While certainly not intentional, the thought of hitting and injuring a pedestrian goes beyond the imaginable. No one in their right mind would ever want something like this to happen, yet it is a frequent occurrence throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 statistics, more than 5,370 pedestrians lost their lives due to traffic accidents, which equates to roughly one death every 1.6 hours.
Regarding the number of injured parties, experts estimate just under 60,000 annually. As a responsible person, it is imperative that you learn everything possible about safe driving, including what to do if you strike and injure someone alongside the road. At the same time, you should know what steps to take if someone hits you.
While you hope you never have to face either situation, if you do, it is critical that you take the appropriate action.
If you accidentally hit a pedestrian, you first need to call 911 to render that person medical aid, and to summon the police. No matter why the incident occurred, you need to file an accident report with the local law enforcement. As it is most probable that the injured party will seek some type of compensation, take detailed notes as to what happened as soon as you can. In fact, pull out your cell phone and capture images of the scene.
You then need to call your insurance company to inform your agent of the situation. By nature, a lot of people who hit pedestrians immediately begin apologizing, as well as citing fault. Be careful with your words as they could be used against you. Even if you have excellent coverage, this is the perfect time to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.
The lawyer will ask all the right questions and have you turn over any evidence. If you end up hiring that person, he or she will conduct an investigation, which entails obtaining the police report, the accident recreation report, the injured party’s medical records, and so on. If you are at fault, the goal is not to avoid taking responsibility but to minimize your risk.
Your attorney will also talk to any witnesses and gather information as to whether the person you hit was outside of a crosswalk, jaywalking, or doing something else that would reduce any level of negligence on your part. Typically, states follow the “comparative fault rule,” which diminishes your financial obligation based on the percentage of fault in the accident.
The other scenario involves someone hitting you as the pedestrian. Just as before, someone needs to call 911, especially if you sustained injuries. Depending on the severity of your condition, you or the police will gather the driver’s personal and insurance information. That way, you know who to go after to receive financial compensation for your medical bills.
The police will again investigate the accident to determine the liable party. Even if you walked too far into the street, you should contact a personal injury attorney. Again, this person will conduct an investigation and gather all pertinent information to build a case, regardless if you file a claim with the insurance company or a formal lawsuit.
Whether you hit a pedestrian with your car or someone hit you as the pedestrian, you need a qualified attorney working on your behalf. Remember, some insurance companies approve claims relatively fast, but not all do. Therefore, you want a lawyer who specializes in personal injury cases to take the helm.