Know Your Rights: Important Steps to Follow as a Pedestrian Hit By a Car
Every year, thousands of pedestrians in the United States are killed in traffic accidents. Hundreds of thousands of more are treated in emergency rooms for non-fatal injuries.
Have you recently been in an accident as a pedestrian hit by a car? If so, you’re probably wondering what your legal rights are.
Not sure where to go from here or what kind of settlement you’re entitled to? Keep reading for answers to all your legal questions.
Immediately After the Accident
Immediately after the accident occurs, you should call the police, take photographs of the scene, and take photographs of the car that hit you, if you are able to do so.
Do whatever you can to keep the at-fault driver on the scene, too.
If there are any witnesses around, you should also get their names. Then, call your insurance company and let them know about the accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
It’s also important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after you’ve been hit by a car.
If you’re experiencing severe pain or obvious injuries like broken bones or bleeding, you should go to the emergency room. Even if you don’t have any severe injuries, you should still visit a doctor. Make an appointment with your primary care provider as soon as you can. It can be overwhelming trying to schedule appointments after you’ve experienced a traumatic event, but it’s crucial that you get in to see a doctor right away.
If you delay making an appointment with a medical professional, insurance adjusters (and juries, for that matter) will assume that you didn’t seek medical care because you weren’t actually injured. This can make it harder for you to get the compensation you’re entitled to after the accident.
Obtain and Keep Accurate Records
Be sure to save all the documents from your medical visits, too. Some specific records that are especially important to keep include:
- Injury-related diagnostic records
- Emergency medical service records (ambulance expenses, paramedic expenses, etc.)
- Emergency room records
- Test results and lab reports
- Medical reports from your physician
- Medical bill receipts
- Physical therapy records
It’s also important to make sure you’re hanging onto other records related to your accident, including the following:
- Pictures of your injuries and how they’re progressing
- The police report from the accident
- Pictures of the accident scene and the car that hit you
- Witness statements
- Driver’s statements
- A written statement from your employer about lost wages and time that is taken off work
- Weather reports from the time of the accident
You may also want to do some research into your state’s traffic laws. Then, print out sections of the law that relate to your claims.
Do You Have a Case?
Most of the time, the assumption when a pedestrian has been hit by a car is that the driver is at fault. Often, this is the case. But, sometimes, things aren’t as clear-cut.
Are you unsure about whether or not you have a case? Are you on the fence about hiring a lawyer after being hit by a car? If so, consider whether or not the following factors apply:
Did the Driver Violate Traffic Laws?
Drivers have a duty of care when they’re out on the road. This means that they’re responsible for abiding by traffic laws and looking out for pedestrians.
If the driver violated a traffic law (they were speeding, they ignored a stop sign, etc.), they are almost always going to be considered liable for the accident and are required to compensate you for your injuries.
Were You Injured?
If you were injured as a result of the accident, you’ll likely be able to pursue a personal injury claim and obtain a personal injury settlement. Often, an agreement about your settlement can be reached outside of court.
Sometimes, though, you need to take the issue to civil court. If you do this, you’ll need to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your case.
Taking Legal Action as a Pedestrian Hit by a Car
If you’ve decided to take legal action after being hit by a car, there are two different types of claims you can make: a claim against the driver or a claim against the municipality in which the accident occurred.
Making a Claim Against the Driver
If you want to make a claim against the driver, you’ll need to work with an attorney to file a claim against them.
In order to do this, you’ll need the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information. Then, you can contact the driver’s insurance company to file a claim and report the accident.
Your attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure you receive the damages to which you’re entitled. An attorney will also make sure you have the information required to prove fault.
Making a Claim Against a Municipality
If the cause of your accident is something like a broken traffic light or a poorly placed crosswalk, you may be able to file a claim for negligence against the municipality in which your accident occurred.
If any of these issues contributed to your accident, ask your attorney if they think you have a case against the municipality. They can help you decide whether or not you should take this approach.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been in an accident as a pedestrian hit by a car, you’re entitled to medical care and compensation.
In order to get what you deserve, it’s important to seek the help of a personal injury lawyer who will hold the at-fault driver accountable. If you live in or around the Dallas, Fort Worth, or Brownsville areas and have recently been in an accident, The Benton Law Firm can help. Contact us today at (214) 219-4878 for a free case evaluation. We’ll help you determine the best course of action moving forward.