If you are injured as the result of any type of accident, the steps you don't take before contacting a personal injury lawyer can be just as important as the steps you do take. This is because in some cases, choosing to take action before consulting an attorney can actually prove quite damaging to your claim. That is why it is so important for you to review both the do's and don't outlined below if you have recently been involved in an accident.
Do Seek Medical Attention
Your number one priority after being involved in an accident is to seek medical attention. This is very important, even if you do not initially believe that you require medical attention. Some medical conditions can result in a rather significant delay in the onset of symptoms. Some of these conditions, such as a minor internal bleed, can become life-threatening if not dealt with right away. Getting medical attention right away will help ensure these serious conditions do not go untreated. Seeking immediate medical care will also establish a clear timeline that demonstrates exactly when your injuries were suffered.
Don't Make Any Statements
You will want to avoid making any formal or informal statements regarding the events leading up to the accident until after you have consulted an attorney. Any statements that you make can be used by the insurance company when determining liability. Consequently, something as simple as you apologizing to the other driver can be used to indicate that you accepted at least partial fault for causing the accident. The best way to prevent your words from being used against you is to simply refrain from making any statements at all. Instead, simply inform any inquiring parties that you are happy to cooperate but not until after you have had a chance to consult your lawyer.
Do Document All Communication
Any communication that you do have regarding your accident should be fully documented. This includes interactions with law enforcement, the insurance company, individuals involved in the accident, and witnesses. Be sure to record the date and time the communication took place, the name and contact information of the person you are talking to, and the content of your communication. Providing this information to your personal injury lawyer can help dramatically when it comes to quickly resolving your claim.
Don't Accept Any Payments
Accepting any type of payment for your injuries can be viewed as a legal settlement of your claim and prevent you from seeking additional compensation in the future. This includes any cash payments from another driver in the hopes that you will not need to involve your insurance carrier. Even if you do ultimately decide to settle your claim directly rather than going through an insurance company, it is vital that you give yourself enough time to determine the exact damages in your case before accepting any payments so that you do not end up restricting your legal right to collect. If you do decide to accept payment, a personal injury lawyer will not be able to assist with your claim since you will no longer have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Keep this in mind when looking for a personal injury lawyer.