Published: 21 April 2023
Author: Stringer Clark Injury Law team
5 tips on what to do when you suffer a personal injury:
When you suffer an injury, the immediate focus will of course be on making sure you are ok.
However, if your injury has been suffered at work, as a result of a motor vehicle accident and/or in circumstances where you suspect another party might be at fault, it is very important to also consider what steps ought to be taken to protect your legal rights.
The Personal Injury Lawyers at Stringer Clark have summarised their top 5 tips.
1. Where possible, obtain evidence at the time of the incident or as soon as possible afterwards.
This evidence may take the form of photographs, videos or CCTV footage of the incident site/area, witness statements or the names/contact details of witnesses, or even physical evidence such as faulty equipment or the footwear you were wearing at the time.
It may also include emails, text messages, letters, incident/investigation reports and in a workplace context, relevant policies and procedures.
Understanding that court cases often are not commenced until sometime after an incident occurs, obtaining this evidence early and keeping it safe may prove crucial to being able to prove the circumstances of your incident later, when memories have faded and people and documents have disappeared. This material is often the difference between a case that wins or loses.
2. Seek medical treatment and ensure that all conditions and symptoms are fully recorded as they arise.
Often an individual will only report their most significant injury; however, it is important that the circumstances of the incident and all conditions you are suffering are documented from the outset. This includes making sure you report any injuries which may arise later but are still related to the original incident or injury.
Reports made at or around the time of the event can ensure you get proper treatment and may also help to prove the facts of your case later.
3. Notify the relevant parties of the incident and where appropriate lodge a claim.
This may involve making a complaint to a local council, authority or a property owner/occupier. In the case of a workplace incident, an employer must be notified of an incident with 30 days, often by way of an incident or injury notification form. A Workcover Claim form should then be lodged as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter to ensure you can access all benefits in a timely manner.
In the case of a transport accident, this will involve reporting the incident to Police and then lodging a formal TAC claim within 12 months of the accident date.
It is important than any complaints be in writing, where possible, or that notes of any discussions/meetings be made at the time and where possible held in the presence of another person.
4. Consider other sources of support.
Often an injured person will have a number of different places they can look to for support.
For example, individuals who suffer an injury which prevents them returning to work in their usual occupation may be entitled to benefits under their Superannuation.
Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers are able to provide support and guidance in accessing these broader supports and can provide referrals if we cannot assist you directly.
5. Get legal advice early.
Pursuing a legal remedy can be a complex and confusing process. Having good information and advice at the outset is often critical to both your recovery and your prospects of success.
This is particularly important when you have suffered an injury which is serious and likely to have long term consequences for you. There are also time limits which apply to claims which need to be considered.
Stringer Clark offers a free, no-obligation, confidential first appointment to injured individuals so that they can receive timely advice about their legal rights and assistance to accessing and preserving their entitlements.