Getting struck by a vehicle is frightening and dangerous, especially for pedestrians. Pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road because they are less protected and more easily overlooked than cars.
Many pedestrian accidents lead to wrongful death or even vehicular manslaughter cases if the person who was hit died in the collision. But even those who survive typically deal with pain, suffering, and debilitating medical expenses for months, if not years.
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If you are a pedestrian who is hit by a car, follow these steps after an accident has occurred to protect your health, your safety, and your legal rights.
1. Call the police.
Just like any type of accident, it is crucial to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. For one, calling the police will also notify emergency medical personnel to be dispatched to the scene of the accident, so any injured persons involved can begin receiving treatment immediately.
Contacting the police is also necessary from a legal standpoint. Once an officer arrives, all parties involved in the crash will be able to present their sides and get it documented. You will also have to fill out a police report there at the scene of the accident, or later at a nearby police station.
2. Gather general information.
After the authorities have been notified, and if you have determined that no one is seriously injured, try to gather as much basic information as possible about the crash. General information should include:
• Names and contact information of the people involved in the accident,
and any bystanders or eyewitnesses (Note: Do not apologize to or discuss fault
with the other party involved in the accident. What you say and how you act—even
politeness—can be used against you in a future claim)
• Pictures of the accident site and any injuries or damage sustained
• Keep the clothes and other items present at the scene of the accident to be used as future evidence
It is also a good idea to write a brief summary or description of the events that led up to and occurred after the accident. Over time, the memory of the accident can get muddled or lost, so it is imperative to record what occurred as soon as you can in order to accurately recall the incident in the future.
3. Seek medical attention immediately.
Whether you were struck by a car, or were in the car when the accident occurred, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional right away. Even if you believe no serious injury occurred, seeing a doctor or physician is important for both your overall health and in making a compensation claim.
Oftentimes, symptoms of dangerous conditions, like internal bleeding or a concussion, are not evident at first, and get overlooked. Only by seeking medical attention can you be sure that you sustained no serious injuries.
And be sure to keep all paperwork and medical records to be used in the lawsuit.
4. Contact your insurance company.
If you were the driver involved in a pedestrian accident, then contact your insurance carrier immediately to inform them of the incident. They will guide you on what steps to take next.
If you were the pedestrian hit by the vehicle, be ready to answer questions from an adjustor from the driver’s insurance company. Again, do not discuss fault, make any statements, sign any forms, or agree to a settlement without first obtaining legal counsel. Also, request the name, address, and phone number of the insurance company.
5. Obtain legal representation.
Insurance companies frequently try to sidestep compensating victims of pedestrian accidents by claiming negligence, or proposing an unjustly low settlement offer. It is virtually impossible to ensure that you are getting fair compensation for your injuries without the help of a lawyer who has experience in dealing with insurance companies and pedestrian accident cases.
Contact Denver personal injury attorneys at Babcock Law Firm for a no-risk, no-cost consultation. We will never represent insurance companies or corporate America, but instead we work with private citizens to provide the best possible legal representation in Colorado.