Pedestrian Hit By Car: What You Should Do Next
Can a pedestrian hit by a car sue and get compensation? Suppose you are out walking in the neighborhood minding your own business, and a vehicle comes careening out of nowhere to hit you. In that case, you have every right to ask for compensation for your injuries, mental duress, and trauma.
Most people forget that walking can be dangerous because a pedestrian accident can happen at any time. Thus, you must always be alert on the streets. Stay vigilant in watching out for potential hazards that cross your path, especially vehicles driven by inattentive motorists. Learn more about this issue below:
Chilling Statistics You Ought to Take Seriously
The last thing you want is to become collateral damage in a nasty accident. But unfortunately, studies commissioned by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration) indicated that around 11% of all traffic-related included pedestrians.
This is alarming because pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the road. Compared to a vehicle, a person walking cannot win. Often, the injuries sustained are severe and fatal when hit by an automobile. The most common pedestrian accidents and fatalities are due to the following factors:
- Pedestrians failing to walk in non-motorist areas or pedestrian lanes
- Inclement weather resulting in hazardous conditions
- Time of day with more pedestrian accidents at night versus day because of limited visibility
- Age (often, cars hit children or senior citizens)
- Driving or walking under the influence
In the majority of the cases, the motorist is mostly at fault when a pedestrian is hit by a car. However, this is not always the case, so you must be mindful of your behavior when you are outside because everyone shares the same public spaces.
An inattentive pedestrian is as bad as a distracted driver. That is why you should always be cautious when walking. Be mindful of your surroundings so you can stay alert to any stimuli. Make sure you follow the road and traffic signs, crossing paths that you are only legally allowed to traverse. Avoid jaywalking, so you do not get into an accident.
Steps to Take When Hit by a Vehicle
It can be traumatic when a pedestrian is in a vehicle-related accident. In man versus machine, it is obvious who will sustain the most injuries. The struck pedestrian will suffer grave physical injuries, along with emotional and mental trauma.
Usually, pedestrians need to take time off from work to recover from injuries. As a result, financial hardship ensues because of a lack of income. In the worst cases, being hit by a motor vehicle will interfere with daily life, impacting the ability to feed, bathe, clothe, and dress oneself.
In most cases, pedestrians become unconscious; meanwhile, others are dazed and confused. If you are one of the unlucky ones who get hit by a vehicle but remain conscious, you must try to keep your presence of mind. The following tips can help you protect yourself and your rights after being hit by a vehicle:
Call For Medical Help Right Away
If you have been hit by a vehicle and become unconscious, calling for emergency medical services falls on the driver or other witnesses. However, if you are conscious, you may feel shocked or mentally dazed. This may cloud your judgment and ability to recognize pain. As a precaution, you must immediately call emergency services. It is imperative to get a full medical evaluation even if you feel fine because you may be suffering from internal injuries not visible to the eyes.
Document All Your Injuries
While waiting for medical services to arrive, take note of all the injuries you sustained. You can take pictures or videos with your smartphone. In addition, it would help to ask yourself the following questions:
- What body parts feel pain?
- Do you see any visual injuries with lacerations, abrasions, open wounds, etc.?
- Are there any areas with torn clothes? (Torn garments indicate the area may be injured even if you do not see visible injuries or feel pain.)
- Is there any blood when you touch your face or head? (You could be bleeding, but your body cannot process that pain because you are still in shock.)
Note all these details because they can serve as evidence later when you file a case. Besides, you need to report what you are feeling to the emergency responders.
Speak with The Police
Your insurance company and physical injury lawyer will require a police report of the accident. When the police come, it is the best time to explain what happened that led to the accident. Although you may feel emotional, try hard to reconstruct what you were doing before getting hit. Memories can fade, especially if you receive treatment, so it is always best to record them when they are fresh.
If you do not have a pen and paper, use your phone’s voice recorder as you speak with the police. Again, documenting everything will help you down the line and serve as evidence if the police make an official report of your statement.
It would also be a good idea to ask the police to secure the names of potential witnesses who saw the accident. Now is the best time to get their names, contact details, and statements. They may prove useful if you decide to file a claim against the other driver.
Do Not Discuss Fault
It is best not to discuss fault on the scene of the accident or with any motor insurance company. Regardless of whether it was your fault or the driver’s fault, it is best not to say anything until you speak to your lawyer. Besides, you may not be fully aware of the laws governing pedestrians.
Bear in mind, they can use anything you say on the scene or to an insurance adjuster against you if you sue or face any legal proceedings after the accident. You can only discuss fault with your attorney as this person is your advocate.
