Every year, thousands of pedestrians are struck by cars. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 5,987 pedestrians killed in traffic accidents across the U.S. during 2016. That averages out to 1 pedestrian death in auto accidents every 1.5 hours.
There were another 129,000 pedestrians who sought care in emergency rooms for injuries suffered in crash-related accidents that same year. While any pedestrian can be injured, older adults 65 and older accounted for about 20% of all pedestrian deaths and 15% of pedestrian injuries during 2016.
If you are hit by a car, you should try to remain calm. Of course, anyone would be upset after having been struck by a vehicle. Move yourself out of the street to a safe area. You should keep the driver on the accident scene and don’t let him or her leave.
Even if you are unarmed, you should work diligently to keep the driver on the scene, but if you feel threatened by the driver, just get as much information as you can so the police officers can track him or her down.
In that case, get a description of the driver and the vehicle as well as the tag number and the direction of travel. Jot down details about the accident while it is still fresh in your memory. The more detailed information that you have, the more likely you are to succeed with your case and get compensated for your damages.
You are out enjoying the weather during a nice daytime walk. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a car veers off its course and hits you. Or perhaps you are crossing a crosswalk and the driver of a vehicle isn’t paying attention and accelerates into you trying to navigate the intersection.
Regardless the scenario, being hit by a car when walking is never a pleasant experience and it oftentimes leads to severe injuries that then lead to unexpected medical bills and treatments. The medical expenses that you are suddenly faced with can quickly cause your finances to spiral out of control.
Are You Eligible For a PI Claim If You Were Hit By a Car?
If you were hit by a car while walking, it’s likely you’ll have significant medical bills and be unable to work for an extended period of time. It is possible for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering to be paid for by the driver’s insurance company by filing a personal injury claim.
With any luck, the driver of the car stayed at the scene if you were hit by a car. If you were hit by a car and the drive left the scene, you’ll need to call 911 as soon as possible even if you don’t believe you were injured to report the hit and run. It can be hard to win a personal injury claim even if you were hit by a car, so you should always speak with a personal injury lawyer if you have any questions on your rights as a pedestrian.
Gather Evidence From The Accident Scene
If you have been hit as a pedestrian, you should gather as much evidence as possible. You will need evidence and documentation to support your claim, so you can prove what happened, how it happened, and that the driver was negligent.
To have a successful personal injury claim, you must prove negligence. All four elements of negligence must be met. You can prove negligence with evidence and documentation.
Always stay on the scene of the accident and call the police. Even if you initially believe injuries are minor, call the police and have an accident report completed. The accident report can help you establish your personal injury claim and show that the accident did happen, what happened, and how it happened.
The responding officer will investigate the accident and confirm that you have injuries. Without an accident report, it can be challenging to prove that you were injured as a pedestrian.
If you are physically able to do so, get photos of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicle, and your physical injuries. You will need to collect information from the driver, including his or her insurance details, their name and contact information, the car’s license plate number, and a description of the vehicle.
Ask any witnesses to provide you with written statements. Witness statements can be very beneficial to your claim and can help you prove liability. You should also get the names of any witnesses along with their contact details.
Seek medical care right away. You must show that there is a casual connection between your injuries and the accident. To do this, you will need to establish medical care right away. If your injuries are serious, call an ambulance.
That way you can get the care you need right away. If your injuries aren’t as serious, then you should still seek treatment the same day. That will show that your injuries were directly caused by being hit by a car as a pedestrian.
You will need to maintain thorough documentation, which will include your medical records, medical bills, proof of missed work and lost wages, and any other evidence that you can gather, such as the photos, witness statements, and so forth.
Your personal injury lawyer will help you gather the necessary documentation to support your claim and to show what damages you suffered as a result of the accident.
Common Injuries Faced by Pedestrians Who Are Hit By Cars
It is not uncommon for a pedestrian who has been hit by a car to face multiple injuries, some of them often severe. The injuries most commonly associated with being hit by a car involve primary injuries, which are the injuries that are incurred at the site of impact. For example, a leg broken by where the car hit you would be considered a primary injury.
There are also secondary injuries, however, that can occur with such accidents that are not a result from the car impacting your body directly, but are a result of the accident nonetheless. Secondary injuries can be just as serious as primary injuries. For example, if the car hit you and broke your leg, the broken leg would be the primary injury. If the resulting impact threw you five feet and broke your arm upon landing, the broken arm would be a secondary injury.
Injuries common to those who have been hit by a car when walking include:
- Scalp lacerations
- Abrasions of the skin
- Broken and fractured bones
- Brain swelling
- Sprained ligaments
- Torn ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries
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It is crucial to determine fault when you are hit by a car when walking, as the outcome of the situation will be very different when a pedestrian is at fault versus when the driver of the vehicle is at fault. For example, if a pedestrian is at fault he or she will be responsible for their own medical expenses and the driver of the car may even litigate against the pedestrian for any damages he or she incurred.
Occasions where the pedestrian was at fault may include jaywalking or walking outside of a sidewalk, crossing against a traffic signal (such as crossing against a Do Not Walk command), or walking in areas where pedestrians are prohibited.
On the other hand, if the driver is at fault, the pedestrian may be able to collect damages from the driver including damages for medical bills as well as damages for pain and suffering.
Notify The Driver’s Insurance Company
You will need to call the driver’s insurance company and file a claim. This will get the personal injury claims process started. You will then need to document all related expenses, including medical bills.
You should maintain documentation of transportation to and from your medical appointments, so keep receipts for taxis, rideshare, or bus fares. If you are driving yourself, keep track of your mileage as you can ask to be reimbursed for that as well.
As previously mentioned, document missed work and lost wages. You will need to make copies of any medical excuses written by your physician that indicates you are unable to work because of your injuries.
It can be helpful to keep a journal that details your progress daily and that details your limitations and restrictions as well as your pain level and any changes in your injury. The more supporting documentation that you have for your claim, the more likely you are to succeed.
If you have been hit as a pedestrian, you should enlist the help of a personal injury attorney who is licensed in your state. With the help of an accident injury lawyer, you are much more likely to recover compensation for your damages.
Your attorney will be familiar with state laws and will make sure your claim is filed in a timely manner. Every state has a statute of limitations, and if you wait too long to file your claim, you will not be able to recover damages.
Filing a Claim against a Driver
If you have been hit by a car when walking and the driver was at fault, it is important that you properly file a claim against the driver so you can collect on the damages you are entitled to. The first thing you need to do is get the driver’s name and contact information at the time of the accident, along with his or her insurance information. If your injuries are so severe that you are not able to obtain this information on your own, ask a friend or a police officer to obtain it for you.
Once you are able to, contact the driver’s insurance company to report the accident and file a claim. You should also contact your insurance company to report the accident at this time. You will then want to go about proving that the accident was the result of the driver’s negligence, as were your injuries. If you do not have proof of fault, your claim will not be successful. Witnesses can often be key in determining fault in an accident, as can police reports taken immediately after the accident occurred.
Oftentimes it is best to get an attorney involved in the claim to ensure that you receive all of the damages you are entitled to and that your claim has the best possible chance of success, as an attorney will know exactly what is needed to prove fault and to determine what damages should be sought out.