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What to Do When You Get Hit by a Car

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Personal Injury |

Pedestrian Crossing in the Rain. Top View.

After you get hit by a car as a pedestrian, you should take the proper steps to recover medically and financially. You potentially have the option of filing a lawsuit against a negligent driver. Here, you’ll learn about the specific steps to take if a car hits you and causes a pedestrian accident.

What Pedestrians Should Do After Getting Hit by a Car

The following are some of the specific steps to take after a pedestrian accident involving a vehicle:

1. Remain Calm and Move to a Safe Area

The first step is to stay calm and, if necessary, move to an area that’s out of harm’s way. Remaining calm can help you make the right decisions after an accident, including recording key information about the driver and the scene of the accident without risking further injury to yourself.

Once you’ve moved out of the street, you can begin assessing the scene and determine how to proceed. If you sustain serious injuries or injuries that may be more serious than they appear, it’s important to call 911 and request an ambulance.

2. Don’t Allow the Driver to Leave the Scene

Another crucial step is to make sure the driver remains at the scene of the accident. You might not have the power to do so, as the driver may flee the scene immediately after the accident, but ask the driver to remain at the scene if possible.

Also, when speaking with the other driver, never admit fault. You might want to apologize, especially if you think you were at fault for the accident, but you may not be. By admitting fault to any extent, you could compromise a potential pedestrian accident lawsuit or claim.

In addition to the driver, try to keep witnesses at the scene and request them to stay. These individuals will be crucial in relaying the events of the accident to law enforcement in official statements.

3. Contact Law Enforcement

Even if an accident seems minor, it’s often best to call the police. Depending on the circumstances, it may be illegal not to call the authorities.

The police will be able to properly assess the scene and damages and begin generating an official police report. You’ll have the opportunity to share your version of events with the officer with the help of supporting witness statements. You should use this opportunity to be honest and as detailed as you can to establish your side of the story. Having such a record could be invaluable when building a case and proving negligence.

A police report is an essential piece of evidence in many cases involving pedestrian accidents. Without it, you may have a more difficult time proving that the other party was at fault.

4. Gather Details About the Driver and Scene

If you don’t require immediate treatment and an ambulance ride, stay at the scene and begin collecting information about the driver and the accident scene. You should record everything from the driver’s name and contact details to insurance information and license plates.

Additionally, use a phone or camera to capture photos or video footage of the accident, including vehicle damage, injuries, and the surrounding scene. By capturing plenty of footage, you’ll be able to paint a more complete picture of the accident and relay what happened more accurately.

Footage of the accident will ultimately serve as vital evidence when filing a claim or lawsuit.

5. Seek Treatment as Soon as You Can

Following a pedestrian accident, you may sustain injuries that appear minor at first, only to develop into more serious conditions later. Even if your injuries are minor, you may still be able to build a case against a negligent driver.

Waiting too long to receive treatment could be detrimental to your health, and it could make it more difficult to prove that the accident caused your injuries. Insurance companies and defending attorneys may see that you waited for days or weeks after the accident to seek treatment and argue that this shows that the accident wasn’t behind the injuries, or injuries weren’t as serious as you claim.

6. Get in Touch With a Lawyer

Your next step could entail filing a claim against the liable party’s insurance company, but you may benefit from speaking with a lawyer before filing.

In minor accident cases, insurance companies may be more willing to pay a fair settlement, but adjusters typically work to minimize payouts or find any reason they can to deny a claim. Saying the wrong thing or settling for the first offer adjusters make could hurt your case and eliminate the chance of seeking total compensation after a pedestrian accident.

An attorney may be able to review your options and potentially represent you when negotiating with attorneys. He or she may then work to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. An attorney can also detail what to know about pedestrian accidents to help you better understand what your case will involve.

7. Avoid Social Media

Another important step to take after a pedestrian accident is to avoid posting on social media, especially regarding the accident. Any post showing you having fun or otherwise appearing uninjured and unaffected could hurt your case. Insurance investigators and attorneys may be able to see your posts and use them as evidence against you when filing a claim or suit.

Generally, it’s in your best interest to avoid social media altogether during a pending accident case.

What to Do When You Get Hit by a Car That Flees the Scene

Sometimes, pedestrians get into hit-and-run accidents, which occur when the driver flees the scene of the accident. Injury victims still have the ability to hold these drivers accountable with a case if they take the right steps after a hit-and-run.

Capture the Driver’s Details

If possible, you should take a photo of the offending vehicle and license plate, or try to recall the plate number and vehicle details to the best of your ability.

