If You’re Injured on Someone Else’s Property, Think About Who Could Be Responsible for Your Accident
When you are injured on someone else’s property, figuring out who all could potentially be responsible for your injuries often is not as easy as it may seem. If you slip or trip and fall on a sidewalk outside a group of single-family houses in a residential neighborhood, you might think the residents of the house closest to the area of the sidewalk where you fell should be held responsible for your accident. You are maybe correct about this, but many accident victims make the mistake of believing only the home’s residents can be held responsible. There are plenty of other parties whose action or inaction could have played a part in creating the conditions that led to you being injured on someone’s property.
Do yourself the favor of thinking about your situation more closely. If, say, you fell on a sidewalk in a residential neighborhood, consider how the accident happened. Did you trip on a piece of broken concrete or an item that was just left to lie on the sidewalk? That means there could be a construction company, landscaping company or independent contractor who should be held responsible. Additionally, in all premises liability or negligent security matters, the municipality and the owner–not just the residents–of the property where the accident took place may be liable. You will thank yourself later for thinking through all these possibilities.
Get Medical Attention from a Licensed Professional As Soon As Possible
Getting medical attention from a licensed professional as soon as possible is the most important step you can take if you are injured on someone else’s property. Working to help your injuries heal and to get yourself back to your pre-accident baseline level of health should be your number one priority. As soon as you can after you are injured on someone’s property, you should either call an ambulance or transport yourself to a nearby hospital emergency department, doctor’s office or urgent-care office. Whatever you do, do not give your injuries time to get worse. Get them taken care of quickly to maximize your chances of making a full recovery and minimize the chances your injuries will have permanent effects on you.
While you are at the medical facility, its staff will examine you and may conduct some tests to determine your injuries’ full nature and extent. If your injuries are severe enough or extensive enough, you may need to have surgery before you are released. Once you are sent home, be sure you follow all the instructions you received from the professionals who treated you. Be diligent about completing exercises, going to physical therapy, taking your prescription medications and attending all your follow-up medical appointments. Remember that your health is the most important asset you have and that you need to do whatever is necessary for you to maintain it.
Be Sure You Keep Copies of All the Documents Related to Your Accident
If you want to recover compensation for your injuries, you will need all the evidence you can get. This includes medical records, medical bills, pictures of your injuries, pictures of the area where the accident took place, any incident reports the property’s occupants, owners or the police generate after the accident and verification for all the wages you have lost if you have been forced to miss any time from work after you got injured on someone’s property. If you fail to keep copies of all these documents when you get them, you will have to expend precious resources–time and money, two things you want to preserve and use as efficiently as you can–trying to get them from the property owner, various medical providers, the municipality, the police, and your employer. Save yourself the headaches you will undoubtedly experience tracking them down after the fact and make a point of keeping them all from the start.
Keeping all these documents in a single easily accessible location will help your case proceed smoothly and give you the proof you need to show the insurance companies that the accident happened, exactly how it happened, what all injuries you sustained, how much all your medical treatment cost, what your injuries have looked like at various points in time after the accident, how much time you have had to miss at work and precisely what amount of wages you have lost as a result of your missed time. All your damages will be clear to them, and this will make it much more difficult for their adjusters and attorneys to shortchange you when it comes time to discuss what it will take for you to settle your claims against their insureds.
Find a Law Firm You Can Trust to Guide You Through the Insurance Claim Process
Much of the time, insurance companies make the process of filing and prosecuting a claim for your injuries much more difficult than it has any reason to be. They tend to focus their resources on protecting their policyholders and their financial bottom lines, not on making sure you are appropriately compensated for the injuries you suffered. The insurance adjuster handling your claim for the insurance company may give you the runaround or fail to respond to your messages altogether. When you get to the point where they offer you a settlement, chances are the amount you are offered will cover only a portion of your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. They know most individual claimants have little or no experience dealing with insurance companies.
Having an attorney who has a detailed understanding of how the claim process works and can help guide you to a favorable resolution could be the difference between you having residual debt from your accident-related expenses and receiving full compensation for your injuries.