Being hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian can be a shocking and traumatic event. Even if your injuries seem minor, there are important steps you need to take after an accident to protect your health, safety, rights, and finances. This article will provide practical advice on what to do immediately after an accident, how to get medical help, report the incident properly, handle legal and insurance issues, and ultimately recover both physically and emotionally. We aim to empower you with knowledge so you can make the best choices after an unfortunate collision.
Immediately After the Accident
Finding yourself suddenly struck by a car can cause panic and confusion. Once you are able to assess the situation after impact, try to remain as calm as possible. Take stock of your injuries before attempting to move or get up. If you believe you may have broken bones, back/neck injuries or other trauma, do not change positions or stand up. Wait for professional medical personnel to properly immobilize you. Even cuts and bruises can worsen if you are moved without proper precautions. Assess the environment around you and if you are in danger where you are, try to crawl or slowly scoot away from immediate hazards if possible. Calling 911 should be your top priority after an initial injury check. Provide details on your location and condition to dispatchers. Police and ambulance services will be sent to assist. While waiting for help, avoid moving around excessively. Only get up if you can do so safely without worsening pain or injuries. If you are able to stand and walk around, get yourself fully out of the roadway and onto a sidewalk or safe waiting area. The scene may still be chaotic, and you do not want to risk getting struck again by a distracted driver. As you are able, try to write down or memorize details about the driver that hit you and their vehicle. Information like the license plate, make/model, driver description and contact details are crucial for insurance and police reports. If you have a mobile phone or camera available, attempt to take photos documenting the scene, vehicle, license plate, and your injuries. Do not assume the driver will wait for police or medical services to arrive. Their information is essential.
At the Scene with Police/Paramedics
Once emergency personnel arrive, you will need to recount details on what happened and cooperate fully with any medical assessments and transportation. When speaking with police officers about the accident, stick to just the facts about what happened from your perspective. Do not speculate on causes or who may be at fault. Honesty is key during any statements made on the record. If you do not know details or cannot remember parts of the incident clearly, say so. Make sure to get full contact information and badge numbers for all police officers on scene who file reports. This will help tremendously later when seeking copies of official documents. Let medical personnel examine you and provide details about all areas of pain or concern. Often adrenaline will be pumping after a collision and you may not be fully aware of all injuries yet. Denying transport to a hospital against medical advice is generally not recommended – always opt to get thoroughly evaluated. The kinds of tests and scans done at emergency rooms can uncover internal bleeding, fractures, organ damage, and brain trauma that may not be evident just after an accident. Having a complete medical record from the start of treatment will also strengthen any future injury claims.
Seek Medical Treatment
Hopefully emergency responders have transported you to receive prompt hospital care immediately after the accident. If not, visiting an emergency room or your doctor should be done as soon as possible after any pedestrian collision. Describing all of your symptoms and pains is critical, even those you think are minor like cuts, bruises, scrapes, stiffness or headache. A thorough exam and testing can uncover the full extent of trauma. You may be advised to get x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or other imaging to diagnose any underlying injuries. Listen to physician recommendations regarding prescription medications, follow up appointments, and treatment options. Ask specific questions about your prognosis and expected recovery timeframe so you can plan accordingly. In some cases, treatment like surgery, physical therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, orthotics devices, or other interventions may be presented. Always educate yourself about the pros and cons of any medical procedures before consenting. If you are uncertain or uncomfortable with any aspect of care, it is perfectly acceptable to request a second opinion from another trusted doctor.
Report the Accident
There are several important entities that need to be notified about your pedestrian accident to begin handling matters properly. First, make sure an official report is filed with the police department that responded to the scene. If officers did not write up paperwork on site, visit the local precinct with jurisdiction in the area the collision took place to file. These reports are critical for documenting vital details like vehicle, driver and witness statements, as well as assignment of fault. Next, your own auto insurance provider (and health insurance provider if applicable) should be contacted and given notice about the accident and injuries. Insurance agents can walk you through recommended steps and coverage options given the specifics of your policy. Make sure to ask about any time sensitive notifications that may be required. Also request copies of any paperwork generated by the claims process. If police officers did not supply you directly with accident report documents, follow up with the records department to acquire your own copies (often for a small administrative fee). These will contain contact information for all involved parties which will be needed when coordinating with attorneys, adjusters, and more.
