Personal Injury Claim: The first steps
If you have been injured in an accident, it is important that you get medical assistance. Everything else can wait. Once you are on the road to recovery, you can start contemplating your legal options. You will have many questions. Here are the answers to some of them.
Your First Steps
As mentioned earlier, the first thing you need to do is to get medical assistance. Once you have received medical attention, here are some steps you can take to protect your rights and claim (not in any specific order) against another person or party other than the government or a government agency:
- The law requires evidence. Collect all possible evidence that can prove the fault of the other person or party and the injuries or damages suffered by you. Take photographs of the accident location and of your injuries or damages.
- Memory tends to fade with time. So make a note of everything that you did immediately after the accident including the type of injury, the number of days you were hospitalized and had to miss work, etc.
- If there are witnesses who happened to see the accident occur, get their contact details. Make sure you contact them and confirm the details.
- Make a note of any conversation you entered with others involved in the accident.
- Inform the parties against whom you intend to make a claim of your intention
Notifying the Other Party or Person
If the other party or person is not the government or a government agency, you can notify the party or person at anytime. There is not set limit to notify the party or person. However the earlier you act, the better it is. Just because you have notified the other person or party of your intention to file a lawsuit, you do not necessarily have to file a lawsuit. By notifying the person or party, you are only protecting your right to file the lawsuit and preventing the other party from claiming that you took a long time to notify him or her of your injuries. When you notify the other person or party, it increases your chances of negotiating a settlement.
Statute of Limitations
You must file your lawsuit within the time period prescribed by the statute of limitation in your state. In some states, the time period can be six months or even less. Once the statute of limitation for filing a lawsuit expires, you cannot file the lawsuit. You will loose your rights to file the lawsuit for your injuries.
If the other party is the government or a government agency, you must follow certain procedures. You must file your claim with the government or the agency within the time specified by law. This varies from 30 days to one year. If you do not file your claim with the government or the agency within this time period, you will loose your rights to file a lawsuit for compensation. Contact your local city or county attorney to know the exact procedure and time period for making a claim with the government or a government agency in your area.