Posted on May 1, 2019
There are a lot of important things to do when you get injured and you require assistance in handling the injury, whether it be medical, legal, or both. Too often injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence or stupidity. It is often tough to even think, let alone be organized doing it, when you are hurt. But if there may be legal issues, insurance claims, or other challenges resulting from the injury that are really important to handle in a logical and organized manner so you have the best chance of seeing a claim through to payment or settlement in the future.
The very first thing to consider when an injury happens is to seek medical attention. This is especially important in vehicle accidents and work related injuries. Most states have limitations on how long you have to both report the injury and seek medical attention, because if you do not, you risk being penalized or losing the ability to seek restitution for expenses, losses, and care or repair.
Colorado requires reporting within four days of a work related injury. If you do not, and you seek workman’s compensation in Colorado, you may lose payment for your days off up to and inclusive for the four days. It may also affect the claim overall. You also have to utilize the posted providers, if the employer has a list, for medical care.
If the injury is a result of a vehicle accident, Colorado is a little different than some states. It is mandatory to report any vehicle accident, regardless of damage to the vehicle, if there is any injury involved. The statute of limitations for vehicle injuries to proceed with a claim is three years in Colorado, two for wrongful death. Damage to a vehicle claims must also be filed within three years of the date of the accident if you seek insurance coverage for the damage.
Since Colorado Is no longer a no-fault state for auto accidents and now a comparative responsibility state, meaning you file against the other party’s insurance and they sort out who was how much at fault, it is critical you do certain things to help your personal injury attorney in Colorado Springs so they have valuable information. This includes pictures of the accident scene, photos of damage to the vehicles, copies of the police report and any tickets issued to you, and as detailed a written out statement as you can accurately remember on what happened, and who said what. This will be invaluable especially in injury claims as they begin to piece together what happened and who was really at fault.
The same holds true for a workman’s compensation injury. Keep a log and notes on what happened, date and time, and who said what. Did the company file an injury report? Were you asked to sign anything? How was your referral to medical assistance handled? All these things help a good personal injury lawyer in Colorado Springs know how to put together requests for discovery (finding out what happened), what they need more information about, and to start to learn if negligence was involved.
Sometimes your personal injury may result from an accident at someone’s home, place of business, or elsewhere. It is really important to take photos if you can of the location, the area the accident occurred, and other details. Was there water on the polished floor someone had not cleaned up? Was something built with sharp edges and in line of the aisle you were on? Was construction material lying around? All those kind of details will make a big difference to a personal injury attorney reviewing your case to see how they can help you.
A lot of times people are afraid to take down details, ask for insurance or medical information, or other things. It is important you ask those questions to protect yourself and get the help you need. The insurer will not be overly helpful as their job is to save money, not make sure you get all the help you need to recover. Remember that. It is a matter of taking care of yourself, because sadly, many personal injury incidents end up creating situations or permanent damage that last the person’s lifetime or are long term and have to be dealt with ongoing.
A lot of legal firms turn out to be what is not so jokingly referred to as ambulance chasers in the industry. If you are asked for a consulting fee by a firm to review your facts and to recommend if you have a claim or not, you are in the wrong law firm. Nearly all reputable law firms in Colorado Springs offer free consultations to review the information you can provide, any documents you are able to share such as the police reports and medical notes, and photos you took. Your dated statement gives them a look through a set of eyes that was there near the time of the incident, not fuzzy memories much later.
Colorado Spring attorneys’ free consultations are just that – free. Most attorneys take personal injury cases on contingency anyhow, meaning they do not charge up front. Some might ask for a very small retainer for cost of copies and filing fees, but most not even that. Contingency means that if they say you have a case and you decide to retain – use – their services, they will request a percentage plus reasonable expenses of the final settlement or claim amount and that is how they make their money for handling it. Often fees range from 20-50% depending on the complexity of the case. While that might seem expensive, remember they are basically working for free and only if they win do they get paid. Also, many PI cases tend to get stretched out over long periods of time, as the insurance companies do not like to have to pay anything they can outwait you on. Most attorneys make hundreds of dollars per hour, so a percentage is often far less than you would pay in straight time and expenses.
When you need the services of a personal injury attorney Colorado Springs trusts, look for a local firm that knows the court system, and other local issues. Go into the first meeting like an interview, as you will be working closely over a period of time with the firm. Ask for referrals and among your network who has a good reputation – and good luck.