When you experience personal injury, it’s a stressful time. There is a lot going on, and it’s hard to know where to begin. Our personal injury attorneys have outlined the basic first steps that you should follow if you find yourself filing a personal injury claim.

Who Is Responsible?

Determining who is responsible is the first step. Think about the situation, and think about all parties that could be responsible for the incident. A lot depends on the type of injury.

In the case of an auto accident, it’s straightforward. You must notify all the drivers and their insurance companies that you intend to file a claim. You should, of course, notify your insurance company right away after the accident.

Let’s say you get injured in a slip and fall accident. You may have to contact more than one person. It may be a business owner, the property owner, your insurance company, and their insurance company, as well as other parties. You can see that this might get complicated. If it’s overwhelming, hire a personal injury attorney to help you sort through the maze.

When Do I Notify Responsible Parties?

If you are planning to file a personal injury claim, you need to let the responsible parties know as soon as possible after the incident. You want to get the ball rolling on your claim while the memories are fresh. You also do not want them to state later that they did not know anything about it. If you notify parties that you intend to file a claim, you are not obligated to file the claim later. If you decide on your own, or after legal advice, decide not to pursue the claim, you won’t be held to follow through.

So, try to notify possible defendants within a couple of weeks after the incident. If you are hospitalized or have other reasons that cause a delay, get your claim started as soon as possible.

Should I Call or Notify Them in Writing?

Written notification is the way to go when you are pursuing legal action. Keep in mind that you do not want to give any in-depth information about the incident. Just let them know the time and place and that you were injured. Do not accuse them of being at fault, or talk about how badly you were injured. They will be made aware of these details as the case progresses. Do not mention any blame that you might share for the incident.

If you want help to identify who to contact, or you are not sure what to say in a notification letter, let a personal injury lawyer provide you with the help that you need. Getting expert legal advice from someone who has experience with the system can make a difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim. It will also give you peace of mind that you have done things properly, and haven’t overlooked anything.

A personal injury case has a lot of moving parts. In California, correctly following procedure and understanding the process is so important to your claim.