People in the USA love to drive. There are almost 275 million vehicles registered in the country. While the majority of drivers are careful and watch out for pedestrians, accidents still happen. In fact, more than 100,000 people are treated in emergency rooms each year for pedestrian crash-related incidents, not counting the many that aren’t reported, or don’t require medical attention.
As you can imagine, being hit by a vehicle is a shocking and frightening experience. However, there are some important steps you should take if it happens to you.
Try to Stay as Calm as Possible
You have just been hit by a car. It is very likely you are in shock, you could be injured and your heart is racing. The adrenaline will kick in and you may feel a variety of emotions – scared, worried or even angry at the driver. In this moment, it is important to remain as calm as you can, and refrain from lashing out at anyone nearby. Starting a fight with the driver will only lead to a negative outcome, and could put you into more trouble than you need.
First, do a quick head-to-toe check on your body for any injuries. Then, if you can, move to the side of the road to make sure you are safely out of the way of traffic, and then further assess any areas of concern. Take a few deep breaths to gather your thoughts and plan what you are going to do next. It can be difficult to communicate effectively if you are in hysterics, so take a moment to try and calm down. Call the police, if they haven’t been called already.
Keep the Driver There and Collect Information
If you are able to, it is helpful to try and keep the driver at the scene of the accident. Even if you feel okay, it’s important to have the driver present when the police arrive. In cases where the driver attempts to offer a settlement on the spot or asks to leave, ask the driver to stay put until the police have arrived and taken statements. Adrenaline may mask any pain you have, so do not say you are fine and let the driver go. If you feel the driver is going to flee the scene, try and get a picture of the license plate. If the driver is cooperating, collect his insurance and license information and document any injuries and all the details from the scene with your phone camera.
Seek Medical Assistance
Once the incident has been reported, be sure to go to a medical professional for an assessment. Many injuries are not noticeable until some time after the incident, so a thorough check up is a good idea. A doctor can check for any potential muscular or head injuries you may not be aware of until afterwards, not to mention help you understand what to watch out for in the coming days. After a traumatic experience, it can be a hassle to make the trip to the doctor’s office, but a timely visit is important for the outcome of your case.
Obviously, if your injuries are more serious, a more thorough trip to the hospital will be necessary. If you were unconscious after the accident, it’s likely a bystander or the driver called for help. In that case, try and remember as many details as you can about the accident and the injuries you are experiencing. Also take care of your health and wellbeing after the incident. If you begin to suffer from symptoms of PTSD or other emotional issues related to the accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist or a counsellor for help.
Reach Out to a Lawyer
Once you have your immediate injuries and physical well-being taken care of, it is a good idea to reach out to a lawyer. Take this step before you reach out to your insurance company or accept any calls from the other driver’s insurance company. Choose an accident lawyer with a good reputation, with experience in dealing with personal injuries.
They will be able to help you learn and understand what you can and cannot take legal action for. For example, you generally won’t be able to be compensated for a pre-existing condition, unless it was aggravated by the accident. Knowing this type of information will help you correctly value your claim or the potential legal action to take.
The insurance company of the driver may offer a settlement, or deny a claim. Having an experienced lawyer on your side will ensure you are compensated adequately, and that your legal rights are completely protected.
We hope the information in this article was helpful to you, in case you ever find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of being hit by a car as a pedestrian.