There are many types of injuries that individuals can suffer as a result of a serious accident. When those injuries occur while a person is working on the job or because of someone else’s negligence, then the injured person may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury claim for damages. In many instances, insurance companies are unwilling to offer full and favorable compensation in accidental injury cases. When that happens, the accident victim may be forced to file a lawsuit and try the case before a jury of his or her peers.
If you suffered injuries in an accident, there are certain steps that you should always take. One of those steps is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can handle all of the legal aspects of your claim while you are recovering from your injuries.
For example, a lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident, obtain a copy of the police report, and gather all of your medical records and bills, to prepare a demand package for the insurance company. A lawyer will also help you decide whether you should settle a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury case, or pursue the matter in court (or before a workers’ compensation commission). If you decide to litigate the case, your lawyer will guide you every step of the way.
Types of Injuries Sustained in an Accident
The types of injuries that an individual might suffer in an accident depend largely upon the circumstances surrounding the accident and how it occurred. Generally speaking, the more serious the accident, the more severe the injury or injuries that the accident victim suffers.
Some of the most common injuries that a victim may sustain in an accident include traumatic head or brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, soft tissue injuries, back and spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and in the most serious accidental injury cases, even death.
If you have suffered one or more of these injuries in an accident that occurred on the job or as a result of another person’s negligence, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Different jurisdictions have different statutes of limitation that provide filing deadlines for personal injury claims and lawsuits. An experienced lawyer will ensure that you promptly file your claim or lawsuit against the proper parties.
How Accidental Injuries Can Occur
Accidental injuries can occur in a variety of different ways with varying circumstances. In some instances, a person suffers an accidental injury while he or she is working on the job and within the scope of his or her employment. When that happens, regardless of the nature of the accident, the injured accident victim may file a claim for various workers’ compensation benefits.
Other accidents and their resultant injuries occur because of another person’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. When these types of accidents happen, the injured accident victim can file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault person and/or the at-fault person’s insurance company.
Common accidents that result from someone else’s negligence, and have the potential of leading to injuries for the accident victim, include motor vehicle accidents (such as car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents), bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and accidents that result from negligent security on the premises.
If you suffer an injury in one of these types of accidents, a personal injury lawyer can assist you with making a claim or filing a lawsuit against the at-fault individual, or that individual’s insurance company. As part of your claim or lawsuit, you will be seeking monetary compensation for all of your medical treatment, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other damages you experienced as a result of the at-fault person’s negligence.
Steps to Take Following an Injury You Sustained in an Accident
If you have been injured in an accident, there are certain steps that you should always take. These steps include calling 911, speaking with a police officer, speaking with witnesses at the scene, calling your insurance company, seeking medical care and treatment, and speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The very first step that you should take following an accident (especially a motor vehicle accident), if you are able, is to either call 9-1-1 or have someone else call 9-1-1 for you. The 9-1-1 operator will then dispatch the police, an ambulance, EMTs, and other emergency personnel to the scene of the accident. You should do this even if you are not sure whether or not you have suffered an injury in your accident. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Speak With the Police Officer Who Responds to the Accident Scene
After you or someone else calls 9-1-1, a police officer will come to the scene of the accident. You should have a frank conversation with the police officer about how the accident happened and any observations that you made. A police officer will fill out and submit a police report.
Especially in the case of a motor vehicle accident, this report can be extremely helpful in determining who was likely at-fault for the accident. In the police report, the police officer may determine who likely caused the accident, and whether to issue a traffic citation (such as for negligent or reckless driving or speeding). If your case goes to trial, a police officer can potentially serve as an important witness in your case.
Speak With Witnesses at the Accident Scene
If you can physically and mentally do so following your accident, you should speak with any individuals who were eyewitnesses at the scene and who saw what occurred. These individuals may have seen who caused the accident and, in the case of a motor vehicle collision, whether another driver appeared intoxicated, was speeding, ran a red light, or ran a stop sign.
You should also attempt to obtain contact information for any and all potential witnesses, including their full names, telephone numbers, and email addresses. Like responding police officers, eyewitnesses to an accident can be important witnesses if the matter goes to trial. You or your lawyer may call upon them to testify in court about what they observed immediately before the accident that caused your injuries.
Call Your Insurance Company
Soon after your accident, you should speak with your insurance company and report a claim. That said, do not speak with any representatives or agents of the at-fault person’s insurance company—at least, not without having a lawyer present with you. Even more importantly, you should never agree to give the at-fault insurance company’s representative a recorded statement.
Insurance adjusters use these recorded statements to try and downplay their insured’s level of fault, in an attempt to shift some or all of the blame onto the accident victim. The at-fault insurance company’s only goal in taking a recorded statement is to try and limit, or even eliminate altogether, a payout for damages to the accident victim. Therefore, you should never agree to give a recorded statement without having legal counsel present with you, either in-person or on the phone.
Seek Medical Treatment
As soon as possible after your accident, you should seek medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or local urgent care facility. You should seek this treatment even if you are not sure whether or not you have been injured, or are unsure about the extent of your injuries. Keep in mind that injuries suffered in an accident do not always manifest themselves right away. In fact, it may take days or even weeks for these injuries to become apparent to you. Therefore, it is typically best to seek medical care and treatment as soon as possible after your accident.
If you delay in seeking medical treatment after your accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company may take that as proof that your injuries could not have been that severe, and attempt to limit the damage payout in your case.
After you seek initial medical treatment at an urgent care center or hospital emergency room, you should follow through with all treatment recommendations. This includes following up with your primary care doctor or a specialist if you discover additional injuries or experience new symptoms.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Finally, after you have suffered an injury in an accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can handle all of the legal aspects of your claim, while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries and getting better. A lawyer can also assist you with the process of filing a claim against the at-fault individual or, in the case of a work injury, with filing a workers’ compensation claim for benefits.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for Damages
To file a successful claim for damages against an at-fault person, you must demonstrate that at the time of the accident, the at-fault person acted unreasonably under the circumstances and, as a result, you suffered one or more physical injuries and damages.
If you can prove all of the elements of your claim, you may recover compensation for your:
- Medical treatment
- Medical procedures
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Loss of spousal or familial support
An experienced personal injury attorney in your jurisdiction can assist you with pursuing the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf in a personal injury case.
If you sustained injuries in an accident that occurred while you were working at your job, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In terms of potential benefits, you may be eligible to receive a portion of your lost wages, as well as compensation for any permanent disability or pain and suffering. In some instances, you may also be entitled to recover compensation for vocational rehabilitation and training.
If you have been injured in an accident that occurred while you were working at your job or that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should talk to an experienced attorney right away. Your lawyer may file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf, and help you recover the benefits or damages to which you are rightfully entitled.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
Accidents and injuries often arise when people least expect them. The serious injuries that victims suffer in an accident can leave them with mounting medical bills, weeks (or even months) away from work, as well as pain and suffering that never seems to go away. If you have been injured in an accident at your workplace—or as a result of another person’s recklessness or negligence, you have a right to pursue monetary compensation for your injuries.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine whether you have a viable case. Your lawyer will also determine if you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, a third-party claim for negligence, or both.
In a case specifically involving a work injury, your lawyer can assist you with filing issues with the workers’ compensation commission in your case, and can pursue benefits on your behalf. In a third-party case, your lawyer can file a claim with the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and litigating your personal injury case through the state court system.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096