What to Do if Injured
Depending on how serious your injury is, you may or may not be able to do much. If your pain is severe, or you have suffered a fracture, or you are bleeding profusely, or you were knocked unconscious, then you must go to the hospital. Getting medical treatment as quickly as possible in those circumstances is the most important action you can take. Other persons can perform the suggestions below. The important point it gathering the documentation described below is to remember that you have to prove your case. Legally speaking, you have the burden of proof.
You never know how important the photos you take may become. Everyone’s memory can fade. You may forget important information or not know of its importance. Photos can also prevent a “he said” vs. “she said” dispute. For instance, if in a car collision, photos of where the cars are located may become important. The damage to all the vehicles involved may be important. Its always better to have the photos than not have them. If you have been injured in a fall, then you will need to get the photos of the condition or situation that caused your fall. Under Georgia law, you always need to show what caused your fall. The Court and jury are not allowed to speculate on what caused your fall. You have to prove it. Also, the photo will document the dangerous area and the person responsible cannot claim that the hazard never existed.
Witness Names and Contact Information
Witnesses can make or break a case. Witnesses who saw the collision, or saw the fall, or saw events causing your injury are extremely important. Witnesses can win or lose a case. A favorable witness can often prevent the need to go to trial because the insurance company will know that you can prove your case and so will settle your claim. Insurance companies will listen to third party witnesses because they do not have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.
Document the Event
If you’ve been in a car wreck, a police officer will often come to the scene. He will get the story of each driver and will make an incident report. You need to give the officer your version of what happened. If you fell in a store, hotel or other business, report your injury to the front desk. Tell them to make a report of the incident and to fix the hazard. This documentation will be important for many purposes. First, the insurance company may not believe that an incident injuring you ever happened if the event is not documented. Documentation makes proof much easier because it gives you credibility by supporting what you say happened.
If you have been hurt, get treatment as soon as you can. This is important for your health, and it also provides documentation of your injuries. Again, documentation is important because an insurance company will reject your claim of injury if it is not documented by a medical provider. Once you get treatment, continue with the treatment as long as the medical provider recommends it to you. As you soon as you stop seeing a medical provider, the insurance company will argue that you have been cured. As long as the treatment is helping you, get it. The medical records from the treatment will also provide the necessary documentation to support the extent of your injury.
Avoid Giving Recorded Statements
When an insurance adjuster calls you for a statement, decline. Remember that you are being questioned by a professional who is trying to determine whether to reject your claim. Unless their adjuster’s client, perhaps the at-fault driver, agrees that they were at-fault, it is likely that the adjuster will reject your claim and will use your statement against you. It would be better to contact an attorney who knows what the adjuster is likely to ask you, why the adjuster is asking the questions, and how that information may affect your claim. For instance, your attorney may suggest that you give no statement at all or that you work with him to provide a written statement instead of letting the adjuster ask questions and record answers that could legally hurt you.