Communication moves blindingly fast these days. A message that used to take days to move across the country can now be sent and read in milliseconds.

People can also show their personality and creativity to millions at the simple touch of a screen.

At The Personal Injury Lawyers ™, we believe information is power. That’s why founding attorney Robert S. Fakhouri created the @robby_esquire Instagram account.

Using it, we can provide impactful legal information to hundreds of thousands of people every single day. Our educational efforts can help anyone in any state get smarter about their legal rights and know what it takes to give their personal injury case the highest chance of success.

If you are hurt and have legal questions about your options and what you need to do to hold the responsible parties accountable, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case review. You can schedule your free case evaluation at any time when you call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.

Over the years, Robert S. Fakhouri has helped thousands of clients and hundreds of thousands more people online through his action-oriented legal information. The real key to winning cases, though, is that each one must be tailored to the client and their unique situation.

It can be impossible to give actual legal advice to someone you’ve never met and whose situation you haven’t fully evaluated. That’s why it’s so important to contact an attorney ASAP. They can speak to you confidentially regarding your personal situation and get you on the path to building the strongest claim possible.

At the same time, there are general strategies that hold true in a majority of legal situations. Below, we have listed some of the most important advice we have given to our clients.

While you shouldn’t consider this as specific legal advice that would be useful to your situation, it is good food for thought that can help guide you toward the correct practices while you explore your options for seeking legal representation.

Always Report the Accident and Seek Prompt Medical Treatment

The most important thing to do after any accident is to report it and then get medical care. You should file a police report after any car accident, truck accident, boating accident, or other types of vehicular accident.

Call 911 to report the crash or incident before you leave the scene. Stay at the scene until the police arrive and request an ambulance if you or anyone else is hurt.

You can also report an accident to the police after incidents like a dog bite or stairway collapse. An officer may not come to the scene, but you can nevertheless create a paper trail establishing the date and location.

Other types of accidents may involve filing a report with your employer or some other third party. Even if you don’t think there is an official report to file, though, you should still document when and how the accident happened.

Email yourself, an attorney, or someone else a full report on the accident to establish the date it happened and the nature of the injury you sustained.

Just as important (perhaps even more so): always seek prompt medical treatment after you have been hurt. Never delay this treatment longer than is necessary.

You want a full diagnosis and treatment plan so that you can begin recovering as soon as possible.

Don’t Try to Be a “Nice Person,” or You Will Get Taken Advantage Of

After an accident, it is important to keep a cool head. There’s no benefit to being mean or angry.

In fact, any extreme behavior could be used against you. The opposing party may use it to color your character, excuse them from swapping information, or otherwise fulfill their legal obligations to you.

Instead, what we mean by “don’t try to be a nice guy (or gal)” is that you should never try to take the blame, you should never “keep things quiet,” and you should never accept any form of compensation from the at-fault party before exploring your full legal options.

Doing any of the above, especially at the scene of the accident, can seriously jeopardize your ability to pursue a personal injury claim. The at-fault parties know that, even though you are the victim, you are feeling scared and disoriented.

They want to prey on your insecurities while making you think that not accepting legal help or not reporting the accident is a good “easy way out” for everyone involved. This is never the case!

Protect your legal rights by sticking to what’s important after the accident. Check and see if everyone’s okay, offer any help if you are able, and promptly notify police or the appropriate authorities that an accident has occurred.

Decline to discuss the accident any further than this. NEVER accept cash or other offers of repayment at the scene.

Go through the full process with a personal injury attorney at your back to ensure that you aren’t taken advantage of.

Take Care of Yourself After an Accident and Follow Doctor’s Orders

You have a personal responsibility to look after your own health. After an accident, that means that any delays in care or failure to follow your treatment plan can mean that some of the blame for your condition may fall on you.

This accusation is a common tactic insurance companies and at-fault parties use to reduce their exposure to liability. The sad thing is, it can work!

To protect your health and your own legal rights, never delay care. Do everything you can to document all car accident injuries.

This is especially important when you have been told to avoid work or certain activities. Rest, take your medications, and follow all doctor recommendations.

Keep a record of you keeping up with all of it. This follow-through reduces your own exposure to liability for your own damages while helping you recover faster and more fully

Don’t Post to Social Media About Your Accident

NEVER discuss your accident openly with anyone aside from your attorney and maybe a spouse. It is particularly important to avoid broadcasting details about an accident or your injury to social media.

These postings can be considered publicly accessible (even when set to private), and they give liable parties avenues to spy and look for inconsistencies in your claim. You may be accused of fault, for example, based on photos you share of your car accident.

In fact, any type of post runs the risk of getting you in trouble. Posting about going to a baseball game, for instance, can give the at-fault party ammo to allege that your injuries aren’t as debilitating to your lifestyle as you claim.