Call the Police

The next step after a hit-and-run would be to notify the authorities immediately. The police may be able to review your photos, CCTV footage, and other evidence to help find the driver. Witnesses may also be able to provide officers with details that help capture the fleeing driver.

File With Your Insurance Company

You may also be able to recover compensation following a hit-and-run if you’re in a state like Illinois, where individuals must carry a degree of uninsured motorist coverage. This auto insurance coverage protects pedestrians and drivers in the event of an accident.

Consult an Attorney

Hit-and-run cases are often more complex than other types of accident cases. As a result, it can be more difficult to recover total compensation unless you know how to find the driver and hold him or her accountable. An attorney may be able to help you identify the offending driver and negotiate a fair settlement following a hit-and-run accident.

How Long Does It Take to Heal After Getting Hit by a Car?

There isn’t a universal timeframe that everyone can expect when it comes to healing after a pedestrian accident. Depending on the nature of your injuries, it can take as little as days to make a full recovery, or you may spend years recovering. Some people may never fully recover due to severe, debilitating injuries.

The potential long-term recovery process makes it important to get started on building a case soon after an accident occurs. Medical bills can quickly add up, and you may need to spend as much as millions on treatment throughout your lifetime. You’ll need to cover these expenses on your own unless you build a case against liable parties.

Types of Compensation in Pedestrian Accident Cases

Liable parties in pedestrian accident cases may need to cover a wide range of expenses, including a mix of economic and non-economic damages.

The following are some of the different types of damages you may be able to recover compensation for in a successful pedestrian accident lawsuit or claim:

Economic Damages

The first type of damage to consider is economic or special. Economic damages are the specific financial losses that victims experience following an accident. They may involve the following types of damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Ongoing care
  • Property damage
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

These damages are often easier to calculate than non-economic damages because they come with set costs.

Non-economic Damages

In addition to economic damages, non-economic or general damages may apply to a pedestrian accident case. While economic damages come with fixed costs, non-economic damages are often less clear because of their intangible nature. These damages pertain to the pain and suffering that victims experience because of an accident.

Physical pain, psychological distress, trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life are some of the different types of non-economic damages that could impact the total settlement amount. While it’s harder to calculate these damages, courts and attorneys may use certain methods to quantify non-economic damages and ensure they count toward a final settlement.

Punitive Damages

If a driver or another party acted with egregious negligence or malicious intent, he or she may also need to pay punitive damages in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Only a judge or jury can award these damages in cases that go to trial. The goal of these damages is to ensure that the negligent party and others don’t commit the same acts in the future.

Wrongful Death Damages

If a pedestrian dies because of the injuries sustained in an accident, the victim’s family may be able to recover compensation for wrongful death damages. These damages could include the economic and non-economic damages the victim sustained leading up to his or her death, along with the damages the family suffers such as loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and burial expenses.

Who Pays Medical Bills After a Pedestrian Accident?

There are several parties who may need to pay medical bills following a pedestrian accident. Poor driving poses a risk to pedestrians, and most pedestrian accidents involve negligent drivers, who are solely liable for the damages that victims sustain.

However, other parties may also be responsible for an accident, depending on the specific circumstances. In addition to or apart from drivers, other liable parties in these accidents could include the owners of vehicles that negligent drivers operate, drivers’ employers, and government agencies that fail to maintain roads, among others.

The pedestrian’s own insurance company may also be able to cover a certain amount of medical bills, but you may be able to file a third-party liability claim against a negligent party’s insurance to collect total compensation.

How Much Is a Pedestrian Accident Case Worth?

As mentioned, there are many potential damages that can factor into a pedestrian accident case. Some individuals sustain minimal injuries, while others may spend the rest of their lives recovering and suffering from disabilities.

Multiple factors will determine how much a pedestrian accident claim or lawsuit is truly worth, and an attorney can take all of these into account when calculating compensation. For instance, the degree of liability, the extent of your injuries, the presence of disabilities, and the pain and suffering you experience will all factor into an accident settlement.

When calculating the compensation you deserve, an attorney will review all the details of your case. He or she will look at medical records and bills, police reports, and other evidence to determine fault and find out how much you stand to recover following an accident. He or she may then begin seeking this compensation with an insurance claim or a lawsuit.

Know What to Do When You Get Hit by a Car

Following any pedestrian accident, knowing what to do when you get hit by a car may help you recover compensation from liable drivers and other parties responsible. The right approach will ensure you can recover for the injuries and other damages you or a loved one sustain.