What To Do Before Filing An Injury Claim
Putting together a personal injury claim can be a complex process, and it helps to come at it with an eye for small details. The following four things are what a personal injury attorney would tell you to straighten out before you start submitting an actual claim.
Get the Dates Right
There are two important dates in every injury case. The first is the exact date and time of the incident. The second is the date you need to have your claim failed by. In most states, you will have between two and three years from the time of an incident to file a claim. Always learn about the statute of limitations for your state so you can take it into account.
It's easy to think that two to three years is a lot of time. However, a personal injury attorney services firm won't want to submit your claim until the full extent of your injuries is actually known. Depending on the availability of doctors and the nature of the injuries, it may take half a year to a year just to get to that point. Add in time for filing a claim, and you're much closer to the deadline than you might expect.
Whenever you speak with any relevant person about your situation, get their name. Was there a witness? Get their name. Did a police officer respond? Get their name. Did you visit the doctor? Get their name.
If possible, also make it a point to collect contact information. This will give your personal injury attorney a better starting point as they collect information and depositions.
The direct victims of an incident will typically have legal standing to file injury claims. Other parties, however, may face more headwinds. Dependent children of parents who were disabled to the point of incapacity usually have standing to sue. Similarly, spouses often have standing to sue for things like loss of companionship. Folks with most other relationships, such as the parents of non-dependents or a victim's siblings, will likely struggle to establish standing.
Identify the Duty of Care
Each person has a responsibility to avoid allowing preventable injuries to happen to others. For example, a hardware store has to make sure cans of paint won't fall off shelves and hit customers. When looking at the events of an incident, try to figure out who was responsible for preventing it.