Once the shock of injury has worn off and urgent treatment has been taken care of, it is common for people to wonder what they should be doing next. If you have been injured in a transport accident, at work or in circumstances where your injury is someone else's fault, there are some simple things you can do to make your recovery easier.
Seek advice from a trusted doctor about your injury and its causes. Be sure to tell your doctor all about the circumstances of your injury and how it is affecting your life. If you have had any time off work as a direct result of your injury, you will require medical certificates.
It never too early to get legal advice. Adviceline Injury Lawyers offer a free telephone service for injured Victorians seeking guidance on the particulars of their case. When you call us, you will speak directly to a lawyer who can advise you about your legal entitlements and how to prepare for your recovery and any future claim you may have. There is no obligation to leave your details if you do not want to. We can tell you about any important obligations or time limits you need to be aware of so you can focus on your recovery and not have future regrets.
Report your injury
It is important to have a contemporaneous record of your injury and the circumstances. However, we do not recommend signing any statement without legal advice as there may be hidden legal implications.
If you were injured in a car accident, make sure the accident was reported to police or to the public transport operator. Secondly, call the TAC on 1300 654 329 and speak with a consultant. They will send you paperwork to complete and return. This must occur before your claim can be accepted.
If you were injured at work, make sure your employer completes an incident report. You will need to provide your employer with a completed Workers' Injury Claim Form which they must send on to their insurer.
If you were the victim of an act of violence, report this to police and offer them reasonable assistance. Write down the details of the police officer who helps you, including their identification number. You can then lodge a Victims of Crime Assistance application form online or work with one of our lawyers to complete this application. If you decide to seek a lawyer's help, their costs will be fully paid by the Tribunal.
If you were injured in a public place, make sure the owner or occupier of the building completes an incident report. If a Council or road authority may be responsible, inquire about the Section 115 Notice process. This Notice should be given to the authority within 30 days of the incident.
If you think you have been injured because of medical negligence, report the conduct to management at the hospital, directly to the doctor involved or Australian Health Practitioner's Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Preserve any evidence
Take photos of where and how you were injured, including photos of your injuries.
Ask witnesses for their details and whether you can contact them in the future for help.
Contact the operator of any CCTV and ask them to keep a copy of footage taken at least three hours before and three hours after your incident, or longer if you know of a relevant event which may have been captured.
Ask anyone who made incident reports for a copy.
Keep copies of medical evidence and medical certificates.
Record your losses
Keep receipts for any expenses you incur because of your injury, including travel and medication expenses. Record any attendant care you receive from family and friends which you would not have needed had you not been injured. When seeking time off work, provide medical certificates to your employer and, if you feel comfortable, make it clear the time off is required because of your injury. Keep a diary of how your injury is affecting you.
Speak to a No Win No Fee lawyer
If you think it is possible you will have a claim for compensation, but are not certain, it will be helpful to have legal guidance.
If it is likely your injuries will resolve completely, it is important to find a No Win No Fee lawyer who agrees you will not have any residual legal debt if your claim does not go ahead.
Further, it is important not to settle a personal injury claim without seeking legal advice. The person who caused your injury may offer to pay you a few thousand dollars to cover your immediate losses. This can be quite attractive in the initial time of need, however it is important not to settle a claim and finalise your legal entitlements when it is possible your injury may persist and you may still suffer and incur expenses in the long-term.
We recommend not signing anything in relation to your claim without seeking legal advice.
Focus on recovery
Once these initial safeguards are in place, your potential claim for compensation will be protected. As long as you are aware of the relevant time limits, there is no need to launch into your claim immediately. Make sure you seek advice early about the time limits which apply in your case. Once you have that information you can take time to obtain quality treatment and advice from your doctors and focus on recovery. If your injuries do not resolve themselves, return to your lawyer well within the time limits so they can assist you to make a claim.
If you would like further advice about the current stage of your claim or future possibilities, you can call our free Adviceline on (03) 9321 9988 and speak with a lawyer about your circumstances.