What to Do if You Sustain an Injury?

By: Ann Sheeley, Esq.

As a litigator with 22 years of experience, Ann Sheeley of Sheeley Law, LLC provides her expertise on how to proceed if another’s negligence injures you or a loved one. Question: We hear the term “personal injury” quite a lot. What types of personal injury claims do you represent? Ann Sheeley: The most common type of personal injuries I see result from motor vehicle accidents. Other cases involve slips and falls, on-the-job injuries, medical malpractice, dog bites, and injuries caused by drug prescriptions not filled properly. For instance, I represented someone who was in the 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island at The Station, which was one of the deadliest fires in American history. Question: What is the first thing someone should do in the event of an injury? Ann Sheeley: If it is a motor vehicle accident, then call the police. They can investigate the accident, document your physical complaints, and establish fault. In all cases, injured parties need to seek a physical evaluation from a qualified medical professional as soon as they know that they are injured. The most important thing is to get care for your injuries. Doctors maintain detailed documentation, which is essential if you later decide to sue. Question: At some point, injuries result in conversations with insurance companies. Do you have any advice for navigating this process? Ann Sheeley: Insurance companies are in the business of making money. While they exist to help injured parties, they also have their own bottom lines to look after. If the insurance company asks for a recorded statement, I suggest talking with an attorney. Most attorneys offer a free consultation for personal injuries, and will tell you if they feel your case warrants representation, or if you should be able to handle it yourself. The sooner you talk with an attorney, the better equipped you will be to handle the paperwork and conversations with the insurance company about your injuries and care. Question: What types of expenses are compensable? Ann Sheeley: Compensable expenses include medical and rehabilitative treatment, adaptive devices necessary to help you go about your daily life, medications and medical equipment, any household help that you may need to hire, lost income, loss of use, and pain and suffering. Question: Any other advice? Ann Sheeley: The most important thing is caring for your injuries. Secondly, documentation plays a key role. Maintain a daily journal that lists pain levels and discusses how your injuries affect your regular activities. This can help doctors pinpoint underlying problems and plan your treatment, while keeping a record of any disability arising from your injuries.

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