How Soon Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney After an Accident?
If you were seriously hurt in some kind of accident, your first priority should be your health. Following a motor-vehicle collision, for example, you should seek medical care right away.
Once your condition stabilizes, your priority will undoubtedly become your finances. Between the mounting medical bills and string of missed paychecks, accidental injuries are enough to threaten most people’s security.
Thankfully, victims are often entitled to compensation for the damages they incur. In order to recover a payout, though, you’ll have to put together a strong personal injury claim.
While there’s no foolproof way to guarantee any given claim will yield a sizable settlement, you can give your case the best chance of success by calling an attorney as soon as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons to seek legal counsel right away if you intend to take action:
1. Valuable Evidence May Not Be Available Indefinitely
Some kinds of evidence are time-sensitive. Examples include driver’s logs, dash cam recordings, surveillance footage, and social media posts. Eyewitness testimony also becomes less reliable as time passes. By calling a personal injury lawyer right away, you’ll give your legal team the chance to obtain any such evidence before it’s altered or destroyed.
2. There Are Strict Filing Deadlines
If the opposing party disputes liability or refuses to offer a fair settlement, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the compensation you deserve. And in South Dakota, there are strict deadlines for doing so.
The standard statute of limitations for personal injury suits is three years. That means victims generally have three years from the date on which the cause of action occurred—or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence—to proceed to trial.
3. You Could Jeopardize Your Case Inadvertently Without Adequate Guidance
Your attorney will handle all correspondence with the opposing party from day one. This will ensure you don’t jeopardize your case inadvertently by giving a premature recorded statement or accepting blame.
Your lawyer will also give you a number of strategies for contributing to the strength of your claim as you navigate the proceedings together. Examples include:
- Staying off social media;
- Keeping a personal injury journal;
- Tracking all economic damages; and
- Following your doctor’s orders.
What Should I Bring to My Initial Consultation?
To help your claim get off to a strong start, it’s wise to prepare for your initial consultation. In addition to writing down everything you can remember about the accident in question, you should gather the following documents and bring them with you:
- Photographs of the scene;
- Eyewitness statements;
- The official police report or incident report;
- Medical records;
- Any correspondence with the opposing party; and
- Receipts for all your injury-related expenses.
Speak with a Rapid City Personal Injury Attorney
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, PLLC, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that accidental injuries can take on the whole family. If you were seriously hurt through no fault of your own, we’ll help you gather the evidence needed to prove liability and damages against all responsible parties.