Accidents and Injuries: Getting started

Accidents and injuries occur every day, everywhere. On the road, in the workplace or at home, accidents happen. So what comes next, if you have been a victim of, cause of or witness to an accident?

Witnesses

As a witness, your responsibility lies in providing accurate information to authorities and to officials during the claims process (if necessary) regarding what you saw and heard at the scene of the accident. Witnesses bear very little legal responsibility, but should make every effort to be truthful in their statements as insurance companies can sue for false statements if they believe a witness has deliberately provided misleading information.

Legally Liable

Liability issues commonly arise when product manufacturers, vehicle drivers, medical practitioners or property owners cause harm to a person or persons out of recklessness or negligence. If you believe that you may have been the cause of an accident, it is possible that you will be legally liable for injuries that you have caused. You should consult a law professional familiar with liability law to help determine what to do next.

Victims

If you have been the victim of an accident and have suffered personal injury as a result, you may be able to make a claim to receive compensation for your injuries. Personal injury, in legal terms, refers to injuries to the body, mind or emotions, while injury to property falls into a different category. Some of the more common personal injury claims are results of automobile accidents, workplace injuries, physical assault, and injuries resulting from defective products and drugs.

When considering making a personal injury claim, it is important to start by doing some research, understanding your options, and considering seeking professional guidance.

What do I do first? Take notes. Write down everything you can about the accident and your injuries. Include as many details as you can remember. People you saw, things you heard, your physical condition, the general environment – these are all important details. Remember, also, to take detailed notes in the following days and weeks regarding your physical, emotional and mental well-being. Take note of any changes to your daily routine that have occurred as a result of the accident.

When should I file my claim? The sooner you file, the better, but make sure to do your research first. Don’t rush down the claims road without a clear understanding of the process and your personal rights.

What kind of accident and/or injury is it? There are many classes of accidents and injuries. Some of them most common include auto accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, workers comp (accidents that occurred in the workplace), wrongful death and toxic tort (injury caused by a toxic substance). 

Should I seek professional advice or assistance? In most cases, yes. To ensure that your case is handled fairly and you receive the compensation you deserve, consider hiring a professional. When looking for professional assistance, utilize our business listings to help find a lawyer or consult available advising resources. 

  • Written by: Michelle Spatz
  • Saturday, 03 December 2011