Texans who suffer injuries in accidents may have the right to seek compensation from the parties at fault. By taking legal action, they may recover money to pay for medical bills, wages lost from work, damaged or lost personal property, and pain and suffering caused by the accident.
If you suffered a personal injury in any kind of accident caused by someone else’s unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions, then it comes as good news to hear that you could receive financial compensation. Now, you just need to know how to claim an injury. That’s the topic we discuss below.
The First and Most Important Step: Get Medical Care
The single most important step for you to take after suffering an injury in an accident is to seek immediate, appropriate medical care. For all practical purposes, you cannot hope to claim an injury after an accident if you do not take care of yourself by seeing a doctor right away, and following a doctor’s advice for your treatment.
You should seek medical care as soon as possible after an accident even if you do not think you suffered a serious injury.
In fact, you should seek care even if you do not think you suffered any injury at all. Here’s why:
- You cannot reliably diagnose yourself. In the moments after an accident, the stress of the situation will likely trigger your body to flood your system with adrenaline, which heightens your alertness and dulls the pain. Quite literally, you could have suffered a severe injury and simply not feel it. Do not trust your senses in that moment to tell you if you are hurt.
- Some injuries do not show immediate symptoms. Not only does your fight-or-flight instinct blunt your ability to feel pain, but some injuries may not feel painful or unpleasant immediately. Instead, it may take hours, or even days, to notice any symptoms from them. Alarmingly, some life-threatening injuries fit this description. You may have suffered a brain injury or internal organ damage. By the time you start experiencing symptoms, those conditions may have worsened.
- Doctors can spot and document your injuries. A trained doctor can spot the injuries you do not see or feel, and begin treating them before they get worse. A doctor will also keep records of the examination they do and tests they perform. These records become important evidence of your health condition, and of its connection to the accident, which your lawyer may eventually need to prove a claim.
Once you have seen a doctor, be sure to follow the instructions for your care. Take your medicine as prescribed. Attend follow-up appointments. Complete your course of physical therapy and do your prescribed exercises.
Doing what your doctor tells you is important for all of the reasons above, plus one additional one: it protects you against a defense lawyer or insurance company arguing that you do not deserve compensation because you did not take care of yourself.
To summarize, you cannot claim an injury unless your lawyer can prove the injury, and you cannot hope to get paid the money you deserve for the injury you claim unless your lawyer can also prove that you took care of yourself.
Next Step: Assess Insurance Options
Insurance coverage plays an important role in protecting you against the financial impact of an injury suffered in an accident. The circumstances of your accident—where and how it happened, who caused it, etc.—affect which insurance might cover your injuries and losses.
- Auto insurance (your own or someone else’s) may cover you against certain costs associated with a car accident;
- Your own health insurance and long-term disability insurance may pay for some of your medical care and other expenses after a wide variety of accidents;
- Workers’ compensation insurance may cover your medical and disability-related costs if you suffered an injury at work;
- Homeowner’s insurance may cover you against the costs of injuries you suffered because of a dangerous condition on the property where the accident occurred.
If you are the policyholder of the insurance that covers at least some portion of your injuries, or if you suffered injuries covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then you may need to put your insurance company on notice of the accident and injuries within a specific timeframe.
If someone else’s insurance may cover your injuries, then we strongly urge you to seek legal advice before contacting that insurance company.
And, Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
Figuring out what insurance may cover you against your injuries and losses is not always easy. An experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Personal injury attorneys spend their days seeking compensation on behalf of people injured in accidents and incidents caused by someone else’s careless or reckless actions. They know where to look for insurance coverage and other sources of payment for your injuries and losses, and how to secure compensation on your behalf.
Oftentimes, an attorney may review your case and determine that someone else’s insurance policy should cover you against the costs and other damages you have suffered. This happens, for instance, when the holder of that insurance policy engaged in unreasonably dangerous actions that caused the accident in which you got injured.
When this occurs, the attorney may advise that the best way for you to secure compensation is to take legal action, which usually consists of filing a lawsuit against the policyholder. Or, the attorney may seek your permission to approach the at-fault party’s insurance company directly on your behalf, to seek payment without going through the trouble of filing a lawsuit. Or, the attorney may advise that the best
course of action consists of taking both of those steps. Or the attorney might advise a different strategy altogether.
No matter what course of action you choose, you can trust any attorney you hire to put your interests first and to advocate for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Do not wait to learn about how you might claim an injury after your accident. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.