If you have been involved in an accident, and you think you may have a valid PI case, your actions immediately following the incident can have a critical impact on the outcome of your case. Even if you are unsure if you want to pursue legal action, I recommend following these few simple steps and protect yourself—just in case.
#1. Start a Journal
Write down everything you can remember about the accident—date, time, location, who was present, describe every ache or pain you experience, etc. Be sure to date each entry if you recall additional details a day or two later. It’s a good idea to record the financial impact of your injuries and doctor visits, as well. It can take months or years for a personal injury case to get to trial. Having notes will help keep the incident fresh in your memory. Remember–even the smallest, seemingly insignificant detail can prove vital to your case.
#2. Preserve Evidence
You may want to return to the scene of the accident on the same day of the week and the same time of day as your accident. Write down everything you see. It is also helpful to take photos from several different angles.
If there were witnesses to your accident, talk to them, too. Ask if you can record your conversations and be sure to state the date of the interview.
It is also important to protect physical evidence. If you were involved in a car crash, the damage to the car may demonstrate how hard the collision was. Torn or bloodied clothing shows the extent of your injuries. If you cannot preserve the actual object, be sure to take photos from several angles.
#3. Notify Responsible Parties
It is important that you notify anyone you feel may be responsible for your accident. You do not have to know who was at fault, just whom you suspect might be at fault. All you need to do is send a simple letter to each party(ies) with your name, the time, date and place you were injured, and your intention to file a claim.
Be sure not to provide any detailed information about the accident or the extent of your injuries.
It is also important not to delay sending these notification letters. Although the law does not specify a set time period, submitting notification within 2 weeks of the accident is a good rule of thumb.
Now, you are by no means required to file a claim because you send a notification letter. However, it will help your case if you do send the letters in a timely manner prior to filing suit.
Memories fade quickly, so the sooner you begin documenting your accident, the better. If you need assistance with a PI case or you are unsure if you have a valid PI claim, you can reach me at 618-659-4499 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on personal injury, visit our website at www.sivialaw.com.