You have been seriously injured due to the fault of someone else. Your daily life has been tremendously changed. You need assistance with everyday activities of living. Your ability to work and earn money, interact with your family and friends, and engage in recreational activities and hobbies in the future is in doubt. Your first priority is recovery to the highest level possible, as soon as possible.
Like many people, you have never used an attorney, and likely never envisioned why you ever would. Also like many people, you do not want to be “the kind of person” who sues other people for personal injuries. There are compelling reasons to meet with an attorney, and to do so sooner rather than later following a serious injury.
The primary reasons are:
- Immediately preserve evidence, identify witnesses and investigate the causes of and facts surrounding the serious injury.
- Facilitate, where insurance coverage exists, proper documentation for needed treatment, day to day help and care, and payment of wage loss benefits where appropriate.
- Protect you from those whose interests are adverse to yours.
1. Preserve Evidence, Identify Witnesses and Investigate Cause and Facts
There are many ways injuries occur. Mechanisms of injury may be a motorcycle or car crash, propane explosion, product-caused injury, dangerous and defective premises (homes, commercial buildings, etc.), defective roadways, boating accidents, and more. Irrespective of the mechanism of injury, important evidence exists which will help to prove the cause – why the injury happened, and who was responsible. Crucial physical evidence frequently is altered, destroyed, or just disappears. Appropriate forensic experts are often needed to analyze and document the physical evidence. It is not unheard of for a representative of the at-fault party to remove or destroy the evidence.
Meeting with an attorney who has years of experience investigating fire cause and origin, defective roads, accident reconstruction and more will allow immediate investigation and protection of the evidence, including locating and interviewing witnesses and preventing evidence spoliation.
2. Facilitate Proper Documentation for Needed Treatment, Care and Wage Loss Benefits
Your attorney should be involved with facilitating and assisting with organizing and teaching the injured person how to document the need for medical treatment and daily care, for insurance purposes. Your attorney should also be able to guide you through application for wage loss benefit payments.
In cases where the injuries occurred in a car crash in Michigan, No-Fault Insurance Law will apply. There are procedural and substantive steps that need to be taken early on in order to protect benefits that are due, document the appropriate treatments, and properly present your claim. These steps, properly done early, will influence the steady and long-term payment of benefits.
Bringing all available resources to bear is another important function of your attorneys. In cases of serious injury, it is often important to bring in a nurse case manager. An attorney can also ensure that you are referred to appropriate medical specialists and document your needs for vocational, physical and psycho-emotional therapies.
3. Protect You from Adverse Interests
Representatives and investigators of the person(s) or entity who caused your injuries will be at work immediately to spin the facts and negatively influence your claims. They will try to contact you directly. They will want to interview you both as to the nature of how your injuries affect you and the facts surrounding your injury. They want to use your statements against you. They want to put a spin on your claim that will devalue it. They will offer money early on to settle your claim, but the amount offered is almost never fair or reasonable.
Meeting with an experienced attorney early after your injury will protect you from these efforts. The line of communication will go through your attorney and prevent adverse parties from negatively influencing your claim.