This is something that I will constantly repeat. The importance of contacting an attorney early on after an incident leading to injury or death cannot be overstated. First, many attorneys will provide a free consultation from the start. Second, the earlier an attorney is contacted the earlier they can act to preserve evidence and ensure that your rights are protected. Third, the other side most likely already has an adjuster or attorney working for them so you should too. Finally, if you are injured or lost a loved one, it may provide a great amount of relief to have someone else on your side working to protect your rights while you protect your health and family.
There are a few ways to preserve evidence. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that you keep everything in the same state it is at the time of the injury or event leading to injury or death. For example, if a vehicle is involved in an accident, you wanna make sure that you write letters to everyone in possession of the vehicle that it should be preserved and not altered, destroyed, or in any way changed. It should also be covered in plastic or placed indoors until you can have an attorney analyze the necessity of the vehicle. All documents relating to the accident, your injuries, settlement discussions, and any other issue relating to the accident leading to injury or death should be provided to your attorney for their analysis. Finally, it is often very helpful for a client to videotape or photograph the extent of their injuries if possible. Oftentimes, by trial, a person is mostly healed. A videotape can be a powerful tool in illustrating the extent of the injuries.
Insurance companies and potential defendants sometimes try to settle with potential plaintiffs before they have the chance to discuss with an attorney. I am not saying that an offer is insufficient if made without representation, but I think it is important to have an attorney, with expertise in cases similar to your claim, analyze any offers and provide their opinions.
Do Not Wait
Typically, a case will not get better as time goes. If you think you might have a case it is better to find out today than tomorrow. First, memories fade over time. Second, evidence can sometimes disappear or be destroyed. Third, even if you decide to wait on filing a lawsuit, having an attorney early on will increase the chances that you have the evidence and statements you need when you decide to file. Finally, the law will govern how long a person or entity has to pursue legal action. The time provided by law changes by jurisdiction and by type of lawsuit filed. The time to file a personal injury action may be different than a product liability or breach of contract action. Make sure to investigate, or ask your attorney about, statutes of limitation and statues of repose.
This guide provides general information to help visitors understand the law. None of the information on this guide constitutes legal advice. If you need legal advice you are strongly encouraged to seek a qualified attorney. The information presented on this guide does not constitute the views or opinions of Watts Guerra Craft LLP or any of its attorneys. This guide does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Justin Hill or Watts Guerra Craft LLP, nor is it intended to do so. Also, please understand that contacting Justin Hill or Watts Guerra Craft LLP via telephone, written mail, or electronic e-mail does not mean you have established an attorney-client relationship with Justin Hill or Watts Guerra Craft LLP. Therefore, do not send any confidential information until an attorney-client relationship has been established.