You may be surprised to discover how often pedestrians are injured or even killed in accidents with vehicles. Recently, nearly 5,977 pedestrians died in accidents involving motor vehicles nationwide. Also, 137,000 pedestrians received treatment for injuries in emergency rooms following crashes with passenger vehicles.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pedestrian accident, you know how serious the damage can be. There’s so much to deal with at the accident scene, from making sure you and others are all right and seeking medical care to reporting the accident to the authorities.
But what are the next steps? What are you supposed to do in the days and weeks following your accident?
That’s what we want to cover here. If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, here are the steps you should take in the days following your accident.
Seek Medical Treatment
Above all else, get medical care as soon as you can. If you’re suffering from bleeding, broken bones, or any signs of other injuries, get to an emergency room immediately.
Even if you don’t believe you have injuries, you owe it to yourself to have a doctor check your condition. Many injuries are not evident right away and may take several days or weeks before symptoms appear. You need to make sure you are healthy and on the path to recovery as soon as possible.
Don’t put off getting professional medical care as it could hurt your ability to make claims later. Without a consistent medical history, many insurance adjusters (and juries should your case make it to court) will presume your injuries aren’t that serious. As a result, it could be harder to get financial compensation for damages you may deserve.
Monitor Your Condition
Once you receive medical care and are hopefully on the path to recovery, it’s still a good idea to be mindful of your physical condition. Do you notice any new or unusual symptoms, such as head or body aches? It’s not uncommon for symptoms of trauma to appear even after your initial examination.
Create a folder to keep essential accident records. Include the names and contact information for the driver, witnesses, and anyone else present at the accident scene. Hold on to any pictures of the accident scene and your injuries you may have.
It’s also smart to create a document detailing all the events leading up to and following the accident. Try to remember as much as you can, no matter how trivial the details may seem. Memories fade over time, and it will be harder to recall the key details of your accident months later.
If you missed time at work, it may prove helpful later to have a written statement from your employer regarding lost wages and necessary time off from work.
Of course, you’ll want to keep all medical records from the professional treatment you receive.
Here are some important medical records to save with your other documentation:
- Ambulance and transportation-related records
- Emergency department records
- Diagnostic tests (such as X-rays, MRI’s and CT scans)
- Lab work
- Physician reports
- Medical bills and receipts
- Physical therapy records
Contact Your Own Insurer
While it may not be a good idea to call the driver’s insurer right away (more on that in a moment), you might need to report the accident to your own auto insurance company. Although you were a pedestrian in the accident, if you purchased MedPay it may allow you to file a claim with your own insurance company for at least partial coverage of your medical bills.
Seek Counsel From a Pedestrian Accident Attorney
People often assume that the driver is at fault whenever their vehicle strikes a pedestrian. While that is often true, the law and liability are not always so clear-cut or simple to prove. A pedestrian accident attorney can review the details of your accident and let you know if you have a strong case. This is particularly important if you have serious injuries or financial damages you need to recover, such as medical bills, lost wages from time missed at work, and so on.
Most attorneys offer a free case evaluation of your rights after a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Also, most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. What that means is there are no upfront expenses for attorney fees. You only pay if and when the attorney helps you obtain a recovery on your case.
Having an attorney in your corner could come in handy if your injuries turn out to be more serious than you previously thought and you need expensive medical care or long-term treatment.
If you end up working with an attorney, it’s best to let them handle all communications with the driver’s insurance company. That’s because insurance companies want to resolve accident claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Insurance adjusters may sound friendly on the phone, but you should remember they know to ask you questions designed to get you to say something that damages your case. They almost never have your best interests in mind. For this reason, it’s best to let your attorney handle all correspondence with insurers.
A Note About Lawsuits
Many people are apprehensive about enlisting an attorney or suing the person responsible for their accident. And while it’s true no one should file frivolous lawsuits without merit, it’s important to remember your rights. If you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, you should be compensated for your injuries and not left to cover your medical expenses or other economic losses. On the contrary, the negligent party should be held responsible to pay for the accident and injury-related expenses, including loss of wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
If you are a pedestrian hit by a car, your health is your top priority. Most accidents of this sort result in injuries ranging from bleeding and broken bones to head trauma and serious back injuries. Clearly, medical attention is needed for serious injuries, but you should also see your personal doctor even if you don’t think you sustained an injury. Make sure you have a plan of recovery for your health.
Once you have a plan of recovery, contact a good pedestrian accident lawyer who can help you determine if you have a case to recover financial damages for lost wages, medical bills, and more.