The answer to the question, “when should I call a lawyer after I’ve had an accident?” is almost always, “right away.” Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident or possible medical negligence, can increase the odds of a good result if the facts warrant filing a lawsuit.
In a highway accident case, for example, it is important for your attorney or his investigator to interview witnesses promptly, while memories are fresh. It is also important to take pictures of the scene. Even though the vehicles involved in an accident may have been removed, streets themselves change over time. A photograph of the location as it looked at the time of an accident, is more effective than verbal descriptions alone.
Prompt action is also important when medical negligence may have caused death or serious injury. Regrettably, doctors or hospital personnel have been known to alter records to hide evidence of medical malpractice. Records can also be innocently lost or misplaced. The sooner an attorney secures a complete set of medical records, the more risky it becomes to alter them. There have been cases in which victims of medical malpractice obtained especially large verdicts or settlements when two sets of medical records appeared – one obtained early on, showing the medical error that caused injury, and a second set with the evidence of negligence deleted – the wrongdoer unaware that the first set had been secured by the plaintiff. Such an extreme example is unusual, though it does happen. In every case of serious injury, though, early evaluation by an attorney can increase the likelihood of a favorable recovery.