What should I do immediately after suffering an injury in Pennsylvania?

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John M. Dodig - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: John M. Dodig

Located in Philadelphia, PAFeldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP

Philadelphia, PA
Phone: 215-309-8667
Fax: 215-599-1318

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Suffering any injury puts a stop to your normal life. From severe pain or illness stopping your daily behaviors to causing you to miss work to costing money for care; any injury is a significant concern for an individual. When your injury is no fault of your own, you may have a right to receive money for the pain and suffering this accident causes. 

Accidents are often due to someone else’s mistake or reckless behavior, negligence from a city or property manager, or a lack of safety procedures and equipment. Immediately after suffering an injury you need to seek medical care. The most important thing is to care for yourself and heal. While you recover, your doctor visits and medical documentation can be used to build a strong personal injury case. 

Assessment of your injury by medical professionals 

Having an immediate assessment of your injury is essential. A doctor or specialist can document the severity of the injury or illness and provide the proper treatment. They can advise you on hospital stays, surgeries and the necessary treatment plan for the future. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming the injury is no big deal or that you will heal just fine in a few days. Waiting to seek medical care can show a lack of self-care — which is required by law to prove you are doing your due diligence to heal. 

Taking notes on the accident and injury, from how you felt that day to how you feel now, are also vital to your case. It is easy to forget essential details even a few hours or days after an accident. As soon as you get a chance, write down or record your statement about the accident. Another advantage to seeking medical attention right away is they will also ask you to explain what happened. They will take notes on what you say which is another way to prove your side of the incident. 

Always seek a second medical opinion 

It is important to ask for a second opinion regarding your different illnesses or injuries. It can be a good idea to see specialists at this time. For example, if you have a slip-and-fall accident and have a hurt ankle and pain in your head, it is essential to seek second opinions from doctors specializing in these separate areas of the body. Always make sure that you confirm the extent of the injury and the treatment plan with more than one doctor.

Acting fast is key, but you have time to bring a lawsuit

After an accident or illness,  in Pennsylvania you have two years to file a personal injury claim. This will start the process to bring a lawsuit against the person you feel is responsible. We see too many clients wait five years and then decide their permanent injury or chronic pain deserves compensation — but then it’s too late. You may also need to seek a case against poor treatment or incorrect medical attention from the doctors you saw. There are exceptions to how long you have to file against the doctor or hospital, though generally, this is also within two years.

Accident or injury cases can feel very long and complex

It takes time to get results and compensation for your situation. While you are healing, many legal processes will be going on behind the scenes. There are phases of discovery, evidence gathering and taking statements from your doctors or accident witnesses. Your accident may also involve many other elements in different areas of the law, such as:

  • A product failing to follow Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) guidelines
  • Negligence from other drivers on the road
  • Car or truck malfunctions or defects
  • Abuse or neglect from nursing home workers
  • Negligence from a construction site or workplace
  • Toxic substances, like mold in your home
  • Doctor’s prescribing the wrong drugs or medication amounts
  • Medical staff using incorrect or unsafe medical devices
  • Protecting your family if you were to pass away from injury or medical complications

If you decide to file a lawsuit for your injury, a trusted Philadelphia personal injury lawyer could look at all aspects of your case. It is vital to retain an attorney to ensure you receive the right compensation, and to protect your best interests throughout the case. After seeking care for yourself and speaking to a doctor, your next call should be to an experienced attorney.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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