STEP 1: REPORT YOUR INJURY.
Tell someone about your injury. Call 911. Call for an ambulance. Go to the ER. Call your friend for help. By reporting your injury, you lay the foundation to prove you were, in fact, injured. A good foundation proves you were injured on a particular date, in a particular place, and that your injury was not your fault. If you cannot establish the date, or the place or who caused your injury, then you lose your case. Some injuries are hard to detect, especially head injuries. Over the years, I have seen people avoid medical treatment because they want to “tough it out,” hoping it will get better with a little time. I admire people who work through their injuries, and encourage it under a doctor’s care, but you should not a avoid going to the doctor when you are hurt; that is not smart. You need to understand your injury and the best way to treat and get well. Delays and gaps in treatment will hurt your case.
STEP 2: FIND A MEDICAL SPECIALIST YOU TRUST.
Injury cases usually need a medical specialist with experience. The best way to find a medical specialist is to go to your family doctor and ask for a referral. When you visit the new doctor, tell the new doctor: (1) how you were injured, (2) what part of your body is injured and (3) how the injury has changed you. Give the new doctor the best past medical history you can so this doctor can understand your “baseline health” immediately before you were injured and as far back as the doctor asks. Do what the doctor tells you. Keep your appointments. It is very helpful to your case, if your doctor uses the appropriate ICD-10 codes to document your diagnosis, your injury, and your treatment.
STEP 3: PRESERVE EVIDENCE.
Take close-up and area photos of:
- the place where your injury occurred
- what caused your injury
- the location of security cameras
- anything or anyone around you when the injury occurred
- the injuries themselves
Save any photographs or video to a computer before it is lost.
Identify witnesses and try to get a full name, a mailing address, an email address and a mobile phone number. If you need help locating witnesses, consider hiring a good private investigator or accident reconstructionist.
As soon as you can after the injury, write out exactly what happened. If you are too ill, have someone assist you.
STEP 4: CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY.
If you have an insurance agent, call the agent. If you do not have an agent, you can go on-line and file a report with your insurance company. Be accurate in what your put in the report. Take care to coordinate your insurance benefits so you maximize your insurance coverage.
STEP 5: THINK TWICE BEFORE USING SOCIAL MEDIA.
Anything you put on social media will be used against you if possible. Insurance companies are known to “troll” social media. Social media is very easy to take out of context. Use the “billboard rule.” If you would not want it on a billboard, then don’t put it on social media.
STEP 6: CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.
Contact me for answers. I never charge a penny to answer questions about wrongful death and injury cases in Kentucky or Tennessee.