At some point, you may suffer an injury while on campus. Depending on the nature of the accident, how you respond to the injury in the hours and days that follow could have a massive impact on your health—as well as your finances. In some types of cases, you’ll want to contact a lawyer such as personal injury lawyers Fielding Law and pursue a legal claim. In others, you’ll simply need to seek medical treatment on your own.
Phase One: Establishing Safety
Your first priority should be establishing safety for yourself and the people around you. For example, if you were a pedestrian who was hit by a car, you need to get out of the road as quickly as possible, and help anyone else in the road get to safety. Depending on the severity of your injuries and the nature of the situation, this may mean taking further action. For example, if you tripped on something and fell down a few stairs, if you’re physically capable, you should remove the object that caused you to trip.
It can be hard to think quickly in these types of situations, especially if you feel significant pain or if everything happened too fast to process. Simply do your best here, and try to think as rationally as possible.
Phase Two: Getting Immediate Treatment
Your next priority should be getting immediate treatment, if appropriate, for you and anyone else involved in the accident. If you or anyone else suffered a severe injury, you’ll want to call a hospital right away. You can fill out paperwork and consider the potential liability issues later. If you suspect you’ve broken a bone, have a concussion, or are bleeding heavily, you need immediate treatment.
If an ambulance isn’t strictly required, like if you only sustained some minor cuts and/or bruises, you may be able to suitably treat yourself with a first aid kit. Contact a faculty member, and they should be able to direct you to one and/or help with treatment.
Phase Three: Documentation
After you’ve gotten immediate treatment, you can work on documenting the incident. Most universities will require you to document any incident that happens on campus, for legal and ethical reasons. Again, you’ll want to contact a faculty member to see what’s appropriate here. Depending on the nature of the accident, they’ll likely provide you with a few forms or will guide you through a series of questions about what happened and which factors led to the accident occurring. Answer honestly and concisely, and make sure you review the report before they finalize it.
It may also be a good idea to document the incident in your own way, in case the staff documentation isn’t sufficient or accurate. For example, it’s a good idea to take some photos of your surroundings, or collect a copy of the surveillance footage (if it exists). You may also want to talk to eyewitnesses, and ask if they’d be willing to provide their testimony at a later date. If your injury was the result of negligence, this could be vitally important.
Phase Four: Ongoing Treatment
You may be reluctant to seek further medical treatment if your injuries are minor, but it’s a good idea to head to a follow-up appointment anyway. If you end up bringing a legal case against your university or the people in it, you’ll need to show that you took reasonable action to treat your injuries. Plus, this is the only way to make sure you are healing adequately.
Phase Five: Legal Action
Your injury may have resulted due to the negligence of another person or entity. For example, your university may have failed to post adequate signage that a floor was wet, causing you to slip and fall, or your roommate may have tripped you as a prank, resulting in a harder-than-expected landing. If you face significant medical costs because of these injuries, or if you want to make sure an event like this doesn’t happen in the future, it may be in your best interest to work with a lawyer. Assuming you can prove negligence, you should be able to get compensation for your medical costs, as well as for your pain and suffering.
Most initial legal consultations are free, so they’re worth taking. Talk to a lawyer about the details of your case, and they’ll help you decide whether or not it’s appropriate to take legal action.
Hopefully, your years of college will be accident- and injury-free, but this is certainly no guarantee. If you do suffer an injury, try to stay calm and think as rationally as possible. Getting to safety, getting treatment, and seeking legal action could help you get to a much better position after the incident.