I’ve Just Suffered A Personal Injury: What Do I Do Next?
If you have just suffered a personal injury, what you do right now could have a big impact on whether you can make a successful claim.
Below is a handy checklist of the things you should be doing as soon after your accident as possible.
Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury solicitor for advice on your specific circumstances.
I’ve Suffered A Personal Injury: What Do I Do Next? (Checklist)
Getting caught up in an accident is traumatic. But if you can take certain steps after the accident, you can drastically improve your chances of making a successful personal injury claim.
I know what you’re thinking:
“If I’m in an ambulance or seeking medical treatment after an accident, the last thing I’m going to be doing is ticking boxes on some personal injury checklist.”
And you have a point.
In a serious accident, you’re not going to be thinking about gathering evidence for a personal injury claim. Getting medical treatment – that will be the first thing on your mind.
But for less serious accidents, where you can still act afterwards, there is a lot you can do that will strengthen any claim you might make in the future.
The quicker you can tick off the items on the checklist below, the better. Each one will help massively if you decide to make a personal injury claim at some point in the future:
1. Tell the people who need to know
If you are involved in a road traffic accident, report it to the police. If you slip on a wet supermarket floor, tell the manager. If your accident is at work, make sure the accident book is filled out. If you have insurance cover, get in touch with the insurance company and let them know. You’re not trying to make things difficult for people – you’re just making sure that your accident is recorded. Having a record of the accident will be useful when you make your claim.
A picture is worth much more than a thousand words, when it comes to personal injury claims. In fact, a picture could be the difference between winning your claim and losing it. Involved in a road traffic accident? Take photos of any damage, any injuries, road markings, the vehicles, the scene of the accident, weather conditions, everything. Injured by a faulty machine at work? Get photos of the machine itself, the surrounding area, your injuries, what you were wearing, everything. If you can’t take photos yourself, ask someone to take them for you.
Accidents can turn into a blame game. You blame the other person and they blame you. This makes it hard to decide who is at fault – it’s your word against theirs. How do you tip the balance in your favour? Witnesses. If anyone saw the incident, make sure you (or somebody else) get their contact details. Even better, ask them to quickly write down what they saw. Their evidence could make all the difference to your claim.
Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Describe your injuries in as much detail as you can. Tell the doctor about any pain you are feeling, no matter how minor it is. If the injury is affecting your ability to do anything you would normally do (eg. work duties, sport, shopping, housework, gardening, etc.), let the doctor know.
17% of drivers have dashcams fitted to their cars. That figure is set to rise to over 50%. CCTV is everywhere. There is a chance that your accident was recorded on video by somebody. So it’s worth asking any drivers or businesses close by to see if they have a recording.
Personal injury claims can take years to process. Perhaps you remember everything right now, but that might not be the case in two or three years. So sit down with a cup of coffee and write out notes about what happened. Include dates, times, witnesses, visibility, weather conditions, any vehicles/machinery that were involved, or anything else that might be of use to your claim.
A judge can’t give you compensation without proof. So how do you get proof? Payslips, order books and bank statements. Receipts for money spent on hospital appointments, treatment, parking and travel. Invoices. And it’s not just things you spend money on. It’s unpaid help too. Have your family/friends helped you? Write it down. Make a note of everything related to your accident. It’s worth doing – those records will help you get all the compensation you are entitled to.
Remember, if you can’t prove it, you can’t claim for it!
The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.
If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.
If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch
All the best,
The Team @ Lightlaw
Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.