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Steps to Take After Suffering a Personal Injury: A Legal Perspective

A car crash can change your life forever in a split second. A motor vehicle accident may leave you with serious injuries and long-lasting—or even permanent—restrictions and pain. You are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses, but what you do in the aftermath of the accident can compromise your personal injury claim.


There are ways to protect your legal claim for compensation. Here are the steps to take after suffering a personal injury, from our team of experienced personal injury lawyers.


STEP 1: Seek medical attention

Your safety and well-being are the number one concerns. The first thing you should do is perform a body scan for any immediate signs of injury. Call 911 right away if you have obvious injuries such as significant bleeding, broken bones, loss of consciousness, or severe pain.


If your injuries seem less severe and you don’t call 911, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible after the motor vehicle accident. Go to an emergency room, a walk-in clinic, or your doctor’s office—even if your injuries seem minor or you think you aren’t injured at all. You are likely in shock, and it can sometimes take hours or days for adrenaline to wear off and pain/stiffness to settle in.


medical attention after an accident

Seeking prompt medical attention is critical from a legal perspective. It allows healthcare professionals to do a timely evaluation to identify and treat hidden injuries. It also establishes a causal link between the accident and your injuries, and the medical records your doctor keeps will provide evidence to  strengthen your personal injury claim.


STEP 2: Gather and preserve evidence at the scene

If you are physically able to do so, document and preserve evidence at the scene of the accident:

  • Get the name, contact information, and insurance information of the person or people involved in the accident.

  • Get names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.

  • Take photographs or videos of the scene with your cell phone showing the point of impact, where the vehicles came to rest, damage to the vehicles, visible injuries, and any features that may have played a role in the accident (e.g. road conditions, weather/lighting conditions, missing signage, broken traffic lights).

  • Talk to the police if they attend the scene of the accident and ask for a copy of their accident report.

  • Jot down your recollection of how the accident occurred as soon as you can, while the details are still fresh in your mind.


From a legal perspective, it’s essential to collect as much evidence as possible. Gathering and preserving physical evidence can help you prove liability (negligence or fault of others involved in the accident) and the nature and extent of the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident.  


If you are seriously injured, don’t worry about gathering evidence at the scene. Your well-being is the priority in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Personal injury lawyers can assist with gathering evidence after the fact, including documenting and analyzing the scene of the accident and tracking down/interviewing eyewitnesses.


STEP 3: Contact a personal injury lawyer

Sault Ste. Marie personal injury lawyers at our law firm recommend connecting with a lawyer immediately after a motor vehicle accident. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you have someone on your side to protect your legal rights, collect evidence to strengthen your case, and guide you through the insurance claims process.


You must also be aware that there are numerous limitation periods which apply. Missing deadlines and limitation periods can greatly jeopardize, compromise, or even totally eliminate your right to bring a claim for compensation. Your lawyer will flag these dates and ensure they aren’t missed.


Our law firm offers free consultations so you can find out if you have a case, and if you choose to retain one of our personal injury lawyers, you don’t pay a cent unless you receive a settlement or win your case in court. Please either call our office or complete an Online Consultation Form to arrange your free consultation. 


STEP 4: Report the motor vehicle accident

After a motor vehicle accident, you’re legally required to make a report to the police within 24 hours so they can complete a police report. You are also legally required to report the motor vehicle accident to your insurance company within 7 days. Failing to report may result in your personal injury claim not being honoured.


From a legal perspective, you’re not on a level playing field with the insurance company. The claims examiner and insurance adjuster are not on your side, though they may seem kind and reasonable (especially at first). Their goal is to close your claim as quickly as possible, for as little money as possible. We greatly prefer to meet with our clients before they meet with their own insurance adjuster or claims examiner. We also strongly urge our clients to never to give a statement to the representative of the insurance company representing the at-fault driver their lawyer present to protect their rights and privacy.


STEP 5: Keep seeing your doctor, getting treatment, and collecting documents

Continue receiving medical attention in the days, weeks, and months following the motor vehicle accident. Take prescribed medications and follow all reasonable treatment recommendations (e.g., physiotherapy, massage therapy, counselling). Doing so will advance your rehabilitation and promote maximum recovery from your injuries. Those steps are also important from a legal perspective, as the medical records and treatment notes will provide valuable evidence in your personal injury case.

Your lawyer will help you gather medical records and other important documents to support your injuries and losses, including receipts for all accident-related expenses, a pain journal, and your employment records/income documents to prove lost wages.


Connect with a trusted personal injury lawyer

Sault Ste. Marie law firm Feifel Gualazzi specializes in motor vehicle accident claims. No matter what your injury, we can help you get the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. Don’t wait to seek help. Contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer at Feifel Gualazzi today to discuss your case.

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