Not knowing what to do when an accident occurs is perfectly normal. Few people live their lives in readiness of disaster, but planning for the worst should not be regarded as a form of compulsive behaviour or paranoia. Contingency measures often prove invaluable in times of emergency, so at least some thought should be given to accidents.
Most accidents occur at home, in the workplace or on the road. An accident can cause injury, illness or emotional distress. People who suffer injuries often display symptoms of shock, while those who are in the process of recovering may experience depression, anxiety or some other psychological condition.
The important point to remember when an accident has occurred is that panic helps nobody. Though sometimes difficult in practice, accident victims ought to calmly identify what injuries might have been caused. They should also seek professional medical help without delay. This is not to suggest, however, that the accident victim should do nothing else at the scene of the accident; on the contrary, he can obtain various details to support a subsequent insurance or compensation claim. Such details may include contact information for other parties involved, the time, date and location of the incident, whether anybody witnessed the accident and the circumstances that caused the injury.
After medical care has been sought, the accident victim ought to carefully weigh his options and consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. Litigation might be a possibility if negligence can be established. To establish negligence, the claimant’s legal representatives must be able to prove that the defendant owed their client a duty of care at the time of the accident. The law also requires that the duty was breached by the defendant and that the breach caused the injury or illness in question.
Contacting a no-win, no-fee solicitor for a free consultation is advisable at this stage because the accident victim may not be confident that he has sufficient grounds to make a claim for compensation. Proceeding with litigation without the help of no-win, no-fee lawyers, whose fees are covered by insurance, can be extremely expensive and complex. A good no-win, no-fee lawyer will provide guidance on whether a claim is worth pursuing before offering to represent the injured person.
Finally, the accident victim ought not to wait too long before initiating proceedings against the defendant. In England and Wales, personal injury claims must be made within three years from the date on which the cause of action occurred unless the injured person was aged under eighteen at the time of the accident or only became aware of his injuries at a later date.