What to Do Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident
The moments following a pedestrian accident can be chaotic and traumatic. Shock, pain, and confusion might make clear thinking feel very challenging. Nevertheless, the immediate actions can have profound implications for your health and any subsequent legal proceedings.
Stay Calm and Try to Determine Any Injuries:
Amidst the adrenaline rush and shock post-accident, staying calm is paramount. Taking a moment to breathe deeply can help stabilize your emotions. Avoid attempting to immediately stand or walk if you suspect a serious injury. Moving improperly could exacerbate any potential damages. Instead, try to assess your physical state. Can you feel all parts of your body? Is there visible blood? Remember: Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, might not show immediate symptoms. Prioritize your safety. If in a busy area, and if you can move, try to sit or lie in a safe spot away from traffic.
Call the Police:
No matter the perceived severity, always report pedestrian accidents. Dialing 911 ensures that an official record is created. This can be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal actions. A police officer will document the scene, interview witnesses, and gather essential information. This report often serves as a foundational piece in building any legal case. Additionally, it provides an objective third-party account of events, potentially safeguarding you from disputes or unfounded claims by the driver.
Get the Driver’s Information:
Just as in vehicle-on-vehicle accidents, exchanging details is crucial. Get the driver’s full name, contact details, license number, vehicle registration, and insurance information. Note the vehicle’s make, model, and color. Avoid delving into discussions about the accident’s details or admitting fault, even inadvertently. Comments made in the heat of the moment can be misconstrued and potentially used against you later. Instead, focus solely on gathering factual information. If bystanders or witnesses are present, consider collecting their contact details as well; their accounts might prove invaluable if there are later discrepancies in the story.
In the digital age, collecting evidence has become considerably simpler. Use your smartphone or ask someone to photograph the accident scene. Capture the vehicle that hit you, any skid marks, your injuries, the crosswalk or intersection, traffic signals, and any other relevant elements. If there are businesses or homes nearby, they may have surveillance footage capturing the incident. Noting the location and time can help retrieve this later. Additionally, jot down or record an audio of your immediate recollection of the event. As time passes, memories can become fuzzy; this first-hand account can clarify legal proceedings.
Seek Medical Attention:
Your well-being should always be the primary concern. Even if you feel “fine” after the accident, seeking medical attention is crucial. Some injuries, like whiplash or concussions, might not manifest immediately. By getting a medical examination, you ensure your health and formally document your injuries. This medical record can be a pivotal piece of evidence if you decide to pursue a claim.
Deal with Insurance Companies:
Shortly after the accident, you may be contacted by the driver’s insurance company. It’s essential to be cautious during these interactions. Insurance adjusters, though sometimes friendly, work for the company’s interest, not yours. They may attempt to minimize your claim or persuade you to settle quickly and for less than you deserve. Do not provide recorded statements or sign any documents without understanding them fully or consulting a legal professional.
Contact an Attorney:
Navigating the aftermath of a pedestrian accident can be daunting, especially when facing recovery. Enlisting the help of an experienced attorney, like those at Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers, can be a game-changer. They’ll advocate for your rights, handle negotiations, and ensure you’re adequately compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Remember, the legal realm can be intricate; having a seasoned professional on your side can make all the difference.
Vames, Wang & Sosa Injury Lawyers focus on vehicle crashes, personal injury, and first-party car accident insurance claims. They have offices located in Gresham and Hillsboro.