If you’re in an accident, bitten by a dog, slip and fall at the store, or get hurt in some other way, that’s what lawyers call a personal injury. After this happens, your first thought is (of course), “Am I OK?” After all, you’re hurt, and you may even need medical attention.
But if at all possible, there are a few other things to keep in mind for later — especially if your accident is caused by someone else. Personal injury cases are challenging for Harnett County residents because most of the time, you don’t want to be rude or make a fuss. But if someone else caused your accident and you need expensive medical care, we can help.
However, there are some things to keep in mind that can drastically change the outcome of your case. Avoid these common mistakes in personal injury cases:
Mistake No. 1: Failing to Document the Scene
Documenting the scene isn’t your first thought after an accident — and we don’t blame you! Most of us think about taking photos after a car accident, sure, but after any injury, take pictures. This evidence is critical because it will show the time, date, location, and circumstances. Take photos close up of injuries and where you are and stand back from the scene (if it’s safe) to take pictures from other angles. Photos of tire marks, location of vehicles, vehicle damage weather conditions, and even the lighting (or lack thereof) can help. If you slipped on the floor of a business, for example, you’d need photos showing lack of signage, the water or substance, and more.
Mistake No. 2: Saying Too Much
When you’re mad, it’s easy to want to tell everyone. But venting about the incident and saying too much can cause problems later, especially if you’re talking to the other person’s lawyer or insurance company. You might also say the wrong thing to the other people involved, family members, neighbors, or others who are nearby. These days, we’ve seen problems arise after people post on social media about their accident. Resist that urge to post! You may not realize at the time, but a skilled lawyer could use your words against you and flip the trajectory of your case.
Mistake No. 3: Skipping Medical Treatment Right After the Accident
Even if you believe your injuries don’t require a doctor’s care, you should immediately seek a medical evaluation by an orthopedic doctor and/or ER doctors — who are better suited to treat trauma than a family doctor. A doctor’s report connecting your injuries to the accident at hand is of the utmost importance in verifying the root cause of your injuries; their proper documentation can be used for your benefit in court.
Mistake No. 4: Admitting Fault
Generally speaking, it’s rarely a good idea to admit fault. Especially since, as a part of contributory negligence law in North Carolina, if a person is even slightly or 1 percent at fault in causing their own injuries, they are restricted from getting any recovery (money, in most cases). This is why you should speak with a lawyer immediately after an accident and avoid talking with others about the accident until you speak with a lawyer.
Mistake No. 5: Not Calling the Police
After an accident, especially on a busy road, people don’t always want to call the police. They don’t want to add drama to their lives; they are in a hurry to be somewhere. But stop for a moment and call the police so you can get an official report for your personal injury case. The other person may first admit guilt but later claim it wasn’t his fault. (This happens all the time.) The police report will include details your lawyer can use about how the accident occurred and sometimes this information is critical in proving your case.
These are just a few common mistakes we see with personal injury cases. If you, or loved ones, are involved in an accident that is not your fault, don’t hesitate to call on the professionals at Kelly and West to assist you with your specific case.
When Reggie Kelly and Thomas West opened their Lillington law practice in 1982, neither guessed they’d be in business so long.
We love helping people get through tricky situations, and we’re flattered to have been in business this long. It means we’re doing something right. This year we’ve seen some growth in our staff.
Thank you to our incredible friends for your support and business throughout the years. We look forward to many more to come!