If you’ve recently been injured at the fault of another individual, you’re probably wondering what you should do. If you’ve never filed a personal injury case before, it can be confusing to know where you should start.
Before you make that initial phone call to a personal injury attorney, you want to understand the basics of your case and have some information handy to answer any questions or provide helpful information to your new legal team. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to let you know what you need to do before you call your personal injury attorney.
1. Collect Evidence
Because a personal injury case can include many different kinds of injuries and cases, some areas will be easier to prove than others. For example, having photo evidence of a car accident is much more likely than photographs of a medical malpractice injury. Even so, you will want to do all that you can to collect evidence about the accident and who was at fault for your injury.
If you are able, take these photos immediately after the accident happens, but keep in mind that your health is the most important. Don’t delay medical attention for the sake of taking pictures.
2. Create a Timeline
When an accident or injury happens, it can feel like time moves rather quickly. You may feel confused about the series of events or what truly happened leading up to the accident and immediately following it. Before calling your personal injury attorney, take some time to really think through the series of events.
Having a clear timeline before you get on the phone can make the story clearer to your legal team. Medical bills, doctor appointments, or other documents that can support your timeline will be extremely helpful to your case.
3. Contact Witnesses
If anyone was around during your accident, see if you can get in touch to talk about your perspective of what happened. In some instances, an outside perspective can show where things went wrong or what happened in a larger scope. You may also want to ask if any of them would be willing to talk to a personal injury attorney on your behalf.
Anytime you talk to someone about the series of events surrounding your accident, you will want to take notes. If someone is particularly helpful, you can ask if you could record the conversation or have the conversation in writing, such as through email.
4. Alert the Other Party
While this step is not always necessary, especially if you don’t know the other individual, letting the other party know that you plan to file a suit against them can be a necessary step in ensuring the entire process runs smoothly. During this conversation, you are able to hash out both perspectives of the accident and possibly enter into the lawsuit with an understanding of fault and liability.
If you choose not to alert the other party before filing, your personal injury attorney will do so after you have established whether or not there is a case. However, you do not want to wait too long to let the other party know or you risk exceeding the statutes of limitations for that kind of case.
5. Find a Personal Injury Attorney
The last step in preparing for a personal injury case is finding a personal injury attorney that is able to help you through your case. While a personal injury case may be handled without legal representation, having an expert by your side ensures all your bases are covered and you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
When looking for a personal injury attorney, spend time finding one that feels like the right fit. While some lawyers may only look to receive their fee and then move along to the next case, you’ll have a much better outcome with your case if you find a personal injury legal team ready to listen to your needs and do what it takes to meet them.
The Lamber Goodnow legal team, together with its partner personal injury law firms in Chicago, are experienced in personal injury matters. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers never charge a fee, unless we win your case. Get a risk free consultation today.