Do’s and Don’ts During a Personal Injury Claim


Injuries are sudden, unexpected, and painful. They are particularly distressing when they occur due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions or from another person’s act of wrongdoing or violence. A serious injury can send your life off course in an instant, sometimes making it impossible for a prompt return to work at the same time that expensive medical bills begin piling up. Sadly, some injuries are life-altering, leaving victims with permanent partial or total disability or impairment.

Fortunately, the civil courts allow injury victims to seek a sense of justice as well as compensation for the expenses related to their injury. These consequences of an injury are known as “damages” in a personal injury claim.

If you or a family member suffered serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury claim is a hugely important step toward moving forward from the accident with less worry about financial hardship during your recovery. Understanding personal injury claims and the important do’s and don’ts of this type of legal action can help you to get the most out of your claim.

What Type of Injuries Qualify for a Personal Injury Claim?

Any time you suffer an injury that wouldn’t have occurred if another person or business entity had only taken reasonable care, you can file a personal injury claim for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. As long as you have proof of your economic damages and the other party’s liability for the injury, your attorney can make a compelling case for your compensation. Common injuries in personal injury claims include the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Slip-and-fall injuries and other premises injuries
  • Dog bites
  • Defective product injuries
  • Medical malpractice injuries
  • Acts of criminal violence

Personal injury liability occurs under the premise that we all owe a duty of reasonable care toward others to take reasonable measures to prevent causing injuries. If someone breaches this duty and the result is an injury with damages, the negligent party is responsible for compensating the victim. Typically, the at-fault party’s appropriate insurance policy covers the damages, for example, car insurance in a car accident claim or property liability insurance after a slip-and-fall accident.

What to Do After Suffering a Sudden Injury Due to Another Party’s Negligence

Protecting yourself physically and financially begins at the scene of the accident. At the accident scene, keep a cool head and do the following:

  • Remain calm and call 911 or ask someone else to do so for you
  • Request an ambulance and ask for law enforcement if you were hurt in a car accident or by an act of violence against you
  • If you can move safely and use your phone, take photos of the cause of the injury, such as a wet floor or the intersection where a car accident occurred. Photograph the scene of the accident or injury and your visible injuries. If you’re too hurt to move safely, ask a companion or bystander to take photos for you with your phone or their cell phone
  • If you were injured by a defective product, keep the product and packaging and take photos of the product after your injury 
  • Collect the contact information of anyone involved in the injury, such as business owners in a slip and fall accident, or other drivers in a car accident
  • Add the contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Ask for a police report after a car accident or crime, or if you were hurt on a business premises, ask the manager to fill out an accident report
  • Go to a hospital straight from the accident scene, either in an ambulance or by arranging immediate transportation from the scene. This ensures that you’ll have evidence the injuries occurred in the accident and not sometime later (a common defense used by insurance companies to deny claims)
  • Always ask for a detailed medical report listing your injuries, recommendations for treatment, and prognosis for recovery
  • Follow all of your doctor’s orders and keep copies of all medical bills
  • Call an experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer to represent you during your claim to recover damages since this increases your chances of a large settlement rather than your case requiring a lawsuit in court

Doing the right things to protect yourself after an injury maximizes your chances of a full financial recovery while you focus on your physical recovery.

Important Don’ts After a Personal Injury Caused By Someone Else’s Fault

Besides knowing what to do after an injury, it’s important to know what not to do. First, never say anything that could be construed as admitting fault at the scene, such as “I’m sorry” after a car accident, or “I shouldn’t have worn these shoes” after a slip-and-fall injury. Then, keep these important “don’ts” in mind:

  • Don’t accept an early settlement offer from the insurance company of the party at fault for your injury. Often it’s too soon to know the full extent of the financial losses you’re facing. Early settlement offers are typically much less than you can recover with an attorney behind your claim
  • Don’t speak to insurance representatives on a recorded line. Insurers sometimes use your innocent remarks out of context later against you but must disclose if they are recording. 
  • Don’t post on social media until after you’ve completed your claim and recovered your damages. Many injury victims share the experience on social media immediately after the injury and add something like, “I’m thankful I’m okay,” which is later used by the insurance company to show that you weren’t as injured as you now claim. Also, a photo of you on the beach can hurt your claim even if you were truly in pain at the time
  • Don’t miss any doctor appointments, followups, procedures, or rehabilitation sessions, since this makes it appear that you aren’t as injured as you claim

Finally, don’t try to go it alone against insurers who don’t have your best interests at heart. They prioritize their profits over paying out fairly on claims. Hire an experienced attorney to advocate for your best interests.