Anyone involved in a car accident knows that the moments immediately following such a traumatic experience are a complete blur.
However, you may wonder, What do I do if I was hit as a pedestrian? Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents are extremely common.
In 2019, North Carolina reported over 3,000 pedestrian accidents resulting in injuries and deaths. If you sustained injuries in a pedestrian accident due to a negligent driver, you have a right to pursue compensation.
Read on to learn more about the steps to take after a pedestrian accident and how an experienced personal injury attorney can help you.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian is a person who is traveling on foot. Pedestrian accidents occur when these individuals are hit by a car or other type of vehicle.
Though pedestrian accidents may occur in any number of ways, the most common situations in which pedestrians are injured include the following:
- Accidents at intersections and crosswalks,
- Accidents in parking lots,
- Cars hitting pedestrians on roads with no sidewalk or shoulder,
- Distracted driving accidents, and
- Accidents where the driver turns and fails to yield to a pedestrian.
Even if the circumstances of your pedestrian accident are not included in this list, you still have legal options. An attorney can investigate the cause of your accident to help prove the driver’s liability.
Steps To Take After a Pedestrian Accident
It may seem impossible to have the clarity of mind to know what to do after a pedestrian accident. Some individuals may be unconscious and need immediate medical attention.
However, if you are involved in an accident and are conscious and physically able, taking the following steps can help protect your rights if you decide to pursue a lawsuit against the driver or other potentially liable parties.
Assess Your Injuries
If you were struck by a vehicle while walking, it might seem impossible to stay calm. However, remaining calm helps you assess your physical condition and better understand what happened and who might have been responsible.
If you are in the middle of the street and physically able, move out of harm’s way. If you cannot move, ask someone to call law enforcement to the scene.
Even if you don’t think you are hurt, call emergency services. It’s likely that a witness has already contacted the necessary authorities on your behalf.
However, if no one is around, you may have to take this step on your own.
The law enforcement officer who responds to the scene will create an accident report. This report will help the insurance companies and your attorney sort out the facts surrounding your pedestrian accident.
Write down the names, contact information, and insurance information for the driver and any other parties involved in the accident.
Additionally, take down the names and contact information of any witnesses to your accident. Their recollections may be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
Document The Scene
Documenting the scene immediately after your pedestrian accident can provide crucial information about what happened and who is at fault. Take photographs of the following:
- All vehicles involved,
- The surrounding environment,
- Any damage to cars, and
- Your injuries.
Additionally, write down all the details you can remember about your accident. Even when an event is as traumatic as a pedestrian accident, memories fade quickly.
Writing these details down as soon as possible can help you refresh your memory later on and make it easier for your attorney to understand what happened.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe you are not injured, seek medical attention. Many injuries may not be apparent until the hours, days, or weeks following an accident.
Though many pedestrian accidents result in severe and obvious injuries, some injuries like whiplash, internal bleeding, and spinal injuries may not be visible.
If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party, you will have to establish a clear connection between the accident and your injuries.
Seeking a medical evaluation will help you solidify this connection and strengthen your case.
Contact an Attorney
Contact an attorney immediately after your accident. Though you may be overwhelmed by your injuries, your attorney can explain your options and handle your claim while you focus on healing.
You deserve to recover compensation for your injuries, and this is your attorney’s top priority.
Who Is Liable in a Pedestrian Accident?
North Carolina follows the rule of contributory negligence. Under this rule, if a person is in any way responsible for their accident, they are barred from recovering compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
As a pedestrian, you have a duty to help keep yourself safe by looking for vehicles before entering or crossing a roadway and following all applicable laws.
An insurance company may attempt to prove that you failed to uphold this duty and contributed to your injuries so that they don’t have to pay you compensation.
An attorney will understand the strategies used by insurance companies and know how to help protect your right to seek compensation.
How Can an Attorney Help Me?
Even if you know what steps to take after a pedestrian accident, most injured victims don’t have the legal experience necessary to represent themselves effectively in a personal injury lawsuit.
A qualified attorney assists injured victims in the following ways:
- Investigating the details and facts surrounding their pedestrian accident,
- Interviewing witnesses,
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters and opposing counsel,
- Calculating the value of your pedestrian accident case,
- Working toward a favorable settlement or preparing your case for trial.
After a pedestrian accident, you may be facing mounting medical expenses and be unable to work. Obtaining financial support could alleviate those stresses and help you focus on your recovery.
An attorney can help you make your claim as strong as possible so that you don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve.
How Long Do I Have To File a Pedestrian Accident Lawsuit?
Failing to file in this designated period may permanently bar you from filing a case later. Three years may seem like a long time, but it’s vital to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Your attorney can begin working immediately to build your case while your memories, as well as those of any witnesses, are fresh and clear.
At Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, we understand that you are suffering physically, emotionally, and financially after a pedestrian accident.
Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience helping our clients fight for the compensation they need and deserve.
We understand how insurance companies think and how opposing counsel plays the game. If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our legal team today for a free, no-commitment consultation.