The moments right after suffering a personal injury can be incredibly stressful and confusing. If you are in pain, you may not be able to think clearly or determine what needs to be done to help you heal. This is especially true if you have been hurt because of someone else's negligence.
Taking care of yourself should be your top priority, and that might include getting in touch with an attorney. There are some steps you'll need to take to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.
6 Legal Steps to Take After a Personal Injury in Kansas City
Step 1: Document the Accident
As soon as possible after you have been injured, it's advised that you take notes about what happened as well as photos. If the injury resulted in the police being called, make sure that you get a copy of the report. When working with an injury attorney, they'll need as much information as they can get for your case.
Don't rely on others to take photos of the accident scene. Most cellphones are equipped with a camera, so if yours is still working and you have the ability to document the scene, do. If you are unable due to the extent of your injuries, consider asking a friend, family member, or coworker to take on this task for you.
Not only should you be taking pictures of the surrounding area, but also take photos of your injuries. This ensures that the attorney has a complete picture of what happened at the time of the accident. Since they weren't there, this will give them a better idea of what they are dealing with.
Step 2: Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you need to do after getting injured is to seek medical attention. You may not think that your injuries are that bad, but there are some injuries that take days, weeks, or even months to show up. These include brain and soft tissue injuries.
You want to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Thus, it's beneficial if you seek medical attention after an injury, even if it doesn't seem like it's serious. In addition, some jurisdictions only allow a certain amount of time to file a claim, so getting in to see a doctor as soon as possible is in your best interest.
Step 3: Contact an Attorney
After you have received the proper medical treatment, you then need to contact an injury attorney. Once they have heard the details of the accident and know what type of injuries you have sustained, they'll be able to let you know if you have a case.
Typically, the first meeting with the attorney won't cost you anything. Many attorneys will do a free initial consultation to determine if you have a case and it's something they are willing to take on. If they are interested, they may decide to work on a contingency basis. This means that you don't owe them any money until you get compensated for your injuries.
Step 4: Take Part in the Investigation
After you have decided which attorney to work with to get compensation for your injuries, they will then investigate the accident. This will help them figure out how someone else's negligence led to you getting hurt. This is when your documentation and photos will come in handy. Again, if the police created a report, this is when your attorney will need a copy of that.
During this process, you need to make sure you help your personal injury attorney as much as possible. This may require having your injuries examined once again or having to answer the same questions multiple times. This may seem tedious and impact your day, but it's important that you do your best to stay patient and remain helpful. Your attorney is trying to get you what you deserve, and you have to help through the process.
Step 5: Determine What Kind of Compensation You Would Like to Receive
Depending on your injuries, there are many different kinds of compensation you could receive. These include payments for the following:
- Visiting the doctor
- Filling prescriptions
- Paying for medical equipment necessary for healing
- Care you need at home to heal
- Wages lost due to the inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Your attorney will advise you on which kinds of compensation you should ask for. However, knowing which options are available will help you understand what you may be entitled to. It's important that you get the compensation you need to live as comfortable a life as possible after your injury.
Step 6: File the Injury Lawsuit
If your case can be settled upfront, this step might not be necessary. However, if the person who is responsible for your injury, whether an individual or a company, wants to fight your claim, then it will have to be taken to court.
If that happens, then your attorney will file the appropriate paperwork to get you compensation. There may not be much you can do at this time, but make sure you are available for anything that your attorney might need from you.
Should Contact an Attorney?
For many, taking legal steps after getting injured seems like a long, drawn-out process. In fact, many people don't want to deal with the hassle, so they don't get in contact with an attorney. This can lead to a lot of frustration, stress, and loss of compensation. You need to take care of yourself after an injury. You need to be able to pay your regular bills as well as your new medical bills. Working with an attorney after an injury is the best way to achieve these goals.
There is no harm in talking to an attorney. As mentioned, initial consultations are usually free. If nothing else, they'll be able to answer your questions and let you know if you can or should be looking to get compensation for your injuries. If any of these are true of you, be sure to contact an attorney right away:
- You have been seriously injured or permanently disabled
- You are unsure who is at fault
- Multiple parties are involved in the injury
- The insurance company has denied or is delaying payment of your claim
Finding the Right Attorney
When it comes to finding the right injury attorney, you want to work with someone who has your best interest at the forefront of their mind. They should be working to make sure you are fairly compensated for an injury caused by another person's negligence, and they should be dedicated to getting the best possible outcome for you.
Look for an attorney who has decades of experience and a proven track record of getting compensation for their clients. This increases your chances of getting what you deserve for your injury. If you've suffered a personal injury in Kansas City, contact Sullivan Law and work KS and MO's best personal injury attorneys.