If you have been injured on someone else’s property, then the first and most important thing that you can do is seek medical attention!
After that, you might want to start thinking about compensation; after all, if the injury you have sustained wasn’t your fault, you might not think that it’s right that you foot the bill for medical expenses.
If you are going to seek compensation, then there are a few things that you need to do quickly after the incident to ensure that you have the best chance of being awarded what you are entitled to.
Seek medical attention
Seeking medical attention is important, even if you don’t think that your injuries warrant it.
Firstly, injuries that don’t seem all that severe can often cause complications later on or be more serious than they first appeared, so it’s always worth getting things checked out by a medical professional.
Secondly, if you think that you may intend to seek compensation at any point, then a record of the injuries that you sustained will be required, and for that record to be recognized by the court, it must have been taken by a medical professional.
Take photographs and gather evidence
The next thing you need to do is take photographs of your injury and the property where you sustained your injuries, which can be used as proof of what happened.
Your photographs and evidence should be able to be used as stand-alone evidence where possible, meaning that they speak for themselves, so you should ensure that they really do prove that the incident took place. If they require an explanation from you, then the defendant may argue against them, and they could be thrown out. When taking photographs and gathering the evidence, you should consider the following:
- Photos should be dated. Most mobile phones will automatically store photographs with a time and date stamp; however, it can be useful to do things like including a copy of today’s paper in the image as additional proof.
- It’s difficult to prove the size of something in a photograph, so you should include other items as context. For example, you might want to include a yardstick to show how big a hole is.
- If the location is important, try to include local landmarks wherever possible to prove the location.
You should ensure that you have made adequate copies of the photos before the trial, and it’s good practice to send them to the defendant so that they have them in advance. You’ll want to submit enough photographs to prove your point, but not so many that the judge starts to get bored of looking at them; this can actually harm your case.
Be sure that you label all of your photos with the location and date, as this will make using them as evidence much easier.
File an incident report
If your injury occurred on business premises, be sure to file an incident report with the store manager, as this will be an official record that can then be used later if you decide to take legal action.
If the injury involves an assault, then you should file a police report.
If you can, get copies of all of the reports before leaving the premises. This will make it much easier to start legal proceedings later on.
Don’t sign anything
Most businesses have insurance providers who will provide them with protection against liability claims. If you are approached by an insurance provider, it’s important to remember that their role is to minimize the amount of the payout, so in all likelihood, the amount that they offer you will be less than you would be entitled to if you were to pursue a legal case.
Before signing anything, seek out an experienced lawyer. Brown & Crouppen law firm has a great deal of experience in premises liability cases, and they will be able to offer you advice on whether the amount that you have offered is fair, and if not, what you can do about it.
Most law firms will offer to look at your case on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay anything unless you win your case. They will also generally carry out the initial assessment of your case without charge. This means that you can seek legal advice without the worry of being left out of pocket.
How long do you have to take legal action?
In most cases, a statute of limitations will apply, which means that you only have a certain amount of time in which to start legal proceedings. Cases that commence after that amount of time will usually be dismissed straight away.
The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but in general, it is between one and three years. If you are taking legal action against the United States, then the statute of limitations is one year.
Be wary of posting on social media
If you’ve been injured, it can be tempting to post about it on social media to get some sympathy and some likes and just vent about your frustrations. However, you should be very careful when doing this and when posting about anything in the time after the accident and before your court date.
Your social media posts can absolutely be used against you in court, and if you have filed a claim, you can almost guarantee that the defendant’s legal team will go looking on your social media profiles for evidence against you.
One example is if you claimed that the accident had left you unable to move about freely, but then your social media posts made it look like you could. Whatever the truth behind the photo, if it looks suspicious enough to cause doubt, then this can harm your case.
You should also be aware that it is completely legal to use social media as evidence, and more than this, if you are caught deleting social media posts in the run-up to a trial, this could be seen as the destruction of evidence which will not help the outcome of your case. Be aware that even if something appears to be deleted, it is usually possible to retrieve it.