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Best Practices To Preserve A Personal Injury Claim



Injured people often do not think clearly and with long-term futures in mind. Anger, anxiety, apprehension, fear, and adrenaline may govern and cloud the situation. Unfortunately, even a small mistake made right after an accident or injury occurs can severely hamper a party's potential personal injury claims and ultimate recovery. That is why it is important to step back, breathe deeply, clear the mind, and, if possible, follow a simple checklist for preservation of a personal injury claim. The following steps may serve as suggested practices for preserving a personal injury claim for prospective claimants facing litigation:

Contact Counsel Early On

It is crucial to reach out to an attorney very early in the matter, right after an accident or incident that has led to injury or death. Only an attorney practicing in the field of personal injury or wrongful death can help navigate you through the process of evidence preservation, medical treatment, negotiations with insurance companies, and similar processes to maximize a settlement or verdict recovery. Memories will fade, and claims may even become time-barred permanently. Nothing improves in a lawsuit by waiting. Do not sign anything that you have not first reviewed with your counsel.

Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, so there should be no anxiety about cost. Attorneys like to get involved in a matter as early as possible to preserve evidence, protect claimant rights, avoid situations of waiver or time-barred claims, and advise a litigant how to best position him or herself at each stage of a proceeding. The earlier an attorney is involved, the more options available and the greater the scope of assistance that can be provided. The defendant will have an insurance adjuster and, likely, also an attorney involved, so you want to level the playing field and keep bargaining positions fair with counsel advocating on your behalf, too.

Preserve Evidence of Your Injury, Incident, Or Accident

It is prudent to maintain everything possible in the same position and condition as it was at the time of the injury, accident, or incident. If a car was involved, make sure that whoever is in possession of the vehicle preserves it and does not destroy or tamper with it. Make sure the car is covered (such as with plastic) if kept outdoors, or preferably, stored indoors. You need to preserve the car until your counsel and any expert have a chance to analyze it and determine whether it is needed to prosecute your claim.

Any documents regarding the accident, incident, or injury that deal with notes, settlement negotiations, police records, insurance records, eye witness accounts, accident notes, medical treatment, or the like should be kept safe. You should also get a copy to your counsel to be analyzed for potential use in your case.

You should photograph or videotape your injuries as soon as possible after they happen. Still photos from different angles are helpful. Video of impaired movement and mobility and any changes in gait, posture, stance, strength, flexibility, etc. are equally helpful. Injuries, scars, and wounds will heal, and bandages will come off. Documenting the injuries right after they happen will preserve that compelling picture for trial.

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