Handle Insurance and Legal Claims
One of the most daunting parts of being injured as a pedestrian is navigating financial and legal hurdles. With severe injuries, the bills can pile up quickly between hospital visits, procedures, rehabilitation services and missed wages. Reaching out early to the insurance company of the driver who hit you is wise to get their process started. Provide your recorded statement of events and inquire what other evidence or documentation may be needed to determine fault and settle claims. This is generally when the assistance of a personal injury law firm becomes invaluable. They understand the laws, timeline, required evidence, and reasonable settlement amounts for your particular state. An initial consultation is often free, after which lawyers work on contingency and take a percentage of any final insurance award or lawsuit judgement. Hiring legal counsel ensures you have an advocate fighting for your best interests every step of the way. Be sure to keep diligent records related to accident expenses, missed work, rehabilitation costs and all medical appointments. These will strengthen the validity of the losses being claimed. Depending on factors like severity of injuries, insurance cooperation and settlement offers, you may ultimately need to take legal action and file a personal injury lawsuit. This will require patience, but perseverance in seeking fair compensation is important.
Healing physically and emotionally after a pedestrian accident takes time and self-care. Strictly follow all recommendations from your medical team, even if it means significant lifestyle changes for a period. Taking the appropriate time off work or school to rest and attend appointments will aid recovery. Speak with employers or faculty about your limitations and time away needs. Be honest about your challenges surrounding mobility, concentration, energy levels or other symptoms. It is better to take things slow initially rather than risk reinjury or aggravation of trauma. Emotionally, don’t minimize the distress that can come with severe injuries. Anxiety, depression and sleeplessness are common. Seeking counseling or joining a support group with others who have suffered similar accidents can provide needed comfort during the healing journey. Recovery is a gradual process, requiring dedication and patience. But taking the right steps outlined in this article will help you claim the financial assistance entitled to victims, as well as emerge positively empowered by your experience.
Prevent Future Accidents
While no pedestrians deserve to be injured by negligent drivers, there are defensive techniques we all can practice to reduce risks when walking near traffic. Choosing routes with sidewalks and crossing signals is always preferable to less protected areas when possible. At night or in low visibility, wear bright or reflective clothing to stand out. Arm bands, hats, and shoes now come in high visibility colors and materials perfect for walking or running. Carrying flashlights or attaching lights to yourself also helps drivers see and avoid you in darkness. Familiarize yourself with pedestrian laws in your state and do not jaywalk or cross mid-block haphazardly. This leads to dangerous situations drivers cannot anticipate. Always establish eye contact with motorists before crossing streets and keep looking both ways as you proceed. Avoid distraction from mobile phones or headphones while near traffic – make paying attention your top priority. In neighborhoods with excessive speeding issues, organizing a petition for speed bumps or other traffic calming measures can help. Lobbying city officials for more pedestrian friendly infrastructure like crosswalks, barriers, signage and lighting encourages safety across your whole community. We hope the advice provided here minimizes the likelihood you will ever need it. But this information will empower you to act wisely if an accident should occur. Stay alert out there!
Being struck as a pedestrian is a frightening matter with serious consequences. However, you now have the key facts needed to make the best choices following an incident. Staying calm and getting medical assistance promptly is vital. Cooperate with investigative authorities but know your rights in providing statements. Seek both medical and legal guidance to ensure complete care and adequate financial compensation for your losses. Healing physically while fighting for your rights takes perseverance through an arduous process. But we hope the road map provided here will help you navigate any difficult days ahead successfully. Remember that with proper treatment, time, support and advocacy, you can recover and come through this challenge stronger than before.