ATV or visiting a water park, making note of all details as soon as possible will be incredibly helpful down the line should you need to file an insurance claim, bring a lawsuit or enter into settlement negotiations.
What to Do Immediately After an Incident
- Make Note of Names and Addresses of Witnesses and Involved Parties
When bringing a legal action, you will need to be able to provide details such as the address where you fell, the name of the owner of a dog that bit you, or the employees with whom you interacted before and after an injury at a commercial establishment. In some cases, you may be too injured to make note of these details right away. If possible, have someone you’re with take notes and photographs, or arrange to get these details as soon as you can after the incident.
- Take Photographs
If you slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk, the icy conditions will only last until the next mild day. It is important to document the condition of the sidewalk as it existed at the time of the fall. If you have visible injuries such as bites, bruises or other physical marks, take photos of those as well, both right away, and over time as they change or worsen. In addition, if you suffered an injury to do a faulty piece of equipment a motor vehicle accident, document the scene with photographs. These may prove helpful in bolstering your case for damages later on.
- Make Notes on Exactly What Occurred As Soon As Possible
It is important to create a record of your experience as soon as you can, while the details are fresh in your mind. While it may seem like a traumatic event would be difficult to forget, it is amazing how many details can be lost, even after just a few days. We recommend that you write down everything that you remember as soon as you can or ask someone you trust to make notes for you based on your recall of the event. These details may become important should you eventually bring a claim for damages.
- See a Doctor
Whether you have physical injuries or not, you should see a doctor right away if you experience an event that could lead to injuries down the road. Some injuries make themselves apparent days or weeks following a physical trauma, and so getting medical care right away, and having that care documented by your doctor, can be crucial. If your doctor recommends a treatment plan or follow-up schedule, we advise that you follow it. If you don’t, any worsening of an injury could be attributed to the fact that you failed to heed medical advice following the accident.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Even if you are unsure of the extent of your injuries, we advise reaching out to an experienced lawyer sooner rather than later. When a potential client contacts us, we will review the incident, any injuries with them in order to assess their likelihood for a case for damages. We will also advise on any additional information that the injured party should gather, and what their next steps should be. While a case may appear to fall within the capped claim regulations, we will generally advise that they wait before signing any documentation with the insurance company until they have a full picture of their injuries in order to protect their right to bring a claim in the future if necessary.