Pedestrian Safety Tips for Parents and Teachers
Whether you a riding a bicycle down a neighborhood street or are out for a leisurely stroll, the last thing you expect to happen is to be hit by a vehicle. However, many people experience this each year, with 6,000 deaths occurring. While the chances of being hit by a vehicle are minimal, as more and more drivers are on the road today, the likelihood of this happening has increased dramatically in recent years. Because of this, it is important you know what to do should you find yourself facing this situation. Since the scene will be chaotic and you will be under much duress, you may not find yourself thinking clearly when faced with certain situations. To ensure you do what is necessary to keep you safe as well as protect your legal rights, here are the most crucial steps to take if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian.
When hit by a vehicle, it is extremely important you summon police and rescue personnel to the scene as quickly as possible. Therefore, if you have a cell phone with you, immediately call 9-1-1. By doing so, you will have help arrive in a matter of minutes. In many of these accidents, driver have been known to simply drive away from the scene. If this happens to you, let police know as many details regarding the make and model of the vehicle that struck you. If they are able to catch the driver, police will charge them with hit and run. Along with this, your personal injury lawyer can use this to your advantage to seek additional compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Gather Key Evidence
If you can, gather evidence while at the accident scene. This should include getting contact information of any witnesses that saw what happened, along with taking photos or videos of damage to the vehicle that hit you, crosswalks and traffic signals nearby that the driver may have ignored, damage to any property you had with you at the time, and anything else you believe to be important. Once you have this evidence, give it to your pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible. By doing so, they will be able to begin analyzing it to see how it can best be used in developing your legal strategy. Also, since it is likely your attorney will use the services of a pedestrian accident reconstruction expert, this evidence can be used to show exactly how and why the car struck you at your location.
Move Around as Little as Possible
Even if you think you are not severely injured, try to move around as little as possible while at the scene. If you immediately get up and start walking around, it will appear as if you are not injured, and most certainly will be used against you by the driver. Therefore, let rescue personnel, witnesses, and others come to you as much as possible, which will ensure the driver will not be given evidence that can be used against you.
Obtain the Accident Report
When police are at the scene, they will do a preliminary investigation of the accident and make a determination of guilt for who was at fault, which will be included in their accident report. Once this report is completed and filed by the officer, make sure you obtain a copy and give it to your experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. This report will often contain information crucial to your case, so make sure your attorney has it as quickly as possible. In addition, while you are still at the accident scene, make sure you get the name and badge number of the officer who files the report, since your attorney will likely want to speak with them at some point.
Have Your Injuries Treated
When you are involved in a pedestrian accident, the absolute worst thing you can do is assume you are not injured and refuse medical treatment. If you do and later find out you are severely injured from whiplash, back injuries, or even traumatic brain injuries, you will have great difficulty proving these injuries were the result of being struck by the vehicle. Therefore, rather than take this risk, allow yourself to be examined by medical personnel at the scene and then transported to a hospital for further examination. Once you do, you guarantee any injuries you sustained will be promptly treated and entered into your medical records. This will play a pivotal role in helping your personal injury lawyer develop a case strategy, as well as put pressure on the driver’s insurance company to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Be Careful What You Say at the Accident Scene
Since you will not know the full extent of your injuries nor have all details from police regarding the accident, it is always best to say and do as little as possible while you are at the accident scene. Unfortunately many people involved in a pedestrian accident ignore this advice, and the results often lead them to have insurance claims that are denied or lawsuits that come up short in court. In most situations, a person who has said something such as “I’m okay” or “I’m sorry” has found out these statements were used against them in various ways. For example, by a victim saying “I’m sorry” when talking to witnesses or police, this may sound as though they did something to cause the accident. If this winds up in a police report, it will be construed by an insurance company and the driver’s lawyer as an admission of guilt, making it even harder for you to win your case. Rather than take this chance and create a legal opening for the driver and their defense team, say as little as possible while at the scene.
Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
If you are contacted by the driver’s insurance company several days after the accident, you may assume the insurance company is eager to help you. While it may appear that way, it is actually quite the opposite. Instead, the insurance company will be looking for anything it can use against you in hopes of denying your claim. If this proves to be too difficult, the company’s next tactic will be to make you a settlement offer. If you are struggling to pay medical expenses, suffering lost wages from being unable to work, and are dealing with pain and suffering from your injuries, you may want to jump at the chance to take the money and have the situation resolved. However, resist this temptation. More than likely, the company will make you a very low-ball offer that will probably not even begin to cover your damages. Therefore, rather than make a critical mistake, always speak with your pedestrian accident lawyer before deciding whether or not to accept a settlement offer.
Due to the many complexities that are always involved in accident cases where pedestrians are hit, never trust your legal fate to an inexperienced attorney who has no track record of success in these cases. Instead, schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer who has a reputation for winning these cases time and time again.