You or a loved one has been injured. What’s the first thing you should do?
Before you do anything else, you should contact an attorney who can assess your situation and discuss your options.
Stilwell Law Firm offers you and your family a free and fully confidential consultation to discuss your injuries. There is no obligation to hire our personal injury attorneys or to even pursue a claim. There truly is nothing to lose by visiting with us.
There are several reasons to immediately contact a personal injury attorney, including:
Preservation of Physical Evidence
Shortly after an accident, the physical evidence involved will generally be more accessible than it will be months or years later. For example, even weeks after an 18-wheeler accident, the truck involved may be fixed up and on a job thousands of miles away. The equipment at issue (tires, brakes, etc.) may have been altered or repaired, hindering the ability to show its condition at the time of the accident.
The more time that passes, the more of an opportunity the party responsible has to discard or alter the evidence, even if they are not supposed to do so. A refinery involved in an explosion would be hard-pressed to explain why it discarded the product which caused the fire in the days, weeks, or months following the accident. But years later, the company may argue it discarded the product because it forgot or thought it was no longer important.
It is important to begin the investigation process as soon as possible.
Preservation of Non-Physical Evidence
Immediately following an incident, the non-physical evidence critical to the case may be easier to locate and document. For example, shortly after an accident, eyewitnesses may still be in the vicinity and available to give a statement.
In the months or years after an accident, those eyewitnesses may move away, their contact information may change, and contacting them may become more difficult. Over time, memories fade and can even change. Witnesses who would initially give supporting testimony may forget what they saw. Or, the witnesses could speak to others, including their employer, and be persuaded to remember things differently. For this reason, it is important to act quickly.
Statute of Limitations
There is usually a legal deadline to file a personal injury case. This is referred to as the statute of limitations or prescription. Depending on where you live, the statute of limitations to bring an injury lawsuit can be as little as one year, if not sooner.
A year can go by in an instant, especially when your focus is on getting the injured person better and taking care of their family, not legal matters. For this reason, it is important to act quickly following an accident to ensure none of your rights are lost.
If you have been injured, it is important to act fast, and the personal injury lawyers at Stilwell Law Firm can help. Please call us for a free and fully confidential consultation.