What To Do Following An Accident
To recover medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering following a slip-and-fall, auto or workplace accident, there are several steps you must take. According to James Alexander, personal injury attorney and founder of Alexander & Associates, in many cases there is no authority that investigates the scene of a workplace or slip-and-fall accident. That’s why it’s important to gather evidence right away in order to support your case – and it’s equally important when you’ve been in a car accident.
After an accident, be sure to follow any necessary protocols. For example, if you slipped and fell in a grocery store aisle, notify the manager and fill out an accident report. The same procedure goes for workplace accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car, always call 911. And in the event that you’re seriously hurt, get immediate medical attention.
When it comes to documenting an accident, a picture’s worth a thousand words. Alexander explains that following a slip-and-fall accident in particular, “it’s absolutely essential that you take photographs of what caused you to fall,” such as snow, ice, loose carpet or uneven concrete. These photos will help prove your case if you testify before a jury. Additionally, Alexander advises, “If someone else is there who saw it, get their name and number.”
The same goes for workplace accidents. “You have to identify a defect or a dangerous condition” says Alexander. Following an accident at work, take a picture of the tool or equipment that caused the injury, and safeguard any evidence. Likewise, for auto accidents, snap photos of the scene, including your injuries. Although authorities are usually called to investigate the accident and generate a police report complete with witness information and pictures, some details may be left out that could help you win a future case.
No matter the accident, write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who may have witnessed the mishap. When it comes to building a case, having testimony from witnesses can prove beneficial if the defendant disputes your claim. You should also obtain a copy of the police or accident report when applicable, and keep all bills stemming from the accident, from medical bills to repair receipts.
When speaking with the police or other individuals directly after an accident, be careful what you say. Never admit fault, sign documents or talk with the other person’s insurance company about the accident until you’ve contacted an attorney.
“A lot of times, insurance companies will call the person and get a statement that is more favorable to the insured, or the insurance company’s client,” says Alexander. However, “If the client doesn’t have legal advice, they may not be wary about that, and they may guess at distances and times and say something that’s wrong,” Alexander explains. While it’s okay to speak with your own insurance company, you are not obligated to speak with the other person’s insurer.
Because of the complex nature of these situations, Alexander emphasizes, “Make sure that somebody with legal knowledge tells you what steps need to be taken.” Following an accident, you can confide in a lawyer, since he or she is bound by confidentiality. In addition, at Alexander & Associates, there is no fee and no cost to you unless your case is won, so you can get the legal advice you need after an auto, slip-and-fall or workplace accident with no obligation.
For help pursuing a claim following a slip-and-fall, auto or workplace accident, call the personal injury lawyers at Alexander & Associates at 1-800-529-1333.