Statistics show that more than 60,000 pedestrians are involved in vehicle accidents each year. And when a vehicle strikes a pedestrian at 30 miles or more per hour, serious injury is more likely to occur. Even pedestrians struck at 10 miles per hour can suffer significant injuries. As such, it's very important to understand how to proceed when you have been a pedestrian hit by a moving vehicle.
The very first thing any pedestrian should do when involved in an automobile accident is seek immediate medical care (i.e. call an ambulance). Soft tissue injuries, trauma to the brain, and other serious consequences don't always reveal themselves immediately and time is of the essence when treating your injuries and preventing these types of conditions from worsening. Many individuals have felt no real pain or discomfort immediately following an accident and refused treatment only to encounter debilitating pain and very serious injuries manifesting days or weeks following the incident.
Once you have received immediate medical treatment, it is very important to consult with an experience personal injury attorney before contacting the at-fault driver's insurance carrier as many insurers will often-times attempt to request a statement that, without counsel, will damage your likelihood of recovery down the road. You must keep in mind that, no matter how sympathetic or understanding an insurance company representative may seem to be over the phone, make no mistake: auto insurance companies are in the business of saving money and limiting their client's liability and risk. An experienced accident attorney can serve as a skilled intermediary who will negotiate on your behalf using the processes in place to your benefit.
Oftentimes, in cases of pedestrian/vehicle accidents, pedestrians are not in the best position to gather driver insurance details at the scene. As such, the best course of action, after calling an ambulance (if necessary) is to call the police or, in the chance you are without a phone or are physically unable to call the police, demand that the police be called on your behalf. The responding police officer will draft a crash report based on his/her observations as well as the statements from the witnesses (including your own) and will likely make his/her conclusion in the report as to who was at fault. The report will help document the facts of the case and that's extremely important when it comes to establishing fault in a personal injury claim.
Ultimately, liability may not always be assigned to one party. The insurer or the police officer on the scene may find that he/she is unable to determine liability or that both parties were negligent in causing the accident to occur, and in that case, comparative negligence may come into play.
It's important to know that an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Panio Law Offices can fight for your right to just compensation for all of your injuries.
We work tirelessly to recover the highest award amounts to which our clients are entitled. If you have questions about an automobile accident and want to discuss, please call (708) 928-8680 for a free consultation. We can help.