It’s easy to forget how deadly motor vehicles can be. While car crashes are problematic in and of themselves, they’re often even more devastating when they involve pedestrians. If you have been involved in such an incident, you can find your life radically changed in just a moment. While it might be hard to act in the moment, it’s always a good idea to know what you should do. Below is a brief guide of the steps to take if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian.
Get Medical Help
The most important place to start is with your health – you really can’t deal with any of the following steps unless you get your injuries taken care of. As such, it’s very important to stop and assess yourself before you move forward. There might be some accidents from which you can walk away, but don’t be afraid to get help when it’s necessary.
Start with a simple self-assessment – are there any obvious injuries that need immediate attention? If so, those need to be treated right away. If there are not obvious injuries, it might be reasonable for you to stay around the scene of the accident for a bit longer. Even if you’re not convinced that you have been injured, it’s generally a good idea to follow up with a physician. Some injuries remain hidden until later, while others might not be apparent because of the spike of adrenaline that happens after the accident.
Regardless of anything else, your health is something that you can’t replace. Getting medical attention right away can both help to save your life and help you to establish a case later. Make sure to get any paperwork that was generated at the hospital or by your physician after your visit.
When things go as you should, your next step is to get information from the person who hit you. He or she should stop his or her vehicle, check to see if you are okay and try to assist you from that moment forward. If this occurs, it’s vital that you get his or her insurance information – even if the other party insists that he or she will take care of things without involving insurance companies or the police.
This is what happens in an ideal situation, though – you may find yourself dealing with a situation in which the other party is uncooperative or in which he or she has chosen to flee the scene. If this occurs, your job is to make sure that you retain as much information about the vehicle that hit you as possible. You’ll use this in conjunction with the other evidence that you’ve gathered to help hold that person responsible.
Remember, getting contact and insurance information doesn’t mean that you’re greedy or that you’re planning to sue the other party. It does, however, mean that you are planning to hold him or her responsible. Having this information is a good first step towards resolving any injuries that may have occurred.
Call the Authorities
Your next step has to be contacting the appropriate authorities. Once you have determined the extent of your own injuries, you’ll need to make a few relevant calls. Calling 911 is generally a good idea if you are injured – you’ll get a quicker response and you’ll get access to emergency services. If you don’t think that your injuries are serious or you don’t want to tie up the phone lines, you can call a police non-emergency number.
As you might imagine, not everyone wants to call the police after an accident. They may want to try to handle the incident themselves or they might feel like calling the police will escalate the situation. In reality, calling the police is simply part of the process of preparing yourself for moving forward. Calling the police helps to make an official record of the incident and allows you to start gathering the evidence to prove that the other party was the one who was at fault.
Once you’ve involved the police, it’s time to start gathering up evidence of what’s happened. One of your best tools here is going to be your phone because you’ll be able to use it to take pictures. Take a picture of the other vehicle, of the place where you were hit, and of any surrounding conditions that may make a difference. You’d be amazed, for example, how much of a difference it can make when you were hit while crossing a crosswalk compared to being hit while jaywalking. The more information you gather, the better.
It’s also a good idea to talk to anyone who might have witnessed the accident. Passersby can be a great source of information, so talk to them and get their contact information for later. Again, you’re really just gathering information here – you won’t necessarily be going to trial, but it’s better to have this information ready than to try to gather it later. It becomes increasingly difficult to gather evidence of an accident once the scene has been cleared, so make sure that either you or a companion gather as much data as possible before leaving the area.
Contact an Attorney
Your final step should be to contact a good pedestrian accident attorney in Los Angeles. Remember, going to a lawyer doesn’t mean that you’re chasing after someone’s money – it means that you’re looking to make sure that your legal rights are protected. For some, this means having another party on-hand to help keep talks with the insurance company productive and to get a fair settlement. For others, it does mean having representation in court. You need the help of a good attorney to make sure that you understand all of your options and that you can make choices based on what the most likely outcomes of each might be.
It’s very important that you go to the right kind of attorney to handle this issue. Ideally, you’re going to work with someone not only specializes in personal injury cases but also someone who has dealt with pedestrian accidents in the past. A personal injury lawyer who has handled similar cases is going to be able to give you more realistic advice and should also have a better understanding of what fair compensation looks like in a case like yours. Take some time to talk to an attorney before agreeing to work with him or her so you can determine whether this pedestrian accident attorney is the right fit for your needs.
It’s very important to take the right steps if you’re involved in a pedestrian accident. Get medical help if necessary, and then start gathering information. Make sure you talk to the person who hit you if possible, contact the police as soon as you can, and gather evidence if you’re able. You’ll be able to take all of this information to your pedestrian accident attorney so you can determine the best way to move forward. A pedestrian accident can be a life-changing incident, so you need to make sure that you’re in a good position to get your life back in order.