When your loved one is injured, it can be difficult to regain balance in your life. With expensive medical bills, confusing paperwork and stress piling up, you may feel alone and anxious. Serious injuries can leave your loved one in a coma, incapacitated, or in too much pain to pursue a case themselves. The recovery of your loved one should be the top priority; however, the timeframe in which to bring a successful claim will continue to dwindle. It may be up to you to aid them in pursuing a personal injury claim.
What You Can Do if a Loved one is Injured in Washington, D.C.
Pursuing a case on behalf of your loved one can be intimidating at first. For most people, the process of taking legal action is an entirely new and unfamiliar process. There are a few things you can do at first that will help you and your loved one begin a case. Oftentimes, your injured loved one will need to focus on recovery, or will be unable to initiate a case themselves. Some good starting points include:
- Get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can. Getting in touch with an attorney sooner rather than later can mean the difference between a weak case and a strong one. Having more time to prepare your case is incredibly beneficial to your loved one's success in the courtroom. Attorneys and their staff can even help with obtaining some records for you if you are having a hard time.
- Collect any and all medical records. When pursuing a personal injury case for your loved one, you will want to obtain any and all medical records. These are important documents as they show monetary amounts of your loved one's injuries, as well as the extent to which they have been injured. Medical opinions and records can be key points of evidence in the courtroom for both proving the case and demanding damages. The more you can bring to your attorney, the more you will have to work with when it comes time to put together a case.
- Form a list of any potential witnesses. If your loved one was injured as a result of an accident, there will likely be a number of witnesses you may be able to contact. Eye-witness accounts can be great evidence to prove your case in court. Witnesses can provide verbal testimony in court, or have an official account through a deposition outside of the courtroom. You shouldn't have to collect official witness testimony yourself, instead, it is best to save that for your attorney; however, providing your attorney with a comprehensive list of anyone who might be a potential witness will greatly help the process along.
- Obtain the police report. Police are required to generate a report for any and all accidents that they are called in to investigate. This report serves as the official record of the incident and will include the officer's understanding of the incident and any information gathered from eye-witnesses as well. Vehicle accidents are typically diagrammed as well, providing information on exactly how the accident occurred. On top of this, police reports are almost certain to come up in court, so it is best to have this in your arsenal early on and work with your attorney to build off of it.
What To Avoid if a Loved One is Injured in Washington, D.C.
Building a case is a very complex process. While you are obtaining records and information on behalf of your loved one, there are some things that can hurt, or even destroy, your case, if you are not careful. Take extra care to avoid the following:
- Avoid discussing the case publicly. Many people will want to ask you about your loved one after hearing about their injuries. While it is important to keep family and friends informed, it is best to keep the important case matters between you, your loved one, and your attorney until the case is resolved. The defense will try to take any public discussion of your case and turn it against you. On top of this, defense attorneys may try to get depositions from parties they believe are relevant, and if you have discussed your case with them, under oath they will have to talk about what they know.
- Do not make use of any social media. Many cases can be crippled by a mere post about recovery. The defense will take any and all social media posts and try to spin them in their favor. Even private messaging over social media services can be subject to subpoena. The simplest way to avoid this is to either deactivate your account temporarily or to take a hiatus from regular social media use.
- Avoid contact or discussion with the other party's insurance carrier. When your loved one is injured, the other party's insurance agent may try to get in contact with you to reach a settlement to get more information out of you. Anyone working on behalf of an insurance agency is operating with the sole motivation of limiting the amount that the company pays out for each claim; these individuals are not looking out for your best interests. Do not speak to them about the case, and politely suggest they contact your insurance agent or your attorney.
- Don't hesitate. Taking too much time before contacting an attorney reduces the time you have to work together to build a successful case. An attorney can help you obtain documents, construct a case, and ease your worries. Having a loved one injured can be a stressful time for you and your family. Getting help from an attorney early on can take some of that burden off of your shoulders.
When your loved one is seriously injured it may be up to you to help them get the compensation they need for their pain. Start today. Contact us, and let our experienced and professional legal team help you and your loved one.