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After An Accident: The First Steps In Making A Claim

You were just in an automobile accident. Your car was hit and you’re in pain. You slipped on a wet floor in a market and can’t get up. You are ill after a restaurant meal. You were walking down the street and a dog bit you. Or you were hit by a falling object in a store. These and other accidents happen daily. What are the first steps you should take to protect and make a claim?

Get medical help

The first step is to get medical help for injuries. Prompt medical care helps prevent any injuries you suffer from getting worse and can speed up your recovery time. Regarding your accident claim, prompt medical care helps make a good record of what happened to you, because doctors and other medical providers will make notes of your injuries. These notes and records will play an important role in your claim for compensation. Be sure to seek medical help even if you think your injuries are minor. Many serious injuries are not readily apparent at first.

Write down details about the accident

If you can, make a record of what happened. After a car accident, write down details about the other car and driver (including his or her name, address, home and work phone numbers, driver’s license number, insurance company and policy number). Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses. Write down what you were doing, and what you saw, heard and felt. If a camera is available, photograph the accident scene and your injuries. These records and data will help your lawyer prepare and make your claim.

Get legal help

Call your lawyer promptly. If your injuries are serious, your lawyer can start obtaining evidence, interviewing witnesses and preparing your claim sooner. Even if your injuries are minor, talk to your lawyer anyway. As noted above, some injuries take time to notice. Some injuries get worse over time. It helps your claim if your lawyer makes notes and gives you legal advice as soon as possible. Also, there are time limits for making claims. If these deadlines are not followed, your claim will be lost, even if it’s valid.

In some accidents, like those involving a government entity, there are special rules and very short time limits for making claims. Your lawyer helps make sure the proper steps are taken in time to protect you.

Keep track of your expenses and losses

From the moment after your accident, start keeping track of all your losses. This includes all medical-related costs as well as how much time you lose at work and your other expenses.

Also keep records of how the accident affects your daily life (such as family and social events you miss) as well as details about any pain, discomfort or other problems caused by the accident.

Notifying insurance companies

Depending on the type of accident, report it to insurance – your own insurance, and insurance of whoever caused the accident. Your lawyer can advise you which insurance companies to notify. But remember never to give a statement to an insurance adjuster without first consulting your lawyer. Insurance adjusters are very good at getting accident victims to make statements that lower the value of their claim. Also, never accept a settlement or sign anything without consulting your lawyer.

These are some of the first steps to take after an accident, starting at the accident scene. Following them will help create a good record of what happened and will also help increase the amount of compensation you receive for your injuries and losses. If you have any questions about what to do after an auto, slip and fall or other kind of accident, including your legal rights and obligations, please call us. We will be happy to help you.

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Our Practice Focus
Injured hospital patient

Personal Injury

When you have been injured because of the carelessness or negligence of another person, you want an experienced and aggressive lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.
Doctor & patient

Medical Malpractice

When you seek medical attention, you anticipate that at a minimum your condition won’t worsen because of the carelessness or negligence of physicians, nurses or other medical personnel.
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Workers’ Comp

In most instances, in the aftermath of a work-related injury you have the right to seek monetary benefits under state workers’ compensation laws, so that you can recover lost wages and medical expenses.

Family Law & Divorce

We understand that family law matters can be highly emotional, and that different solutions work for different clients.

Many people have the idea that when we file a lawsuit, we are suing the person. We are not. We are suing the insurance company that the person has been paying to protect them against a loss like this. The insurance company that this person has been paying for quite some time.

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