Many people enjoy living in an area where they can easily get around without having to get into a car. Traveling by foot allows pedestrians to get exercise, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money on gas and vehicle maintenance. But unfortunately, it’s not the safest form of travel.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 5,000 to 6,000 pedestrians are killed by negligent drivers every year. The CDC also reports that over 129,000 pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries every year. These statistics indicate that pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in the U.S. If you are ever involved in this type of accident, it’s important to know what to do to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
Either call 9-1-1 or ask someone nearby to place the call on your behalf immediately after a pedestrian accident. Let the dispatcher know your location and what happened so they know which authorities to send to the scene. If you or someone else is seriously injured, ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance. If no one is seriously injured, you will still need to call 9-1-1 to ask the dispatcher to send a police officer to the scene. This ensures the events of the incident are documented in an official police report.
Treat Your Injuries
Most pedestrians receive emergency medical assistance at the scene. But, if you did not receive medical attention at the scene, it’s important to head to a doctor’s office or hospital immediately after leaving. This is advised for all injured pedestrians—regardless of how minor the injuries seem. Adrenaline floods your body after an accident, and this hormone has the power to mask pain. As a result, some pedestrians do not experience pain or other symptoms until hours or days later when the adrenaline has finally left their system. By this time, the injuries could have worsened and become more difficult to treat, so waiting is not recommended.
That’s not the only reason you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Injured pedestrians often file personal injury claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance company so they can recover compensation for their injuries. But, the insurance company will need to see proof of your injuries before they hand over the money. Without medical records, there’s no way for you to prove that the injuries exist and that they were sustained in the accident. Seek medical attention right away, then hold onto the records so you can present them to the insurance company when the time is right.
Personal injury attorneys recommend gathering evidence at the scene of the accident unless it is physically impossible because of your injuries. Taking pictures is the best way to document evidence, so use your cell phone’s camera to start snapping photos. Be sure to capture the car that collided with you, the traffic signs in the area, the vehicle’s property damage, debris in the road, and anything else that could be related to the accident. There’s no harm in taking a lot of pictures, so take as many photos as possible.
You will also need to speak with other people at the scene of the accident before leaving. Make contact with the driver involved in the accident so you can obtain their insurance information. Keep the conversation short—it’s not a good idea to talk about what happened or how you are feeling.
People who witness pedestrian accidents often stay close to see if anyone needs help. If witnesses are still around, ask them for their contact information as well. They could have seen the driver acting negligently prior to crashing into you, which will strengthen your personal injury case. You don’t need to get into the details of what they saw just yet, but you should tell them that someone will be in touch soon to discuss what happened.
Another way to document evidence is to keep a journal where you can write about your recovery. Use your journal to discuss how the injuries have affected your life. Are you in pain? Are you able to work? How have the injuries affected your ability to engage in your favorite activities? Answer these questions in each journal entry so you have evidence of the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your injuries.
Find An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
It is strongly recommended that you hire a personal injury attorney to assist with your claim after a pedestrian accident. You will need to find an attorney who has experience handling cases involving pedestrian accidents. You also need to look for an attorney with a history of securing compensation for their clients. It’s best to schedule consultations with a handful of attorneys so you can ask each of them questions and learn more about their practice before making a final decision.
Meet with the attorney you hire to discuss the accident in more detail. You will need to provide the attorney with copies of the evidence so they have everything they need to prove liability and negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney will most likely reach a settlement with the insurance company outside of the courtroom. However, there’s a small chance your case will go to trial. Either way, the right attorney will do whatever it takes to ensure you are fully compensated.
If you have been hit by a car while walking, contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, & Rowley as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are committed to helping pedestrians recover as much compensation as possible for their injuries. Let us fight tirelessly for compensation while you focus on recovering from your injuries.