- Gather as much information as you can and preserve evidence. Remember, in most accidents, the negligent party will quickly notify his/her insurance company and act to limit liability. Insurance company adjusters work quickly and efficiently to reduce their risk. If you wait too long to start protecting yourself, you may allow the other party or their insurance company to gather evidence you need. They may speak with witnesses and obtain physical evidence before you can even think about what you need to do.It is common for us to be called by someone who has had a serious injury but didn’t want to contact a lawyer. Many people put off contacting a lawyer in the hope of feeling better (“This soreness will go away with time.”) or because they believe the other side will treat them fairly. Regrettably, too often we find that an injured party’s claim is barred because they simply waited too long or evidence they need had vanished.
It is a fact of life that, while injured parties and their families are recovering or grieving, the other side is working diligently to protect their interests and limit their liability.
- Identify witnesses. Get their names, addresses and phone numbers. After the passing of time, witnesses often disappear or are unwilling to get involved or give accurate statements of what they saw or heard.
- Call an attorney you know and trust and who has financial resources necessary to handle your claim. If you don’t know an attorney, and many people don’t, ask trusted friends or advisors whom they would call if they needed a lawyer. Like most lawyers, we do not charge fees for initial consultations related to injury cases.
- Do not talk to the other side’s adjustor or their attorney until you have spoken with your attorney. Remember, if you enter into an agreement with them or sign a release or other document before getting the advice of a lawyer, you may unknowingly limit or prevent your right to a fair recovery. In order to protect yourself and your loved ones, do not make an agreement or sign a document until you have discussed the matter with an attorney of your choice.