Discussions about politics could be used to color your characterization to an insurer, judge, or jury. The best course of action is to often go completely silent during the duration of your recovery.

Get an Attorney to Review Your Settlement Agreement Before You Say Yes

Insurance companies are notorious for sending undervalued, “low-ball” offers to claimants. They may even put pressure on the claimant by saying that they have a limited window to respond and that this is a “take it or leave it” situation.

In reality, everything is open to negotiation — especially if the insurance company wants to avoid being sued for a higher amount. It literally pays in many situations to have an attorney review your offer and compare it to the likely damages you have suffered.

So, even if you have what seems like a straightforward accident claim, remember to protect yourself, your legal rights, and your future finances by having a legal professional look things over before you sign away your ability to ask for more cash.

Some injury cases have an obvious cause. Others are more complicated.

Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine who contributed to its cause and who may be considered liable for the resulting damages.

Below, we have listed some of the most common legal reasons that someone can be considered at fault for your injury and, thereby, responsible for paying for its full costs.

Negligence

Most personal injury cases will involve proving negligence. “Negligent,” in the way it is commonly used, can refer to carelessness or mistakes.

In legal terms, negligence means mostly the same thing, except that there must be four specific parts that must each be proven in order to establish a negligence claim.

The four elements of negligence are

  • Duty of care — A person, company, or other entity has a responsibility to take certain actions and to avoid other types of actions in order to reduce the risk of causing harm to you and others like you. This duty may stem from a specific law, but it can also stem from the person’s job duties or their general duty to exercise “ordinary care” as a reasonable person might.
  • Breach of duty — When someone fails to follow the standards of care expected of them, they have breached their duty of care. Examples include a driver speeding or a building owner ignoring safety codes.
  • Proximate (closest) cause — For someone to be considered negligent, their breach in their duty of care must have been the most direct or proximate cause of the injury in question. In other words, the reason the injury happened is because the person or company failed to uphold their duty of care.
  • Damages — The injured party must have suffered some form of provable damages before they can seek to hold someone accountable. Most injuries involve some measure of damage, including the initial emergency medical treatment or exam. Other damages can also be sought if the injury victim can prove that they were caused directly by the accident or event.

Proving all four parts of negligence can take quite a bit of legal work. Your attorney and their team will research all applicable laws and professional standards and then seek out evidence to prove that the at-fault party breached their duty.

Using accident evidence along with medical documentation and, sometimes, input from expert witnesses, your attorney can seek to establish that the at-fault party’s actions directly caused your injury.

They can then calculate the full amount of damages you have suffered in order to pursue the maximum settlement or jury award available.

Premises Liability

Premises liability claims, which can include slip-and-falls and building collapses, have to prove that the property owner (or other responsible party) was negligent. Most often, this means proving that some hazard that existed on the property was mostly the fault of the individual or company accused of being negligent.

One key difference is that the injured party has to be prepared to prove that the person accused of fault either knew about the hazard or should have known about it if they had been reasonably responsible for looking after the property.

If the property owner can convincingly argue that they had no idea about the hazard and couldn’t have reasonably known about it despite making regular inspections and other efforts, the injury claim may not succeed.

However, your attorney can help you acquire evidence to establish that they either did know about the hazard or similar problems to it or that they failed in their duty to try and discover and address the hazard.

Products Liability

When you are hurt by a product, like a prescription drug, medical device, or defective car, you may be able to use a strict liability claim instead of a negligence claim.

Under a strict liability claim, all you have to prove is that the product you used posed an unreasonable danger when used as directed — or when used in a way that would be understood to be likely by the manufacturer. You don’t have to prove that the manufacturer made some sort of mistake.

Strict liability claims aren’t always available, though. They depend on your state and local laws, as well as the type of product and the circumstances of the resulting injury.

When a strict liability cause isn’t available, you can instead seek to prove that there was some unacceptable defect in the product that led to the injury. This can be a defect that was created during the design or manufacture of the product.

It can also include a “marketing defect,” meaning a failure to warn the consumer about the likely dangers of the product when used as directed or implied.

Malpractice

A malpractice claim works mostly the same as a negligence claim, except the medical provider or other professional in question will have more specific and complicated duties of care that they must follow.

If you can prove that they violated their standards of care and that this violation led to an injury, you can have a high chance of succeeding in a malpractice claim.

The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ have rapidly grown. We are a fixture of our Chicago community and have provided valuable advice and legal representation to clients in multiple states.

We may not always be able to take your case on, but we are always willing to listen, answer questions, and offer advice tailored to your case.

Look out for your legal best interests by making the call or click that could change your future. Schedule your free, confidential case review with no obligation when you call (312) 999-9990 or contact us online.

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