Do not speak at length with the insurance provider of the driver who hit you. They do not have your best interest in mind. Chances are, they will make a quick settlement offer and push you to accept it. Usually, this is a lowball offer that will barely cover your lost wages, medical bills, lost future income, and mental duress.
Hence, you must not speak with them at length. Instead, ask for the name, contact person, and claim number. Only give the bare minimum information about yourself and provide your attorney’s number instead.
Contact Your Own Insurance Company
If you have car insurance, get in touch with them right away. Even if you were a pedestrian hit by a car, most insurance policies would cover your accident. You need to do this as soon as you can to make a medical claim or seek disability benefits after the accident.
Seek Legal Advice From a Personal Injury Lawyer
A pedestrian hit by a car will surely have more severe injuries than the driver and passengers riding in the car. This can lead to physical, emotional, psychological, and financial difficulties. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, this will impact your life.
Hence, you need legal advice for your protection. The driver’s insurance company will likely try to place the fault on you. It is standard procedure for them to deny any claims you file. And if they do offer a settlement, the figures are likely to be grossly undervalued. Furthermore, the settlement offer will not consider any future difficulties you may encounter due to the accident.
Thus, it is vital to seek help from a reputable personal injury attorney. This person will be your ally, ensuring the protection of all your rights. Apart from securing compensation for your medical bills and emotional suffering, your lawyer protects your future livelihood because you may end up missing work due to medical procedures and therapy. When an accident adversely impacts your quality of life, you need future maintenance, too.
Inform Your Family and Friends
If you are lucid, it would be helpful to call your family to inform them about what happened. Nothing can be more traumatic for them than to hear a 3rd party on the phone relaying the news about your accident. Hearing your voice on the line will assure them that you are truly okay. Besides, it will also be comforting for you to hear their friendly voices in this trying period. You will need all the love and support of people who care for you.
Factors to Consider in a Lawsuit
Remember, you can sue if the driver was at fault for causing your pedestrian accident. For example, if you were in the crosswalk and a car hit you, you can sue for damages. However, if the driver did nothing wrong, such as you were distracted and texting while crossing the street, then the case may be more complicated.
At any rate, it is best to call a lawyer for advice, especially if the accident happened in a tricky setting. Though many people use the words sue, most claims usually get settled without a lawsuit. This can save you on expensive court fees and the stress of appearing in court. Instead, your legal representation can speak with the insurance company and negotiate the claims. Of course, the lawyer will always seek the most favorable terms on your behalf.
Besides, hiring a lawyer will allow you to be properly armed against insurance companies and receive the most optimal settlement value. This is vital, especially if you have permanent injuries that affect your quality of life or scars that erode your self-esteem. If you have pain that does not go away even after a few months, you must be compensated for your pain and suffering.
So, go ahead and make a claim against the driver, especially if the person is clearly at fault. The car owner is liable for your accident. You can get the damages for the following:
- Current medical bills
- Future expenses for ongoing treatment or therapies
- Lost wages because of the accident
- Future lost income if with permanent damage
- Disability benefits
- Replacement value of a lost personal property during the time of the accident
- Funeral expenses (sought by family members)
- Gas or mileage reimbursements to and from all medical appointments
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Mental duress and trauma
- Lost capacity for enjoying life due to the accident
- Punitive damages
You could get a payout for pain and suffering if the driver of the car was at fault. Bear in mind; most insurance companies will try to pin the blame on you to relieve them of the burden of payouts. For this reason, you need legal representation to fight for your rights and help you seek the justice you deserve.
Call a Reliable Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP
If you or your loved one is a victim of a pedestrian accident, call a lawyer right away. They can help you establish your legal rights and ascertain if you have a strong case. Typically, you get a free consultation at no cost to evaluate your case.
Besides, you can speak to your law firm about a contingency fee basis. This means there will be no paid fees unless a claim is paid. Talk to the right team to find out your options, especially if it is obvious that you or your loved ones were hit by a car in a pedestrian crossing.
Do not accept a cheap settlement from an insurance company. Most of the time, those are severely undervalued. Likewise, never accept lowball offers that are more insulting than helpful. You deserve so much more for all the trauma you went through after getting hit by a vehicle.
Should you find yourself in this kind of situation, reach out to our team at Leppler Injury Law. We can help you or your family members file for damages after a pedestrian accident. Do not suffer in silence or endure hardship. Instead, fight for your rights to receive fair compensation because it is what you deserve.