OVERVIEW OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE
Kasich Law Offices is here to help you if have been injured in an accident of any kind.
Many times, the normal daily lives of those that have been injured in an accident are
uprooted and greatly affected. If the injury is caused by the fault of another, a person
is entitled to seek compensation for such injury.
This compensation is often called "damages." "Damages" include, but may not be limited to,
lost wages, medical expenses, mental anguish and/or distress, pain and suffering, the travel
costs and expenses that you absorb while you obtain treatment, future medical expenses,
future pain and suffering, future lost wages, and permanent impairment or disfigurement.
If an insurance company is involved, understand the cold reality that
it is in the business of MAKING money for it's shareholders/owners. The way insurance
companies make money is that they receive more in premiums than they pay out in claims and
spend in overhead. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the insurance company to
pay as little as possible on a claim.
Each situation, however, is unique. There may be cases where, in all honesty, a lawyer can
not help you. It might be because your are more at fault than the other party or, it may be
that your "damages" are not to the level where it may be financially practical for you to hire
an attorney to represent you .
Here is an outline of what you can do to help yourself after you have been injured in an
1. WRITE DOWN EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
Do NOT spare ANY detail. Everything is fresher in your mind TODAY than it will be next week.
2. GET THE NAMES, ADDRESSES, AND HOME AND
Do NOT wait. A witness could be moving next week or next month and you might NEVER be able
to find him or her again!
WORK PHONE NUMBERS OF
ANY POSSIBLE WITNESSES
3. GO TO THE PLACE WHERE THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED
Take pictures of exact place where the accident occurred as well as the area around it. Try to
capture the area as it looked at the time of the incident, especially any wreckage, skidmarks
or other markings or damage to the roadway. Any such aspect that can illustrate clearly
the occurence and its results.
Preserving these conditions can be even more import when you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist.
In this case, photographs provide you with the advantage of being able to point and direct,
with specificity, where you came from, where you were going, and what you did at the time of
the accident. IT IS BETTER TO TAKE TOO MANY THAN NOT ENOUGH!
Take the photographs from several different angles, so that you can get a better perspective..
Try to show EXACTLY how the area looked at the time of the accident, and include any wreckage
or debris or skidmarks that were created as a result of the accident. What you are trying to
do is make as accurate a record of the scene as you possibly can. As you may recall, the old
adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is probably most applicable to accident cases.
The pictures should be able to show where you were coming from and where you were going, the
area where the impact occurred, and some pictures of the surrounding area so that it can be
placed in perspective. Also, a few pictures that can tell you EXACTLY WHERE your pictures
were taken would be helpful, such as the picture of a house in the background, or a street
sign, or something similar.
If you were in a motor vehicle accident, take pictures of the car that you were in as well as
any other vehicles involved. Again, take pictures from various angles. If necessary, take
pictures of the underneath portion of the motor vehicle.
It is ALWAYS better to have TOO MANY pictures than not enough!!!
AND TAKE PICTURES OF THE SCENE.
4. TAKE PICTURES OF ANY INJURIES THAT YOU MAY HAVE SUFFERED.
If you have suffered an injury, taking photographs of the parts of your body that have been injured (especially close-ups of the injury) as soon as
possible after the incident, will help to illustrate the nature and severity of your injury later. Take photos of the area in which the accident happened to show the condition of said area. This will also give you a critical advantage. Photographs will preserve the state and
condition of the location where you were injured even if the problem is corrected after you have suffered an accident. Be sure to include any signs or the absence of any signs in your photos.
5. GET WITNESS STATEMENT FROM EACH AND EVERY EYEWITNESS.
Get a written description of an eyewitness's perception of the accident while the facts and
images are still crystal clear and fresh. This is one of the most critical things you
can do to protect yourself. If you are not able to immediately find a witness, come back several
days in a row at the same time, a witness may regularly come back to the area near the scene of
the incident and you will be able to ask them for a description then. This may also include
visiting nearby residences and businesses.
Having the witness draw a diagram of the location, giving details where possible, is especially
helpful. A detailed diagram or map can become a great advantage to you in the event that the
witness forgets many of the details at a later time. This can be used to refresh the memory of
a witness after the passage of time, if it becomes necessary.
Be certain that you obtained the witness' name, address and telephone number, and if possible,
an alternate permanent contact source that you can always reach the witness through: for example,
his or her parents. Remember, if you are able to locate a potential witness and acquire
information from s/he, do not contact that person again afterwards. Let your attorney reach
that person on your behalf. By following this course of conduct, the integrity of witnesses
testimony is preserved.
6. GATHER PHYSICAL EVIDENCE AND DOCUMENTS
If you have been involved in automobile accident, take your
damaged vehicle to a repair facility as soon as possible. Visit at least
two repair shops and get written and dated estimates. This,
coupled with the photographs of your vehicle, will provide you with
the advantage of knowing that you have done what you can do to
support your allegation of injury.
Be absolutely certain that you have written down the name, address,
and telephone number of the all drivers of all vehicles involved in
your automobile, pedestrian, or motorcycle accident. Don't
forget to copy the license plate information, and registration
information of the other vehicle/s, along with the license information
of the offending driver.
7. WHAT ABOUT A SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT?
In the event of a slip and fall accident, there are several things that
you can do to protect yourself:
Place the shoes and the clothing that you were wearing at the time of
the accident, in a safe storage place away from the elements, i.e.
light, water, etc.
If a report of the accident is taken by someone other than a police
officer, make sure that you have made every effort to obtain a copy
of that report before you leave the scene of the accident.
Try and obtain a sample of the object, if possible, that caused you to
slip and fall. Place the sample in zip lock back in the same location where you safely
stored the clothing and shoes. If the object is a perishable one [fruit or vegetable],
preserve the item in a fashion that will ensure its survival until its time
8. DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES.
When dealing with an insurance company, be sure to document everything that is stated
between both parties in the form of a dated confirming letter sent to the insurance
representative. This "paper trail" is vital in the event we should need to establish
that the insurance company had knowledge of some piece of information at a certain time
and yet failed to act in a timely and reasonably manner.
The above information is provided in order that you may protect yourself. This
is NOT an all inclusive list. There are other simple common sense things that you
can do to fully protect yourself. Many of the items listed above are the most
common things, but most important, that, in the heat of the moment, are
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Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the state of Indiana
only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please
consult an attorney in your own jurisdiction.
All information contained herein is provided solely for the purpose of
giving basic information only. It should not be construed as formal
legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from
reliance upon such information. You should seek and consult with your own
professional legal counsel before relying upon any of the information
Copyright 1997, 1998 Gojko Kasich, Crown Point, Indiana