Taking legal action can be pretty intimidating for many, especially when you’re preoccupied with recovering from that injury. But when you’ve accrued medical bills, lost wages, and more thanks to an injury you believe isn’t your fault, it’s important to begin the process as soon as possible. Here are five steps to setting your claim in motion.
1. Find out if the other party has the means.
Getting the settlement you deserve can be tough if the party responsible for your injury has no coverage. Of course, you can still sue an uninsured entity who is legally responsible for your injury, but this doesn’t mean you’ll get the money you need to make things right. If it so happens that you’re insured and your injury wasn’t very severe, a lawsuit may be a bigger hassle than you can realistically handle.
2. Don’t sign or settle.
If you’ve determined that there is the possibility that damages could be paid up by the responsible party, keep it under your hat for now. Once you’ve planned to see an attorney about a lawsuit, refrain from signing any other agreements or accepting any other settlements.
3. Collect your evidence.
It will be much easier for your attorney to get moving if you come in armed with some vital pieces of evidence. If possible, take or find photos of the scene of the accident, and any damage that occurred right after (such as a dented vehicle). If you take photos of your injury, capture it from a variety angles in adequate lighting.
In addition to photos, it’s helpful to get a copy of the police report, if one was made, as well as medical records, bills, and any information you have on the party who you believe is at fault. Finally, you may want to write down your account of what happened, just so you have a chronological rundown of the events close by.
4. Begin contacting attorneys.
Now you can begin researching and asking people you know about firms you can speak to about your case. You’ll find that many firms don’t require up-front payment, and will work on contingency. You can contact Sibley Dolman for more information pertaining to the ins and outs of injury cases and attorneys.
5. Attend consultation.
Now you can schedule an exploratory meeting with a lawyer to share information. Ask directly how the attorney would approach your case, and how viable they feel your case is. Ascertain what resources they have at their disposal, and who will actually be responsible for working on your case. Also learn up front what your responsibilities will be while the case is active.
Once you get the ball rolling, do your best to remain patient. Personal injury cases can take years to get to trial, although your attorney may get you to a settlement faster. In any case, your first steps following an injury are crucial, so stick to the above, don’t shy away from speaking to multiple law firms before signing with one, and always do what is within your power to ensure a complete recovery.