Documenting Your Injuries After a Car Accident

2.nowordsIt is hard to think clearly after a car accident, even if at first it seems that no one was injured and the accident was not very serious. In the moment, the first thing that you might think about is how mad your boss will be if you are late to work or how upset your spouse will be if your already high car insurance premiums get even higher. It is important to think about your health first, though. Many personal injuries that result from accidents do not start showing symptoms immediately. Back or neck pain resulting from the collision tends not to show up until a few days later, but it can last a long time and be difficult to treat. In order to have as much documentation as possible to show your insurance company and, if necessary, your lawyer, take the following steps immediately after you are involved in an accident.

If You Go to the Emergency Room

If the police who report the accident recommend that you go to the emergency room to have your injuries evaluated, do not refuse just because it is an inconvenience to spend a big part of the day in an emergency room waiting to be seen by a doctor. Ask the nurses in the emergency room to take photos of any injuries you have sustained, if any of your injuries are visible. When you do see the doctor, ask for a written recommendation about how many days, if any, you need to miss work. This will be valuable information in your legal case when it comes to proving lost wages.  You will have written proof that your injuries sustained in the accident were the reason you missed work; the other side will not be able to argue that you simply chose to take a certain amount of time off of work.

A Doctor’s Expert Opinion

Unless your primary doctor is nearby and you can easily see him or her without an appointment, the emergency room physician is usually the first medical professional who will do a full evaluation of your injuries after the accident. Emergency room doctors must provide a detailed report when they release you from the hospital. Ask the doctor to include his or her assessment of exactly what caused your injuries, such as the angle from which the other car hit your car.  Also ask the doctor to include written instructions about future treatment you will need.

Make an appointment with your regular doctor as soon as you can after being released from the emergency room. Have your primary care doctor review the emergency room doctor’s notes and make any further recommendations in writing, including referrals to a specialist. Reports from physicians are some of the strongest evidence you can use in court in a personal injury case.

For More Information Download Our Free Book 

Download our free book, The 7 Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Accident Claim, to learn more about the steps you can take right now to protect your claim. Avoiding these mistakes could save you thousands of dollars.

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Contact Case Barnett About Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

The key to a successful personal injury lawsuit is gathering as much information as you can as soon as you can. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California about your personal injury case.

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Beware of Eavesdropping in Your Personal Injury Case

Following your Orange County car crash or other personal injury accident, you will soon learn that your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries and expenses will depend in large part on your ability to show that another person is responsible for causing the accident or incident that resulted in your injuries. Absent a confession or admission of fault, this task can only be completed through the use of evidence and perhaps the testimony of one or more witnesses.

Suppose, however, that while out at a restaurant you see the person you believed caused your injuries in a secluded corner talking on his or her phone. He or she is obviously talking about the crash or accident and begins to make statements admitting fault and responsibility to the person to whom he or she is talking. Before you pull out your smartphone and begin recording the conversation, take time to consider whether your intended course of action might be criminal.

Eavesdropping in California

When a person utilizes an electronic recording device such as a digital recorder, a digital camcorder, a smartphone, or another similar device to record a confidential conversation of another without the consent of every party to the conversation, that person has committed the crime of eavesdropping. Not only does this subject you to potential civil and criminal fines, but you could also be incarcerated for up to one year. Obtaining a confession or admission of guilt through illegal means can cause the court hearing your personal injury case to exclude such confession from consideration at trial.

Whether a conversation is “confidential” or not depends on the specific facts present at the time the communication was made. Key to making this determination is whether the parties appeared to have intended that their conversation be private and confidential. While speaking at a public restaurant at a table may not indicate an intention for a communication to remain private, going to a secluded area of that same restaurant and deliberately communicating as far away from others as possible may lead a court to a different conclusion.

Does This Mean I Can Never Record an Admission or Confession?

California’s eavesdropping law does not prevent you, for example, from electronically recording a statement the at-fault party makes to you if the at-fault party gives you permission to record his or her statement. Nor does the law prevent you from making a written record of statements you overhear the at-fault party make in a public setting.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a California personal injury accident, speak with us at Case Barnett Law about your situation as well as evidence that might potentially be available for you to use in your quest for compensation. Call us at (949) 861-2990, or reach out to us using our online contact form.

When Do I Get My Personal Injury Compensation Award?

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Those injured in a serious personal injury accident – as well as the surviving family members of decedents killed in a fatal injury accident – usually have two overriding concerns on their minds when they visit with a personal injury law firm. First, these injury victims and family members want to know if they have a viable case. Answering this question requires our legal team to analyze the facts and circumstances of the person’s situation and utilize our knowledge of the law to render an informed opinion as to whether the person has a realistic opportunity to recover compensation for his or her injuries and losses.

The second most common question – and an equally compelling question, too – that injury victims want answered is this: “How long will it take to get my compensation award?” This is understandable considering that many injury victims are facing significant financial hardships due to medical bills and decreased wages. Unfortunately, it is not always as easy to determine when an injury victim will actually get the money in his or her hands.

If Your Case Settles Before Trial

If you and the at-fault party in your civil action decide to settle your case, then the settlement agreement will usually indicate when and how the defendant in your case is to pay you. This is typically true if you and the defendant settled the case yourselves or if a mediator assisted in brokering the agreement. Because a settlement agreement should be an enforceable contract, you should be entitled to additional damages and/or other legal relief if the defendant fails to pay within the time specified.

If You Win Your Case at Trial

If your case proceeds to trial and you prevail, the judge will enter an order fixing the amount of compensation the defendant must pay and the time within which he or she should pay. This timeframe can be paused if the defendant decides to appeal the trial’s result, legal issues that arose during the trial, and/or the amount of compensation ordered by the court. If the defendant does file an appeal, then the defendant is usually not required to pay until after the appeal has been resolved. Depending on the number of cases that must be decided before your own at the appellate level, this can take months or (in some cases) years.

If You Arbitrate Your Case

If you submit your case to an arbitrator, the arbitrator will fix the amount of time the defendant has to pay you. However, like a trial, the defendant may be permitted to appeal the arbitrator’s decisions to a court (and then appeal any adverse decisions the court makes to an appellate court). Again, it can take months – or even years – in order for the case to be finally resolved in your favor and the defendant to begin making payments.

Case Barnet Law Firm is a California personal injury firm committed to helping injury victims recover the compensation they need following a catastrophic personal injury accident. Contact the firm at (949) 861-2990 today for assistance, or complete our firm’s online contact form.