You have just been in a personal injury, car accident or motorcycle accident and you have no idea of what to do. It is critical that you follow some very important steps right from the beginning to assure that you receive the full compensation that you are entitled to.

The first thing you do is to immediately seek medical attention. If you have been in an automobile accident, the first thing you need to do is worry about yourself and not your motor vehicle. This means taking an ambulance ride to the hospital, you may have injuries that you’re not aware of and waiting for a ride or simply getting in and out of the car can exacerbate your injuries and hurt your chances for a full recovery and full compensation from the insurance company. If you cannot take an ambulance ride to the hospital you must seek the attention of a doctor immediately. Simply because you feel fine or believe that you’re not actually injured, are two mistakes most people make, not seeking immediate medical attention. Simply stated you are not a medical doctor and are not qualified at making any type of medical diagnosis on yourself. Medical conditions arising from an automobile accident can take days if not weeks to set in such as pain, numbness of limbs, blurry vision, dizziness or other medical conditions. If you wait a few days or weeks to seek medical attention, it will be much more difficult for your personal injury lawyer to help your case. The opposing side or insurance company can simply state that you hurt yourself after the fact, and that your injuries are new and not a result of the accident, so seek medical attention right away.

If at all possible while still on the scene, take as many pictures as you can. Considering everyone now carries a cell phone with a digital camera in it, everyone should be doing this. Take detailed pictures of everything from every angle, from all sides of the street, of all sides of both vehicles. What you want to do in this situation is go to each of the four corners of the accident across the street and take pictures of the accident. Take pictures of all cars in the accident from all four angles. Anything that is substantial, such as the major damage to the automobile, make sure you take plenty pictures. After you’re done taking pictures, switch your camera to video and take a video of everything you may catch something that your pictures didn’t just walk around the accident take video from up the street down the street, from all angles walking around the car. Obviously it’s important to not be doing this if you’re in serious need of medical attention, but if you’re sitting in your car right as well snap some photos and take some video. Just remember, there’s no way that were going to be able to re-create the scene and take these pictures later, so if you can take pictures before you leave the scene, it is in your best interest to do so. If you can get someone to get there quickly and do this for you or to simply ask someone at the scene to use your camera phone to take pictures and video that is also acceptable.

Take detailed notes of exactly what happened in the accident as soon as possible, it is critical that you get this information written down when it is fresh in your head. So many clients come to me with one story and then months later it changes and then a year later the story changes yet again. You want to have accurate notes and keep a journal of not only the damage done to the vehicle, but also all your injuries. Make sure you take down the names and addresses of any professionals you see in connection to your automobile accident, including but not limited to doctors, chiropractors, physical therapist, rehabilitation therapists and any other professional that you are referred to either by your doctor or attorney. Keep all the receipts associated with the accident, including all medical expenses, prescriptions, doctors’ visits, assistant devices such as crutches or canes and any other hardship that was a result of the accident itself.

The next thing you’re going to want to do is keep a daily journal, and fully describe your injuries and the medical care you are receiving due to them. It is very important that you are extremely descriptive in this journal explain how you feel on every day, give a rating from 1 to 10 on the level of pain in each area of your body that is hurt and keep a close record of the progress of your injuries. It is also important to keep all correspondence such as emails and doctors notes for your case, this might not seem important now but will be critical in the future. Also keep detailed records of all your travel expenses due to the injuries sustained in your accident, if you had to take a taxi somewhere or a bus, this will also be needed by your attorney later so you may get reimbursed. It is also important that you keep detailed records of any money lost due to the accident, such as lost wages or lost financial opportunities that were affected directly by the accident.

Following all these instructions will greatly increase your chances of being successful in a personal injury claim and will help your personal injury attorney greatly. The more documentation and evidence in the form of photographs that you provide your personal injury lawyer, the better chances you are for a larger settlement in the end. It is also important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, as an attorney will greatly increase your chances of winning your claim and the amount you will receive as compensation. As a side note, always attempt to avoid attorney that you find on TV or build bulletin boards, you’re never going to be the attorney you see in the advertisements in your case is going to be handed over to someone else in your just become a number within the firm’s thousands of cases that they obtained because people who are laid up in bed tend to watch daytime TV, which is when you see all these commercials. A small to medium-sized law firm will give you much more personal attention than one of those TV attorneys.

Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.

Attorneys At Law

901 Eastern Ave.
Unit 2
Fall River, MA 02723

Office:  888-269-0688


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