STEP ONE: DOCUMENT AND REPORT
When an injury occurs, step one is to document the date of injury by reporting the injury. The best way to document and report an injury is to call an ambulance and go to the Emergency Room. If you don’t think an ambulance is required, then go to the Emergency Room to document and report your injury.
Calling an ambulance followed by an Emergency Room visit is the surest way to document and report an injury. Contact Mike if you have questions.
Here are some other ways to document and report your injury in a variety of situations:
Motor Vehicle Collisions. Call 911 and summon the police. The police will prepare a report that will include your injuries. 911 operators will record your call. BE AWARE that police officers are not medical professionals and are trying to handle an accident scene while making a report about what happened. Police reports may not accurately document an injury.
Semi-Truck Collisions. Call 911 and summon the police and describe your injuries to the police. Ask the police officer to contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) to come and investigate whether the semi-tractor and trailer, or semi-truck driver, complied with all regulations. Usually, the police officer has discretion to contact the DOT officer or not.
Store or Premises Injury. Report the injury to store management and ask that an “incident report” be prepared. Ask for a copy of the document prepared by the store and address any inaccuracies immediately.
Work Injury. Report your injury to your supervisor and ask for a copy of the “Report of Injury” that documents what the supervisor wrote about your injury. If it is not accurate, address the inaccuracy immediately.
Medical Malpractice. Seek out a doctor you trust and secure treatment for the injury you believe caused by the malpractice.
Defective Products. Seek out a doctor you trust and secure treatment. The doctor’s record will document your injury.
STEP TWO: INVESTIGATE
After reporting the injury, investigate by:
- Take photograph and record video of the scene and the injury.
- Write down the name, address, and telephone number of witnesses.
- Search for closed circuit TV cameras.
- Preserve physical evidence. If the evidence can “spoil” then consider freezing it.
- Note the time and date of the injury.
- Preserve as much evidence as possible.
STEP THREE: GO TO THE DOCTOR
Treat your injury with a doctor you trust. Find a doctor competent for your type of injury. Do what the doctor tells you. Keep your appointments, and at a new appointment, explain to the doctor what has changed since the last time you saw the doctor.
STEP FOUR: UNDERSTAND YOUR INJURY
Because doctors are usually very busy, I advise you to write down what you want to ask your doctor about your injury:
- Your diagnosis (what is wrong with you)
- Your prognosis (how this injury affects you over time)
- Your treatment plan (what it will take to treat your injury)
- Your medications and how you take them
- Any home exercise program you can do
- Whether or not you are excused from work, and if you are excused, how long will you be excused and what are you excused from doing. Make sure the doctor understands the work you do and the physical demands of your work.
STEP FIVE: UPDATE YOUR LAWYER
Keep your lawyer informed of your progress. At Burman Law, our clients call, text or email us after a visit to the doctor so we can learn more about how your treatment is progressing in “real time.” The staff at Burman Law work up a “progress note” which is placed in your file and forwarded to me, Mike Burman. Often times, I will take this “progress report” and contact you for more information, or use it to visit with your doctor about your injury.
STEP SIX: ASK YOUR LAWYER QUESTIONS
This is the best part of my work – helping you find real solutions to difficult problems. For example, what if treatment is denied or delayed by your insurance company? You can fight back. What if you grow frustrated that the doctor is “not listening” or “not helping.” There are tried and true ways to help your doctor focus on your injury and treatment. Obviously, I am not your doctor, but if you are having problems or concerns with your case, then ask questions. I do this every day. I’m always happy to advise you – from a lawyer’s point of you – about what is needed to secure treatment for your injury and maximize your insurance so you can reach maximum medical healing.
It takes hard work to win a case. But, if you consistently take these six steps then you are set for a winning case. Please contact me, Mike Burman, if I can assist you with any step.