Whether exercising, enjoying a leisurely stroll, or traveling to or from work, walking is a simple yet essential activity that many of us engage in daily. However, the unfortunate reality is that pedestrians can be vulnerable on the streets, especially when involved in accidents with vehicles. If you’ve found yourself in the distressing situation of getting hit by a car while walking, understanding the immediate steps to take is crucial. This blog will guide you through the necessary actions and legal considerations to ensure you protect your rights and well-being.
Commons Causes of Vehicle-Pedestrian Accidents
You should be able to walk on the appropriate areas of the road without worrying about being struck by a vehicle. Unfortunately, drivers do not always take care while behind the wheel and may make irresponsible decisions that put other vehicles and pedestrians in danger. These include:
- Ignoring speed limits: Drivers exceeding speed limits may lack sufficient time to stop or maneuver when encountering pedestrians. High-speed impacts can result in severe, sometimes fatal injuries to pedestrians.
- Driving under the influence: Impaired drivers struggle to react promptly to sudden situations, often failing to notice pedestrians on the road or sidewalk.
- Rollover accidents: A vehicle that overturns may end up on sidewalks or other pedestrian-populated areas, escalating the risk of injury.
- Driver fatigue: Tired drivers can be as hazardous as intoxicated ones. Fatigue hampers reaction times, impairs decision-making, and may even lead to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
Immediate Actions After the Accident
Probably in disbelief, your mind may be racing as you think, “I got hit by a car while walking.” While you may be in shock, your actions immediately following the accident are important.
Safety first: Focus on your safety and the safety of others involved. Move to a safe location if possible, away from oncoming traffic.
Call for medical assistance: Seek medical attention immediately, even if your injuries seem minor. Your body was hit by a car. There may be injuries you don’t see. Calling for an ambulance or going to the emergency room ensures a proper evaluation of your condition and creates a medical record, which can be essential for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
Document the scene: If you’re physically able, document the accident scene. Take photos of the vehicles involved, your injuries, and any relevant road conditions. Collect witness contact information, if available.
Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver involved. Note the vehicle’s license plate number and make and model. If there are witnesses, collect their information as well.
Do not admit fault: Avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be construed as an admission of guilt. Stick to the facts when discussing the incident with the police, medical professionals, or the other party involved.
Seeking Legal Guidance
After addressing immediate concerns, consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in pedestrian accidents. Legal professionals can provide guidance on your specific situation, help determine liability, and advise on the best course of action.
Understand your rights: Familiarize yourself with your legal rights as a pedestrian. Your attorney will share that pedestrians have rights and may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more economic and non-economic damages.
Insurance coverage: Explore the insurance coverage available. You have options including the potential coverage from your health insurance, the driver’s insurance, or even your own auto insurance policy, depending on the circumstances.
Medical records and documentation: Keeping detailed medical records is crucial. Document your injuries, medical treatments, and associated costs. This documentation strengthens your case for seeking compensation.
Statute of limitations: Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. In Indiana, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. Failing to meet these deadlines could jeopardize your ability to seek compensation.
Comparative Negligence and Insurance Coverage
Comparative negligence stipulates that if you share partial fault for an accident, your compensation will be proportionally reduced based on your percentage of fault. In such instances, your pedestrian accident attorney will collect evidence to establish negligence to help support your case.
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) comes into play.
Here’s how UM/UIM coverage can be instrumental in the context of a pedestrian accident:
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage: In cases where the at-fault driver lacks auto insurance, your UM coverage (if applicable) steps in to compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Essentially, UM coverage serves as a substitute for the absent liability coverage of the at-fault driver.
Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage: If the at-fault driver has insurance, but the policy limits fall short of covering your total damages, your UIM coverage will fill in the gaps between the at-fault driver’s insurance limits and the actual cost of your injuries and losses.
Moving Forward After Your Accident
If you were hit by a car while walking, the steps you take immediately following the accident are crucial, but your actions in the weeks and months following the incident are important as well.
Follow medical advice: Comply with medical treatments and follow your healthcare provider’s advice for recovery. Adhering to medical recommendations not only aids your recovery but also strengthens your case by demonstrating your commitment to healing. This ensures you aren’t giving the at-fault party’s insurance company any reason to discredit your injury claim.
Keep records: Continue to keep records of all expenses related to the accident, including medical bills, therapy costs, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. This comprehensive documentation supports your compensation claim and gives you the best chance at a fair settlement.
Stay informed: Stay informed about your case’s progress. Regular communication with your attorney ensures you are aware of any developments, negotiations, or court proceedings related to your claim.
Trust Crossen Law Firm for Your Pedestrian Accident Claim
Getting hit by a car while walking is a traumatic experience with potential long-term consequences. Contact the pedestrian accident attorneys at Crossen Law Firm to discuss the details of your accident and help you determine the appropriate next steps. You deserve representation from an experienced legal team that makes it a priority to help injured clients recover the maximum possible compensation.
Call 317-401-8626 for a free consultation or contact us online.