What to do if Injured by Negligence

By: Timothy McFarlin | Published: April 15th, 2010 | Category: Personal Injury

Negligence exists when a person fails to take certain steps to prevent injury or harm to others.  Something like letting a dog off leash in a playground or talking on a cell phone while driving may be enough to prove negligence and be awarded damages following an injury.  After an injury, a person should take certain steps to ensure they receive fair treatment under the law and fair compensation from those responsible for the injury. 

First and foremost, get medical treatment.  It can be difficult, but not impossible, to prove an actual injury was sustained when the injured party decides not to go to the hospital.  Some hospitals will also be able to provide pictures of injuries if requested.  A professional medical diagnosis will be a strong piece of evidence to show that an injury did in fact occur.   

Second, gather evidence to substantiate your claim.  Take pictures of the area where the injury occurred and gather contact information from witnesses who were at the scene.  This information will be used by the court to paint a picture for all present of exactly what happened.  Witnesses will prove to be valuable beyond words, because it is hard to deny the word of a third party with nothing to gain from the outcome of a case. 

Third, contact a personal injury attorney.  An attorney isn’t required, but highly recommended.  Attorneys can negotiate with defendants for settlement amounts and can call on medical and forensic experts to further substantiate claims made by their clients.  An attorney is also a great asset to have if facing a long recovery process.  Not too many people want to worry about legal paperwork and research while they recovery from their wounds. 

Settling personal injury claims can happen in or out of court.  The party responsible for the injury may find court fees too costly to justify a defense if they know that they did something wrong.  Many injury victims may prefer to settle out of court as well in order to avoid a trial if their physical or economic situations make attendance at a trial impossible or uncomfortable.  An attorney trained at settling personal injury claims out of court can help make sure that their client receives the fairest compensation for their injuries in the absence of a trial.  Settling personal injury claims out of court can save defendants thousands, and in some cases millions, of dollars, depending on the amount of assets they are trying to protect. 

There is nothing unethical about seeking compensation for legitimate injuries.  Some will try to paint a picture of greed when describing a legitimate victim of injury seeking monetary compensation, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Personal injuries have a way of taking a toll quality of life as a whole, even if the effects are not noticed right away.  A personal injury may develop or trigger certain conditions that limit a person’s ability to work.  The money gained from settling personal injury claims should be treated as a sort of insurance for the future, in case the injury creates bigger problems for the victim.

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