When you are walking around your neighborhood to get some exercise or through your town or city’s business district, you expect to do so while being able to stay safe. However, the fact is numerous pedestrians are struck each day by motorists who are impaired, distracted, or simply choose not to obey the rules of the road. When this happens, pedestrians are almost always seriously injured and find themselves dealing with broken bones, concussions and more serious brain injuries, severe lacerations, neck and back injuries, and blunt force trauma that may produce internal bleeding. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident, you need to be compensated as much as possible so you can pay medical expenses, replace your lost income, and deal with the daily pain and suffering. But to make this happen, there are several steps you must take immediately following your accident.
Summon Help to the Scene
Whether it is you or someone else, always make sure 9-1-1 is dialed so that police and medical personnel can get to the accident scene. Once police arrive, they can make sure you and others are safe and can begin to investigate the accident. Should you file a personal injury lawsuit, the report filed by police will be crucial, since it will contain details of the accident as well as the judgment of police as to which party was responsible for the accident. Once this report is filed, always make sure your personal injury lawyer has a copy as quickly as possible.
Accept Medical Help
Since you will be upset following your accident, you may not be thinking clearly when it comes to your injuries. Due to the adrenaline pumping through your body, you may mistakenly assume you are okay and do not require medical assistance. However, this will be one of the biggest mistakes you can make in these situations. If you refuse medical treatment at the scene and later on find yourself in an ER, it will be much more difficult to prove your injuries resulted from the pedestrian accident. Therefore, no matter what, always allow medical personnel to assess your condition at the scene and transport you to a hospital for additional evaluation and treatment.
Get Witness Statements
If possible, always make an effort to get statements from anyone at the accident scene who witnessed what happened. While you can write down what they say, it is much better if you can use a smartphone to make an audio or video recording. By doing so, you can not only guarantee you will have their statement word-for-word, but this will also make it almost impossible for a witness to change their story or claim they were misquoted. Once you have witness statements along with their names, addresses, phone numbers, and other pertinent contact information, turn it over to your pedestrian accident lawyer. By doing so, your lawyer can conduct follow-up interviews that often produce additional information helpful to your case.
Photograph the Accident Scene
Along with using your smartphone to record witness statements, put it to good use by taking as many photographs as you can of the accident scene. Since this will be your only chance to show the scene as it appeared immediately after your accident, take as many photos as you feel are necessary. To begin with, photograph the vehicle that struck you, as well as any visible injuries you may have incurred. Also, take pictures of nearby stop signs, speed limit signs, crosswalks, and anything else that may show the driver failed to obey traffic rules. Finally, if there are any skid marks on the road or if inclement weather may have played a factor, have photos of this as well. By having photos you can give to your pedestrian accident lawyer, your attorney will be able to work closely with an experienced accident reconstruction expert who specializes in pedestrian accidents to piece together exactly what happened. If this expert is called upon to testify in court, their words can play a crucial role in helping you win your personal injury lawsuit.
Watch What You Say
Along with being injured, your emotions may be running on overdrive at the accident scene and later at a hospital. Because of this, you may start to talk about the accident much more than you should. While you should of course talk to police and medical personnel, try to keep the focus of the conversations squarely on the facts and nothing else. In any situation, should you say a simple “I’m sorry” or “I’m okay” to police or doctors, they may assume you are either admitting the accident was your fault or that you were not seriously hurt in the accident? In either case, these few words can do significant damage to your personal injury lawsuit. If your words are included in a police report or a report from medical personnel, an insurance company will use this to its advantage in an attempt to deny you the compensation you deserve.
Let Your Lawyer Handle the Insurance Companies
While you may think you are perfectly capable of dealing with an insurance company following your accident, doing so on your own will almost certainly result in getting little if any compensation for your injuries. If you try to go solo in this area, an insurance company will do one of two things. First, it will contact you and engage you in a conversation aimed at coercing you into saying something that can later be used against you to deny compensation. In other situations, the insurance company will contact you and offer you an immediate cash settlement to resolve your case. If you jump at this before consulting your personal injury lawyer, you will get compensation that will not begin to cover your medical expenses and lost income. In addition, you will also lose out on your chance to file a lawsuit, costing you thousands of dollars in additional compensation. Therefore, always let your lawyer handle any and all negotiations with insurance companies.
Stick to Your Medical Treatment Plan
Once you have received medical treatment for your injuries, it will be crucial you stick to your treatment plan as given to you by your doctor. This means attending all physical therapy sessions, keeping your follow-up appointments, and anything else as requested by your doctor. In doing so, you make it much more difficult for an insurance company to deny you compensation for your injuries. If you fail to follow your treatment plan, the insurance company will point to this and argue you are not seriously injured. Though it may be long and arduous, following doctor’s orders will pay off for you in the end.
Since most pedestrian accident cases are settled out-of-court, it is always best if you hire a personal injury lawyer who has in-depth knowledge of these cases and also possesses many years of experience winning these cases for their clients. Since time will be of the essence in these cases, never procrastinate when trying to decide whether or not to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. To learn about your legal options and discuss the details of your case in much greater detail, consult a pedestrian accident lawyer immediately.