Accidents are unfortunately a part of life. However, if you or someone close to you is involved in an accident, it’s important to know the proper steps to take next. This guide will focus on pedestrian accidents, but many of the same principles apply across different types of accidents.
Pedestrian Injuries: A Growing Concern
The NHTSA’s yearly reports show that in the U.S. over 4,700 people die and 66,000 sustain injuries from pedestrian accidents.
While there are several causes for these potentially fatal pedestrian-related accidents, some of the most common reasons that the accidents are fatal occur when the following happens:
- Pedestrians not walking in non-driving areas
- Choosing to walk at night when it’s dark and hard to see rather than during the day
- Dangerous weather conditions
- Age can play a role, younger children and older adults are at a higher risk
- Being under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol
Statistics show that pedestrian accidents are a big problem, here are just a few:
- Pedestrians make up about 14% of all traffic deaths throughout the country.
- Drunk driving is responsible for approximately half of all pedestrian fatalities caused by automobile collisions.
- One-fifth of pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run accidents.
- About 75% of pedestrian-involved accidents that result in fatalities happen during the night
- In about 20% of all pedestrian fatalities, the victim is struck by a vehicle at a crosswalk or junction.
- The majority of pedestrian accidents happen in cities or populated areas (especially those without things like automated crosswalks and sidewalks).
- Almost half of all pedestrian deaths are caused by a vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour or less.
- One-quarter of pedestrians hit by a car going 25 mph or slower will end up with major injuries.
Who Is At Fault When A Pedestrian Is Hit By A Car?
When a driver strikes a pedestrian, the motorist is typically held responsible for the accident. When pedestrians and drivers are on the road, they are expected to use reasonable caution. This includes being attentive and scanning for other vehicles as well as pedestrians who may be crossing the road, especially if they are near a crosswalk. When a driver is behind the wheel, he or she must also pay attention when driving near children since they may not comprehend all of the traffic laws. The duty of care for pedestrians includes double-checking that they look both ways before stepping onto the roadway and using crosswalks appropriately.
If you are hit by a car while walking, the driver’s insurance will typically cover your medical bills and other costs in most cases. If you weren’t driving at the time of the accident, your own auto insurance policy should pay for damages to your vehicle.
Remember, though, that everything depends on the type of insurance coverage you have and who is determined to be at fault for the accident. You can buy no-fault insurance or a conventional fault-based policy however the regulations associated with each of these can differ. As a result, it’s always in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer before submitting an insurance claim.
Both drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings at all times to avoid accidents. In some cases, a pedestrian darting out into the street without looking may be just as responsible for an accident as a driver who isn’t paying attention.
What you do in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can have a significant impact on your long-term recovery. Keep reading to learn what steps you need to take to protect yourself and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Stay As Calm As Possible And Assess Your Injuries
While this can be difficult it is an essential step that must be undertaken in order to determine whether or not you have been harmed and help you take note of the accident site.
The first step after an accident is to check for injuries. If you are hurt, assess whether the injury prevents you from moving. If you suspect you may have a severe injury it is advised that you do not move unless absolutely necessary. If you are able to, move to the sidewalk or grassy area away from traffic. If your injuries stop you from moving at all then stop immediately and ask a bystander to call for help so emergency services can come as soon as possible.
Immediately Notify Law Enforcement
No matter the condition you are in after an accident, it is necessary to contact the police so they can file an official report. Oftentimes, emergency services will also be notified of the accident and send someone to help with any injuries or pain you may have sustained. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they are injured until after the adrenaline has worn off because shock numbs the pain. This is why it is critical to get checked out by medical professionals.
Get The Other Persons Information
If you’ve been in an accident, whether or not you feel injured, each party involved should remain at the scene. Get everyone’s name and contact information as this information can be useful later on. All parties involved should stay at the scene of the accident so that they can speak with law enforcement when they arrive.
While it is necessary to speak with the driver who hit you, there is no need to discuss fault. Additionally, never apologize as this may make it seem like you were at fault. Instead, remain polite yet professional.
Even if you didn’t mean to, admitting fault after being hit by a car can come back to bite you later. If your case goes to court, something as simple as saying “It’s fine” or “I might have been at fault, too,” can be used against you.
Gather Evidence Of The Accident
After a pedestrian accident, it’s crucial to collect as much evidence as possible. This includes taking pictures of the scene of the accident, where you were hit by the vehicle, and any speed signs or other signage near the area that could be used as evidence if your case goes to court. It’s also wise to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed what happened so that your attorney can follow up with them at a later date and get their statement or have them testify on your behalf if necessary.
Don’t throw out or wash any of your clothing if you were hit by a vehicle. These may be used as proof of how you were struck and the extent of your injuries. It’s also crucial to keep anything that might be utilized as evidence, such as a phone or another device damaged in the collision.
Try to record yourself or take written notes soon after the accident occurs, detailing everything you remember about the lead-up, during, and aftermath of the event. It’s essential to do this promptly since your memory might not be as clear later on. Be thorough in your description of events, because even things that seem small now could be significant later on in court proceedings.
Get Yourself Evaluated By Medical Professionals
In most situations, an emergency vehicle will be dispatched to the accident location. This will enable you to be examined as soon as possible. If that doesn’t happen you should go to a hospital and receive medical care as soon as possible.
Make sure your doctor thoroughly examines you for any injuries, scrapes, evidence of shock, and any other injuries you may have sustained due to the accident. This is critical evidence that will help you win a personal injury lawsuit.
Talking With Insurance Companies
If the driver who hit you didn’t have insurance, your own uninsured motorist policy may cover the damages. The insurance adjuster will question you about what happened. Always be truthful when answering questions related to the accident, but never discuss anything regarding who is at fault. Do not agree to a settlement or make any recorded statements without first consulting with a lawyer.
Keep Everything Involving Your Case Organized
Being organized is key to getting the best result for your case. Make a file that has all accident-related documentation, which should include:
- Police report: A police report is a significant piece of evidence in a personal injury claim. The investigating officer’s opinion on who was at fault, as well as a visual depiction of the accident, statements from witnesses, and citations that were issued, will all be included in the report.
- Statements from witnesses: Regardless of whether witness statements come from your own investigation or the police report, they are crucial to figuring out who is at fault.
- Statements from drivers: Ensure you document anything the driver says especially if what they’re saying is an admission of guilt.
- Medical costs and records: Your medical records are essential evidence, including your emergency room visit. You can use copies of your medical bills to support your injuries and costs.
- Loss of income: Gather information from your employer to prove how much work you have missed due to your injuries.
- Clothing: Hold on to the clothing you wore during the accident as evidence for your case and make sure you keep it in the exact same condition (do not wash it)
Get The Representation And Compensation You Deserve
If you or a family member has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you should demand compensation from the negligent party. The experienced attorneys from FGB Law work tirelessly to build a case that puts you in the best possible position. Contact FGB Law Firm today at 941-979-9010 or complete our online contact form.