By Carol Trehearn

When someone has been the victim of a personal injury, whether punched in the face by an aggressor or hit by a drunk driver, the confusion is palpable. What should you do? What do you have to do?

What should you do first in order to get compensated for your injuries? Let’s discuss what you should do if you’ve been the victim of a personal injury of any kind to minimize the harm and maximize the odds you’ll get the compensation you deserve.

Seek Medical Attention: If you’ve been injured, it is paramount that you seek medical attention. This will prevent injuries from becoming worse from lack of care and verify the severity of your injuries. If you were in a car crash and walked away, still see a doctor to document your condition in case you have whiplash or contusions that require coagulants to prevent serious health effects.

Head injuries, in particular, need to be addressed immediately, since someone may think they feel fine though operating in a fog due to a concussion.

Soft tissue injuries may seem minor but actually be severe. Don’t let the cost of a medical evaluation deter treatment. All of these medical bills are reimbursable expenses when you sue the responsible party later, and getting treatment immediately at the hospital after head injuries or at the doctor the next day minimizes the odds of the problem becoming worse.

Also seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen after receiving initial medical attention on the scene such as new pain, dizziness or fever.

Take Pictures: If you don’t have serious injuries after an incident, start taking pictures of the event if it is safe to do so. After you’ve addressed the immediate medical concerns, start taking pictures if you can do so. For example, you should take pictures of your damaged vehicle.

Don’t worry about privacy concerns.

Snap a picture of the police on the scene so that you don’t have to write down their badge numbers.

Take pictures of witnesses to the assault so that you can get help identifying them later as witnesses or as proof they were present.

Document the damage to your home when the person tried to force their way in, ripped clothes and anything else that is evidence in your case. Do not move things around in an effort to get a clear picture, since this may interfere with a criminal investigation or insurance claim.

Remember that you have the right to file a personal injury case even if there is a criminal investigation of your assailant. If you cannot take pictures, try to take notes like recording the names of those around you, the date and time of the incident and the license plates of those around you.

Contact an Attorney: Contact a personal injury attorney like Thomas J Henry as soon as you have received medical treatment for your injuries.

You should do this as soon as possible even if you couldn’t take pictures of the event, since personal injury attorneys work with accident investigators and draw on documentation by police to put together a complete picture of the incident.

There is no reason to avoid seeking legal advice after an injury. Most personal injury attorneys give free consultations, and the majority work on a contingency basis. In plain English, they are only paid if you win your claim, so you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t win and they’ll tell you in the free consultation if you don’t have a case.

Participate in the Investigation: Your attorney will plan how to prove your injuries were the result of someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence.

It is necessary to participate in the investigation, whether giving the attorney the documentation you have, giving formal statements or visiting another doctor for a second opinion on the extent of your injuries.

Continue Documenting Related Costs: Personal injury lawyers don’t just sue for reimbursement of your incident related medical costs. You can seek reimbursement for lost wages for the days of work you missed.

You have the right to sue for unplanned childcare costs because you had to go to the doctor or were unable to take care of them at home as you usually do.

Physical therapy and prescription medication related to the accident are reimbursable. The responsible party owes it to you to pay for the property damage, such as the cost of repairing broken windows or your smashed up car.

They are also liable for costs incurred because of the incident like paying for a rental car while your car was in the shop or staying in a hotel because you didn’t feel safe staying at home.

If someone ends up dying due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another, funeral costs and counseling for the survivors is covered. Compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages are often awarded by the courts. Provide the documentation on these ongoing costs to your personal injury attorney as he or she builds the case.

Conclusion: First and foremost, seek medical attention after your injury. This step is necessary even if you don’t think the injury is serious at the time, since it solidifies your personal injury claim.

If possible, take pictures of the scene and those involved. Contact an attorney as soon as you can after the event.

Participate in the investigation. Continue to document the related costs associated with the incident so that you can be properly reimbursed, and work with your attorney to ensure that you are properly reimbursed for your injuries and associated costs.

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