When you or a loved one has been injured, it is more than likely that the last thing on anyone’s mind is filing a personal injury lawsuit. That said; imagine a situation in which you suffered an injury caused by someone else. Hospital and doctor bills are piling up and the costs for medication and therapy are continuing. To make the financial downward spiral worst, you are unable to work. What do you do? For many who have been injured, the only resolution to regain financial control of their life is pursue legal action. If you one day decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to know the initial steps that need to be taken in order to maintain the integrity of your claim. This article will discuss the first three steps to follow when pursuing a personal injury claim.
Three Steps to Begin a Personal Injury Case
Step #1: Document What Happened
Simply stating it, memories do not last forever, especially painful ones. Psychologist suggests that as time goes on, our memories not only become distorted but we also tend to develop false recollections. As such, a journal can be a crucial asset if you are considering a personal injury lawsuit. The more accurate and detailed you are able to document your injuries the more likely you are to be fairly compensated for them.
Your journal or diary has one main purpose: to accurately and specifically detail how your everyday life has been changed or altered as a result of your injuries. Included within your journal should be detailed descriptions of exactly what happened before, during, and after your injury. Discuss job performance and wage loss details, emotional well-being, marital relations and the ways in which your relationship with family and friends has been affected. It is also important that your journal contains the personal contact information of any witnesses, a running record of treating physicians and the dates of service for medical treatment.
Step# 2: Take Photos and Secure Evidence
In securing evidence, your priority should be making sure that every item of physical evidence is preserved. Physical evidence may include broken or faulty equipment, torn clothing, and important documents. In this regard, be sure to keep or obtain all medical records pertaining to medical treatment you received as a result of your injury. In some scenarios where physical evidence may not be available, such as uneven pavement on a sidewalk causing a “slip and fall;” remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Take detailed photographs of your injuries and the area where the injury occurred, from all angles, and if possible, under the same type of conditions.
Step #3: Obtain Incident Report or Police Report (If Possible)
If you were involved in an incident in which a law enforcement officer responded, it is more than likely that a police report was documented and filed. If the police did not respond, but the incident occurred on a commercial property such as a gym or grocery store, it is also likely that an incident report was generated. It is important to understand that you ARE entitled to receive copies of these documents. While the police and/or incident report may not be admitted into the civil court proceedings, it can lend a hand in attorney negotiations by providing leverage in your dispute. Facts and conclusions found in police and incident reports may provide:
- Circumstances on the incident including weather conditions, date and time, and specific locations.
- Contact information for witnesses
- Initial Assessment of fault.
Whether you decide to pursue a personal injury case or not is totally up to you. Before making your decision, it is important to first discuss a potential personal injury lawsuit with an experienced attorney. Give Torgenson Law a call at 602-759-0012 for a free consultation.