What to Do After a Serious Injury

Serious injuries can be tragic. They can leave you hurt, disabled, or dead. The last thing you want to do is make a bad injury worse by reacting the wrong way. 

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the U.S. experienced 224,935 preventable deaths, 62 million injuries, and $1.2 trillion in injury-related costs in 2021.

If you ever find yourself seriously injured, here’s what you should do: 

1. Seek medical attention

The first step is to get medical attention. Though you may be tempted to just “walk it off” or wait to go to the doctor, try to suppress this urge. 

The truth is that many serious injuries don’t show immediate symptoms (e.g. concussions and internal bleeding). As a result, it’s better to see the doctor even if your injuries seem minor. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

2. Document the injury

Documenting your injury may be hard or impossible depending on how serious it is, but having a detailed record will make it easier to file an insurance claim and defend your case in a legal battle later. 

To document the injury, describe the incident on paper or in a phone app. You could also record a voice memo. Try to also get some photos of the injury’s severity. Injuries change over time, so it’s important to get a photo of what yours looks like right after it happened. 

If you were in a car accident, ask for the contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance policy of the other driver(s) involved. That way, you can speed up the insurance claim process. 

3. Consult a personal injury lawyer

It’s also a good idea to consult a reputable personal injury attorney. They can help you navigate the complex legal system related to personal injuries, maximize your insurance payout, and defend your case in court. 

Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning they take a percentage of your settlement. So if you don’t win your case, you won’t owe anything. 

4. Notify your insurance company

Let your insurance company know about your injury as soon as possible. That way, you can start the claims process and move forward with getting the compensation you deserve. 

Keep in mind that if you wait too long, you might lose out on your potential to make a claim. Each state has a statute of limitations, which determines the length of time you have to initiate a potential claim or lawsuit before it is considered too old to be litigated. 

Also, most insurance companies will try to minimize your insurance claim payout. Have an experienced personal injury attorney negotiate on your behalf. They know where insurance companies tend to cut corners and can help you maximize your compensation.

5. Follow up with your doctor

Finally, don’t neglect your doctor’s advice. They may prescribe a certain treatment, medicine, physical therapy, taking time off work, and more. 

If you don’t follow your doctor’s treatment plan, insurance companies and other parties may hold it against you. For example, they could argue that the severity of your injuries is partly due to your own neglect and fight to reduce their liability. 

So follow your doctor’s medical advice and remember that healing takes time.

The bottom line

Nobody wants to get seriously injured. But if you are, the least you can do is minimize the damage by following the tips above. You won’t regret it.