Get all witnesses’ full names, addresses and phone numbers. Witnesses may provide valuable information. Experience has shown that witnesses who are willing to take time out of their day to help you will remain willing to speak if called upon at a later date.
Many times you will be contacted by an insurance company when you are not feeling well. The insurance carrier may try to settle your personal injury claim right away. It is best to consult with a personal injury attorney and not to rush into a settlement. Once the check is cashed or release signed, you may be prevented from bringing future personal injury claims. In addition, the insurance carrier may attempt to take your recorded statement. The carrier is required to notify you and get your permission to record. Do not give permission to record your statement prior to obtaining counsel.
If you have suffered injuries from a slip and fall or trip and fall, it is critical that you document the area, debris or dangerous condition. If you cannot do so, have a trusted friend or relative take pictures instead. Focus on the substance on the ground such as a scuff mark, an object, or something that prevented safe movement. Photographing the scene in a larger context first and then narrowing in is immensely important. For example, if you fell due to a damaged step, you will want to take a photograph of the entire staircase first. Then shoot photos of the poorly maintained step that caused the fall. If you slipped on a wet substance, you will want to document whether there were warning signs present. If you fell on ice, it is important to document whether the icy condition had or had not been treated.
You should always report the fall. For example, if you fell in the entryway of a store, notify the owner or property manager. Be sure to file an incident report. The report documents where the accident occurred and records date and time. If anyone saw you fall, get their name and contact information. Witnesses can verify what happened. Sometimes there is video footage that may have recorded the incident. The video may be controlled by the property owner or management company. An attorney can assist you with trying to preserve it. If a store employee says something to you about how the incident occurred, try to write this information down. For example, if a worker admits to you that the owner did not perform certain safety measures, document the information immediately along with the employee name.
If you suspect you may have suffered food poisoning, it is critical that you contact the restaurant or grocery store immediately. You will want to make sure an incident report is filed. You will also want to notify your local health department. The health department may investigate whether there were other reported incidents. You will want to seek medical treatment immediately. A stool sample or blood work will confirm the specific type of poisoning. If you still have the suspected food item, store or freeze it. You may be able to test or use it as evidence. It is a good idea to record what you have eaten within the 48 to 72 hours prior so you can exclude any other potential causes.
If you have been bitten by a dog, call the police immediately. The police will investigate who owns the dog and where the dog’s owner lives. You will also want to report to animal control. Again, the report documents that the incident took place. Animal control may investigate whether the dog has any other reported bites. Photograph the wound immediately, and then continue to photograph the wound as it heals. An attorney can help you to find out what insurance may be available.
In a situation where a pharmacist gives you the wrong medication, notify the pharmacy as soon as you realize the error. Do not give the medication or prescription bottle back. Try to retain the wrong medication, the pill bottle including label, and the doctor’s written prescription. An attorney can assist you in properly documenting what happened as a result of taking the wrong medication.