I got hit by a car as a pedestrian: The average car weighs over four thousand pounds. Even well below the speed limit, that amount of weight coming your way can result in catastrophic injuries – and too often, an early and painful death. If you’ve been hit by a car, your priority should always be to seek immediate medical attention, no matter how little contact you had with the vehicle.
Car accidents happen every single day – and upwards of a hundred people a day die due to motor vehicle crashes in the US. It’s a car owner’s world, and being a pedestrian often means facing a potential public health hazard on every American road.
As a pedestrian, you also have certain legal advantages when facing a driver. Depending on when and where the accident took place, it may be the driver’s responsibility to keep an eye out for you – which means that, if you’ve been hit by a car and have survived your injuries, chances are that you can successfully seek compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional injuries. Let’s go over the checklist together.
Immediate Steps to Take After Being Hit
If you’ve been hit by a car as a pedestrian and were injured in the process, the first thing to do is dial 911 and call for help. Getting medical attention should be the first thing on your mind. Getting the police on the scene is also important.
Your legal options may very well be the second thing on your mind. Once you’ve received proper emergency care and are cleared to leave, it would be in your best interest to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible. If you were unable to get the driver’s insurance information and legal name due to your injuries, a lawyer may be able to help you track them down and ensure that you’ve gotten the details right. It’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident without giving your information.
Time is of the essence in personal injury cases – the longer you take to seek legal help, the lower the likelihood that your lawyer will be able to collect the necessary evidence and statements to make a case for you and maximize your settlement.
Depending on the circumstances of the event, you may be a little shaken up and may have trouble remembering the details of what happened. It helps to try and write down what happened as soon as you feel safe and able to, and preferably discuss your notes and memories with your lawyer. This is especially important if the driver at fault disappeared or didn’t stick around long enough for the police to appear. Trying to remember everything you can about the car and its driver will help the police find them.
Seek Medical Attention
Whether they drove over your foot or caused major internal harm with a serious collision, medical attention is important to help document the initial injuries, and the extent of the physical damages, and establish the estimated medical costs that stand before you.
A doctor may be able to make a prognosis for your treatment and bill you for emergency care and painkillers, as well as give you an idea of the kind of treatment you might need following a car accident. If your injuries are severe, there may be a need for surgery, post-surgical recovery, physical rehabilitation, and continued medication use.
Scheduling and making your follow-up appointments at the doctor’s office is also important. Documenting your medical costs helps establish the seriousness of your injuries and the financial damages caused by the collision.
Report the Incident
In addition to your lawyer, you will want to ensure you’re in touch with your car and health insurance providers. Many car insurance providers cover pedestrians in the event of a car accident. If your car insurance offers coverage for these accidents, then it’s important that you contact them.
Filing a police report is also important, both to an attorney and to your insurance company. This is another opportunity for you to recount what happened and explain in detail how and why you were hit by a car.
On the other hand, if you are contacted by the insurance company for the driver, do not give a statement without your attorney’s consent. The driver’s insurance company will seek any information they can to try and minimize your settlement or undermine your claim. Seeking legal assistance before the driver’s insurance agent contacts you will help you prepare for future conversations.
Discussing Legal Strategies
Your lawyer will be able to help you set up a case and discuss your options. If you were in a car accident as a pedestrian, you will want to file a personal injury claim. If you and the driver’s insurance or the driver themselves cannot come to an agreement for a settlement, then this can go to civil court.
When looking to settle, it is important to understand what kind of compensation you are entitled to. Legal compensation is awarded for economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages consist of the money the accident cost you. This includes lost wages, medical expenses, and the cost of ongoing treatments, such as pain medication, physical rehab, and follow-up treatments.
Non-economic damages are incurred due to the accident, including emotional damages. Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, impacting your ability to work or function. A car accident can leave you disabled, unable to care for your loved ones, dance with your partner, or even play with your child.
Asking yourself “I got hit by a car as a pedestrian. What’s Next?” The injuries of a car accident can severely impact your quality of life moving forward, and lead to lasting or even lifelong physical consequences. Another common phrase to describe non-economic damages is “pain and suffering”. While it’s close to impossible to put a price tag on that, it is important to stress the impact of both economic and non-economic damages when negotiating a settlement.
Seeking medical and legal help after an accident is crucial, and in that order. If you aren’t sure about your rights as a pedestrian, consider giving us a toll-free call at 800-676-5295 or contacting us at Owen, Patterson & Owen to learn more.