What You Should Do After An Accident
A car accident, a slip or fall, or another devastating but preventable event can happen without warning. If you have been the victim of someone else’s careless behavior, you may have rights to assert. In the aftermath of an accident, there are certain steps to take that may be vital in ultimately asserting those rights. The injury lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help individuals in Port St. Lucie and the neighboring cities take legal action to seek the compensation that they need from those who have harmed them.Documenting the Course of Events
Documenting the facts early in an accident case can help your attorney build a case of negligence against the person responsible. This generally consists of showing four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. In most situations, the relevant duty consists of taking the same precautions as a reasonable person in a similar situation. A breach is any behavior that falls short of the appropriate standard of care. Victims can prove the causation element by showing that they would not have been hurt if not for the defendant’s breach. Damages are often both economic and non-economic, extending from items such as medical expenses and lost wages to pain and suffering.
One way in which defendants may try to reduce liability is by asserting a comparative fault argument. This is an attempt to blame the accident at least in part on the victim. If this argument is successful, the damages award would be reduced in proportion to the victim’s degree of fault.
Your foremost concern should always be for your personal safety. If you have been involved in a car accident, truck wreck, motorcycle crash, or boat collision, stay in your vehicle until it is safe to get out. If you are not able to move, or you do not think you can get out of the vehicle safely, stay inside until help arrives. Police and other first responders can stop traffic and summon emergency help.
If your physical condition allows you to do so, get as much information as you can about the other people who were involved in your accident or who may have witnessed it. If you cannot get the witnesses’ contact information at the scene, it can be difficult to speak to them about your case later. Police usually try to get this information, but sometimes witnesses leave before law enforcement arrives, or they may be reluctant to get involved.
Since most people have cameras built into their cellphones nowadays, it can also help your case later if you are able to take a few pictures of the accident scene, including each vehicle that was involved in motor vehicle collision cases. If possible, take photographs from several different vantage points. Diagrams or written notes about the accident are also useful later in some cases.Seeking Appropriate Medical Treatment
Emotions and adrenalin can run high after an accident. You may not realize the full extent of your injuries until you have had a chance to calm down. Still, it is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
A doctor can document your injuries both immediately after the accident and in the weeks or months to come. It is important to keep all medical appointments and, if your doctor takes you off work due to your injuries, to keep a copy of “off work” or “light duty only” slips. It is also important to keep all of your medical bills, including pharmacy receipts, together for your attorney’s review. You should also keep track of your mileage for medical treatment and any property damage that was incurred due to the accident.
Keeping proper documentation of your damages can help maximize your recovery. A fair settlement should take into consideration not only your medical expenses and lost wages but also any pain and suffering and other more subjective forms of harm. Do not use social media to discuss your accident or your injuries, since these posts can be used by the insurance company and may undermine your case. You should only talk about your accident with your medical providers and your attorney. You are not required to give a statement to the wrongdoer’s insurance company, and you are entitled to speak with your attorney before giving a statement to your own insurer.Discuss Your Accident Case with an Experienced Lawyer in the Port St. Lucie Area
If you have been involved in a serious accident or lost a loved one due to a wrongful death in the area around Port St. Lucie, you should seek counsel from a knowledgeable attorney. At Donaldson & Weston, we can help you investigate your case and keep up with deadlines such as the statute of limitations. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 772-266-5555 or contact us online. We can advise injured individuals in Stuart, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, and other cities throughout St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties.