Personal injury investigations are necessary
in order to file claims for personal injury damages. Investigations
into personal injury can take many forms depending upon the type
of injury, location, how it occurred, etc. so we are attempting
to present a broad overview here of what you need to know about
most personal injury investigations, how to do your own footwork,
when to hire someone else, and how soon to start after an accident.
Right away. When an accident happens to you or a loved one, start
your own investigation right away by gathering as much information
about what happened as quickly as you can. This may seem counterintuitive
to those in crisis because of an accident and if it is too overwhelming
then assigning a task to someone you trust may be in order.
There are action steps, however, that you can take right away,
such as talking to the responsible party for the accident and
witnesses if any, getting names, addresses, phone numbers. Write
down what people say and put a date on what you've written. This
may become a document useful for a later claim. If you have a
camera, take photographs. If a witness has a camera request that
they take photos and share double prints with you later.
Your Own Footwork
Personal injury investigations can be conducted in part by your
own footwork. For instance, after a car
accident, you can talk with witnesses, write down your version
of what happened, call the police so that they can write an accident
report, take photographs, call a friend or loved one to come to
the scene and help you document what had happened. For someone
who is too injured, however, and is taken from the scene, delegating
the fact-finding tasks as soon as practicable is advised.
Some personal injury investigations are not conducive to getting
photographs and immediate witness statements such as injuries
associated with birth injuries.
Grieving parents seldom start down the road to a personal injury
investigation after such an injury occurs. In this case, it is
wise to seek a lawyer immediately so that he or she can start
the investigation for you.
Hire Someone Else
There are times in any personal injury investigation where it
is wise simply to hire someone else to do the footwork from the
get-go. Medical claims and product
liability claims are two examples where much technical expertise
is needed, which is beyond the scope of most ordinary people.
Those who do have a background in such fields can do some of the
field work, but don't let your ego or need to control get in the
way of hiring a professional lawyer who is well-versed in one
of these areas. Those who have 'just enough knowledge to be dangerous'
would do well to seek the advice of someone who has years of experience
in dealing with such cases.
Personal injury investigations are necessary to 'get the facts'
on any personal injury case, so make
sure you do due diligence on your investigation by hiring out