Injured on a friend’s property? Take these steps immediately
When you are visiting with a friend at their home, the last thing on your mind is having an accident take place while you are there. However, this happens to people every day, and when it does the situation can become awkward for all involved. As a victim who has suffered serious injuries, you need to realize that although the accident took place on your friend’s property, you should still seek compensation for your injuries and other damages that will result, such as replacing income if you are unable to work for weeks or longer. Though you may feel uneasy at pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in this situation, you will feel far worse when the medical bills start arriving and the paychecks from your job disappear. Therefore, if you are injured on your friend’s property, always take the following steps immediately.
Get medical treatment
Rather than trying to figure out how seriously injured you may be following your accident, don’t take any chances. Instead, always choose to seek immediate medical attention so that paramedics and doctors can determine the extent of your injuries and treat them accordingly. Therefore, always make sure you or someone at the accident scene calls 9-1-1 within minutes of your accident. By doing so, you will not only receive prompt medical treatment, but also ensure any injuries you suffered such as broken bones, a concussion, or other injuries are quickly entered into your medical records. Once this is done, your friend or their insurance company will not be able to claim you suffered few if any injuries in the accident.
Document your accident
Once you know medical help is on the way, try to document the accident scene as much as possible. If you are able to do so, use your cellphone to take pictures of any visible injuries you suffered, such as lacerations or other injuries. Also, take photos of the specific area where your accident occurred. For example, if you suffered a slip and fall accident due to your friend failing to clear snow and ice from their porch or stairs, try to have photos of these areas. In situations such as these, you can never take too many pictures, so don’t be shy about doing just that, even if your friend is objecting. As an accident victim, you have the right to document the scene for use as evidence should you pursue legal action. Once you have the photos in hand, schedule a consultation with Covington Kentucky attorneys who can examine your photos and discuss your accident with you in greater detail.
Get witness statements
Since you were visiting with your friend, chances are there were other people around at the time of your accident. If there were, make sure you speak to them about what they saw and get their statements while everyone is still at the scene. If you don’t, you will have missed a golden opportunity to gather evidence that could help you win a personal injury case. By getting witness statements soon after your accident, you will also make sure the information given you is more accurate. As days pass by after your accident, witnesses often have a harder time recalling exactly what happened, which also makes it easier for an insurance company to dispute your injury claim. To protect yourself from a legal perspective, always get as many witness statements as possible, along with the names and contact information of the witnesses.
Be careful what you say
Even though your accident took place on your friend’s property, don’t make the assumption your friend will do all they can to help you be compensated for your injuries. In fact, it is likely the opposite will happen. In many of these situations, a friendship may fall by the wayside once legal action begins. However, don’t let this stop you from gaining the compensation you deserve. Thus, while at the accident scene, be careful what you say to your friend, paramedics, witnesses, and especially police if they were called to the scene. For many accident victims, simply saying “I’m sorry” to their friend or others will begin to derail their personal injury claim. By saying something such as this, others will use this against you to claim you admitted fault for your accident. Instead of letting this happen, choose your words carefully until you have spoken to Covington Kentucky attorneys who can advise you how to proceed.
Don’t talk to insurance companies
After the accident at your friend’s property, don’t be surprised if you receive a phone call or in-person visit from a person representing your friend’s insurance company. While you may think this is good and that your friend and their insurer are eager to give you the compensation you need, don’t be fooled by their quick actions. More than likely, your friend’s insurance company has ulterior motives for their visit or phone call. To begin with, they will probably try to engage you in conversation in an attempt to have you get confused and say something that can be used against you to deny your claim. In other instances, the insurance representative may offer you a quick financial settlement to drop your case. Though sounding like the end of your ordeal, most of these offers are far less than what victims can get by having their attorneys negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Because of this, don’t make the mistake of talking to insurance companies on your own. Rather, hire experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys and refer all communications from an insurance company to your attorneys.
Stay off social media
When many accident victims are home recuperating from their injuries, they start to spend more and more time on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. When they do, they sometimes start to talk to others about their accident. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster. Once victims start giving out more and more details of what led to their accident, insurance companies for their friend as well as their friend’s attorney start paying close attention to these social media accounts. Along with this, accident victims tend to let loose with their emotions on social media, often posting angry comments about their friend and the accident. If you do this, you make it much more likely you will ultimately lose any lawsuit you are pursuing. Many times when accident victims file injury claims, insurance companies will have company investigators monitoring the victim’s social media accounts in hopes of finding posts or pictures that can be used against them in court.
Hire an attorney
Though you and your friend have been on good terms for many years, it is still recommended that you hire an attorney as quickly as possible following your accident. Sadly, when money becomes involved in situations such as these, the person you thought would be a lifelong friend may suddenly turn on you and do all they can to keep you from gaining compensation needed to pay your medical bills and replace lost wages. Since it is likely your friend will hire an attorney to represent them, you should do the same.
If you have been injured on a friend’s property, take nothing for granted. If you assume your friend will be supportive during your recovery, you may be in for a rude awakening.