When you or a family member suffers severe personal injuries due to the negligence of another, there are certain important steps to consider in order to protect yourself from unscrupulous insurance companies and their lawyers. Following are some pro tips from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Contact an attorney early on. There are numerous advantages to getting an injury lawyer involved early in the process. First, the lawyer can preserve evidence that may otherwise be lost. Examples include videotape from security cameras, defective products and measurements and photographs of skid marks at a traffic crash site. Second, the lawyer can advise you on treatment options. Experienced PI lawyers will know orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and therapists that will assist you in litigation. A bad doctor can ruin your case.
Ask for an official Investigation. It is always a mistake to skip a traffic report, when asked by someone who plowed into your car. Call the police. The police have the duty to question the other driver at a time when the other driver is vulnerable. We are all taught to tell the truth. A negligent driver will be more likely to own up to being at fault when interviewed by the police at the scene before lawyers and others who may influence the driver are involved. Later, if not immediately confronted, the wrongdoer might deny involvement altogether. The police will also document the circumstantial evidence surrounding the crash. This may include photographs and measurements of the crash site and witness statements. If the police cite the other driver, that citation is typically accepted by the wrongdoer’s insurance company for purposes of accepting liability. Other official investigations include the Department of Health which will investigate nursing home abuse and neglect. OSHA will conduct official investigations into workplace injuries, like a fall, chemical burn, workplace fatality, electrocution or explosion. These investigations can catalog physical evidence that will be important later on, if a liability dispute develops.
Expect the worst outcome. Many injury victims assume that they will make a full and complete recovery. Usually that is the case. However, in many instances, the injured party may discover that they have acquired a chronic injury that may require sustained treatment or even surgery. It is healthy to hope for the best, but do not neglect an injury and assume that it will just go away on its own. Seek medical treatment early on to document your injury. This will serve as important evidence for your injury lawyer.
Follow medical advice. Insurance company lawyers have a standard check list of tried and true factual defense that work with juries. They are always looking to prove that the injured party is faking or exaggerating. To make such an argument they will have your medical records carefully reviewed to see if you sought treatment for your injury. If you delay treatment or are non-compliant with doctor’s recommendations, the defense attorney will argue that you are not really hurt or you would have sought treatment sooner and followed doctor’s order to get well as soon as possible. This is a troublesome defense for a personal injury attorney.