Industrial accidents can be major, life-changing events. Following an industrial accident survivors may find their quality of life and ability to work and earn a living greatly diminished. Industrial accident victims may also be experiencing chronic pain and severe debilitation as a result of their injuries. If you have been in an industrial accident and are considering a lawsuit you will naturally want to do everything possible to strengthen your legal claim. Consider the following key legal tips for industrial accident survivors.
SEEK MEDICAL HELP
The first important step both for your recovery and for your legal case is to seek medical help. Being evaluated by a doctor or taken to a hospital if necessary is crucial for establishing the extent of your injuries and for getting an honest, realistic action plan for recovery. By contrast declining medical help can significantly weaken your legal case and from a medical standpoint may put you in greater danger of complications or incomplete recovery.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR INJURIES AND RECOVERY
Closely related to the point about seeking medical help is the next major point: be realistic about your injuries and your recovery. Remember that the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is two years. This means that if you incorrectly assume that you will be completely recovered after that time, it may be too late and you will have missed your chance to file a lawsuit. Remember that your injuries may diminish your earning potential and quality of life for the long-term, and while your condition may get better over time, it may not, or it may even worsen. This underscores the importance of being thoroughly evaluated by a trusted medical professional and adhering to his or her advice and course of treatment.
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING INCLUDING MEDICAL PROCEDURES AND SUPPLIES
If your injuries are significant, or even if they are relatively moderate or minor but still complicated, it is likely that you will need to have multiple surgeries and medical procedures, numerous trips to the doctor – often including different specialists – and have to pay out of pocket for medical supplies. It is crucial to document everything so that you can have a full and accurate sense of how much your injuries and treatment are costing you. Don’t forget incidental costs or costs associated with but not directly connected to treatment. For example you may need to pay for travel to see a specialist or for a hotel stay. You may also have to have modifications made to your home to make it more accessible or safer in your condition.
GATHER WITNESS STATEMENTS AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Witnesses can often be crucial if your industrial accident lawsuit goes to trial. Make sure to speak with anyone who may have seen what happened or who may have key information about why it happened. For example even if the person was not present when the accident occurred if he or she was responsible for maintenance or for ordering parts and equipment, his or her testimony could be pivotal for your case. Make sure to get contact information and discuss key people and potential witnesses with your attorney.
SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL
The final major tip is to seek legal counsel from a trustworthy attorney who is experienced in industrial or refining accidents. Having a legal expert in your corner who will advocate on your behalf is crucial for navigating the often very turbulent waters of a personal injury claim. Remember that the industrial plant or refinery will almost certainly have a team of attorneys dedicated to discrediting or minimizing your claim. Leveling the playing field with a legal expert of your own is imperative.
Dugas Law Firm has the experience, track record, and reputation it takes to guide industrial accident survivors through this challenging time. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a refining or industrial accident please contact us for a consultation.