Being in a pedestrian collision can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. Whether you were the pedestrian or the driver, you may be facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, or a large repair bill. Knowing what to do after being involved in a pedestrian accident can help you when you seek compensation. There are a few steps to take if you are involved in a pedestrian accident.
Get Medical Treatment
Whether you were the driver or the pedestrian, it is critical to seek medical care immediately. Often, the adrenaline from an accident can mask pain and injuries. For example, you may not see any obvious injuries right after the accident, but you might later develop persistent elbow pain from hitting your vehicle’s airbags.
It is critical that you seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible after the accident, even if you think your injuries are minor. Getting necessary medical treatment also provides essential evidence when filing your claim. Some of the most common injuries in a pedestrian accident include:
- Broken bones,
- Spinal injuries,
- Head trauma,
- Soft tissue injuries,
- Puncture wounds, and
- Heart injuries.
If you have sustained any of the above injuries, call 911 or get to a doctor as soon as possible.
Call Police Officers for an Accident Report
You should call the police so that an officer can respond to the scene. The responding officer will file an official report. The information in that report can be extremely helpful when it comes time to deal with insurance companies or the party who caused the accident. An accident report will typically document the following:
- Circumstances that contributed to the accident,
- A diagram of the accident and where it occurred;
- Light and weather conditions at the time;
- Road characteristics and other safety factors;
- Property damage to the vehicle;
- Contact information for witnesses; and
- The date, time, and location of the crash.
You can even request copies of crash reports online in many states. It’s a good idea to ask the responding officer for the report number so that you or your attorney can more easily obtain a copy.
Gather some initial evidence at the accident scene if it is feasible and safe for you to do so. This includes collecting some of the following:
- Photos of crosswalks,
- Pictures of any injuries you have,
- Images of damage to the vehicle,
- Names and phone numbers of witnesses, and
- Your clothes.
You should save the clothes you were wearing when the accident happened because they can be useful pieces of evidence. Store them in a safe place, and make sure you do not change their condition in any way.
Request Contact Information
You should get the name, phone number, and other contact information of all the parties involved in the accident. Try to get their name from their driver’s license or a government-issued identification card if possible. If the other person was driving a vehicle, you will also need to get their license plate number and insurance information.
Avoid Discussions of Fault
When stress is running high, and your adrenaline is pumping, it can be hard to know what to do if you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian. One of the most important things to remember is to never admit or even talk about your fault at the accident scene. This is because the other side can use what you say to them or the police against you later on.
Discussing fault includes apologies made to the other party, even if you only meant to make a polite remark. When talking to the other parties involved in the accident, stick to only exchanging contact and insurance information. When talking to the police, recount the facts and do not make any remarks that could be interpreted as you assuming fault for the collision.
Additionally, avoid posting anything about the crash on social media pages.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Finally, you will need to call your insurance company, preferably on the same day of the accident. This will allow you to find out what you need to do to start the claims process. If your company has a mobile application, you can use that to contact your insurance provider. Contacting your insurance provider also lets you access any benefits you might have, such as a towing service if your car cannot be driven after the accident.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Pedestrian accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons these collisions occur include the following:
- Inexperienced drivers,
- School zone speeding,
- Driving under the influence,
- Traffic violations,
- Texting and driving, and
- Driving while distracted.
An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate your accident to determine what caused it and who is liable for your damages.
What Damages Could I Recover?
If you were in a pedestrian accident, you might be able to recover damages for several different types of expenses and losses. Damages you might be able to recover compensation for include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills,
- Prescription medication,
- Assistive devices,
- Diagnostic tests,
- Property damage,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
State law will determine the exact types of losses you can be compensated for. A personal injury attorney can explain the damages you are eligible to receive and can help you identify and calculate all of your damages.
Why You Need a Lawyer If You’re Involved in a Pedestrian Accident
After an accident, you might receive a settlement offer from a defendant or insurance company. While it may be tempting to accept an initial offer when you’re facing medical bills and lost wages, it’s important to know that these offers are often for less than what your claim is actually worth. An experienced attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to help you get the best settlement possible.
A lawyer will also be able to investigate the accident and gather evidence that can help make your claim stronger, even if you weren’t able to gather evidence at the accident scene. A lawyer can also help you calculate your damages so that you only accept a settlement that you believe fairly compensates you. If the insurance company doesn’t offer you a fair settlement, your lawyer can help you understand your legal options and help you file a lawsuit.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You
At Gerling Law, we realize how stressful a pedestrian accident can be for you and your family. Our award-winning attorneys are here to fight for you at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. With over 50 years of experience and over $500 million in compensation recovered for our clients, we know what it takes to get you justice. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.