When Should You Talk With An Injury Attorney After An Accident?

Law Blog

After an accident, the idea of demanding compensation for your injuries might not be the first thing on your mind. Recovery is certainly important, but there are good reasons to reach out to a personal injury lawyer for advice. Here are some of the factors that may play into when you should speak with a personal injury attorney.

Is There an Immediate Need?

The big thing that dictates whether you should speak with a lawyer right after an accident is how well the scene of the incident is likely to be preserved. Lots of accidents occur in high-traffic areas, such as falls in stores. If there's something at the scene that should be documented right away, a personal injury lawyer can visit and make sure there are contemporaneous photos and videos. Likewise, they can formally notify potential defendants to preserve evidence, like asking a store's manager to retain surveillance feeds that might show what happened.

Focus on Getting Medical Care

One factor that may stall your effort to seek counsel is getting immediate medical care. Fortunately, any personal injury attorney will tell you to deal with this first and think about legal advice later.

The main reason it's important to get care first is that avoiding treatment is grounds for rejecting a claim. Your focus in the hours following an accident should be on accepting care and making sure a medical professional documents your injuries.

If your injuries go undocumented, a defendant may argue there's no way to tie your claim to what happened. This is because you want scans, X-rays, and reports to come from as soon after the incident as possible. A defendant will have a harder time disputing, for example, the validity of an X-ray taken one hour after an accident than one taken a week after.

Reporting What Occurred

Filing a report is often just as important. Many businesses have incident report forms, and they may ask you to read and sign them. Don't sign any such documents until a personal injury lawyer has reviewed them. Otherwise, you might be signing away your rights. If someone offers you a written report or asks you for a statement, decline and tell them you'll need to speak with an attorney.

Statute of Limitations

Typical state laws give claimants two to three years to file their initial demands. It's wise not to eat up all that time. A lawyer may need months or years to set up a case, and getting started early is ideal. Request a free consultation once you're able to do so.

For more information about working with a personal injury lawyer, reach out to a local law firm, like Leisawitz Heller.


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