What Pedestrians Should Do After Being Hit By A Car
The Governors Highway Safety Association released a report last year that revealed there was an increase in fatal pedestrian accidents in 2016. Sadly, the 11% jump was the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities that has ever been recorded. Based on this data, it is clear that pedestrians need to use extreme caution to avoid suffering fatal injuries.
No matter how careful you are, it’s possible you could be hit by a car at some point. If this ever happens to you, it’s important to know exactly what to do to protect yourself and your legal rights. Follow these steps after a pedestrian accident:
Move Out of the Way
Pedestrians often suffer serious injuries when they are hit by cars. But, if you are able to move, it’s important to get out of the street as soon as possible. This is the only way to ensure you will not be hit by other drivers approaching the area.
Dial 9-1-1 and ask the dispatcher to send a police officer to the scene of the accident. If you are in need of emergency medical assistance, you should let the dispatcher know so they can send help right away.
Seek Medical Attention
Anyone who has suffered severe injuries should be treated by first responders at the scene of the accident. If your injuries are not severe, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible after leaving the scene of the accident. There are two reasons why seeing a doctor immediately after a crash is so important. First, the doctor will be able to treat your injuries before they become more serious. The sooner you receive treatment, the less likely it is that you will suffer serious complications.
Seeing a doctor also ensures that your injuries are documented by a medical professional. Without this documentation, it can be difficult to recover compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. In fact, if you wait too long to receive medical attention, the insurance company may argue that they have no way of knowing whether or not the injuries were actually sustained in the accident.
Follow the Doctor’s Orders
Your doctor may make a number of recommendations after evaluating your condition. For example, a doctor may recommend taking prescription medication or attending physical therapy. Listen closely to your doctor’s recommendations and follow all of them. Failing to follow your doctor’s recommendations could impact your ability to recover compensation. For instance, let’s say you do not undergo a specific treatment recommended by your doctor. The insurance company may argue that you should not be compensated because you did not make an effort to improve your condition.
Take Photos At the Scene
Take the time to gather evidence before leaving the scene of the accident. Take as many photos as possible of the parties involved in the accident, property damage, visible injuries, and nearby traffic signs and signals. If there is debris or tire marks in the road, photograph it as well. An attorney can use these photos to reconstruct the events leading up to the accident, which will make it easier to prove liability.
Talk to Witnesses
It’s also recommended that you ask witnesses for their contact information before leaving the scene of the accident. These witnesses could have seen something that proves the other driver was acting negligently in the moments leading up to the incident. For instance, a witness could have spotted the driver texting right before running into you. This testimony could be used to prove liability and recover compensation for your injuries.
Do not discuss the details of the accident with the witnesses when asking for their information. Simply ask each witness for their contact information and thank them for their cooperation.
Seek Legal Representation
Your first priority after a pedestrian accident should be seeking medical attention for your injuries. But, next on your list of priorities should be finding an experienced personal injury attorney. Look for an attorney who has experience recovering large settlements and winning sizable verdicts for injured pedestrians in your community. Pedestrian accident claims can be complex, so you will need a lawyer who knows exactly how to succeed with this type of case.
If you’re unsure of which attorney to hire, schedule consultations with multiple law firms before making a decision. Meeting with each law firm gives you an opportunity to ask each attorney questions so you can learn more about their experience and the way their firm works with clients. Most law firms offer free consultations, so although it will take a little time, it should not cost anything.
Let Your Attorney Handle the Negotiations
Shortly after the accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will probably reach out to discuss what happened. The insurance adjust could also ask if you’re willing to provide a recorded statement. These requests may seem innocent, but the insurance adjuster does not have good intentions. If you provide a recorded statement, the insurance adjuster will use this as an opportunity to get you to say things that could lower the value of your claim. For example, the insurance adjuster could trick you into taking the blame for the accident or admitting that your injuries are not serious. These statements could severely affect your ability to recover compensation, which is why it’s best to let your attorney communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
If you are a pedestrian who has been hit by a negligent driver, seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact Carpenter & Zuckerman today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers. Let our team handle every aspect of your personal injury claim so you can focus solely on making a full recovery.
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