If you have been hit by a car while walking, you may be able to sue. There are a number of factors to consider when determining the likelihood of a successful lawsuit, so it is best to educate yourself about the process. This post will walk you through the steps you need to take to increase your chances of receiving financial compensation for any damages incurred in your accident.
Discussing your case with the skilled personal injury lawyers at Cousin Benny is the best thing you can do to secure your rightful damage award! Find out how much your case is worth today.
Steps to Take After Getting Hit By a Car
If you have been struck during a motor vehicle accident, the first thing to do is care for your health and safety. It is easy to become confused in the hectic post-accident period, so it is imperative to seek medical attention first.
Next, consider your legal options. While a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind after getting hit by a car, it is never too early to begin thinking about a potential claim. Depending on the type and severity of your damages, there may be costly hospital bills and missed employment time in your future.
Here is our step-by-step guide of what to do in the unfortunate event you are a victim of a pedestrian-vehicle accident:
1. Seek medical attention immediately.
911 should be called as soon as possible after the accident. It is important that a medical professional evaluates you as one can never be sure the extent of their injuries. Never, under any circumstances try to just “walk it off.”
2. Document injuries.
Make sure the responding paramedics and police officers create a detailed record of every cut and scrape on your body. This will be vital when determining the damage award.
3. Inspect the scene and collect evidence at the site. This will include:
- Photos – any damage at the scene, damage to the car that hit the pedestrian, and damage to the surrounding area.
- Witnesses – ask spectators to write down what they saw; or take a cell phone video of them providing their recollections. Remember to get the names and contact information of any bystanders.
- Keep your clothing – if your clothes have any blood stains, scuff marks, etc., then that can be used as important evidence to prove damages.
4. Gather the information of the driver and his/her vehicle:
- Name and contact information of the driver and car owner.
- The vehicle make, model, and year.
- License plate number.
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Insurance information.
5. Contact your insurance company.
While you were not in the act of driving, your car insurance policy may still cover these types of accidents. This will allow you to make medical and disability claims.
6. Never rely on the police officer(s) at the scene to note everything.
The members of the police force are humans just like everyone else. They can potentially make mistakes, miss evidence, or fail to properly account for the details of the accident. No one cares as much as you do about your case, so be sure to take the time to do everything right – you only get one shot at the scene!
7. Seek Legal assistance.
Providing evidence to your attorney is like arming them with weapons. The more weapons they have, the better they can represent you. Make sure you provide all the evidence and information you possibly can so that your attorney can go on the offensive and win you the compensation you deserve.
Determining Fault for the Accident
When is the driver at fault?
While this will depend on the circumstances of the individual event, fault will typically lie with the driver. If the accident occurred while the pedestrian was in a crosswalk, then the driver will almost definitely be held liable.
Even if the pedestrian was outside of a crosswalk, the driver can still be at fault. All drivers are bound by a duty of care to operate their vehicles in the safest way possible. This includes being aware of their surroundings and practicing defensive driving. A driver is negligent when they fail to live up to this standard. Some ways a pedestrian can prove the driver’s negligence is if the driver:
- Failed to obey traffic laws (for example, taking a right on red when not allowed).
- Failed to yield to a pedestrian.
- Was speeding.
- Was driving distracted (such as on their cell phone).
- Was intoxicated.
This is when proof becomes important. The victim must be able to prove the driver failed to meet their duty of care. The best ways to backup your claims are with:
- Witnesses attesting to the driver’s failures.
- Police report with the officer’s opinion of fault.
- Tickets or citations issued, if any.
- Medical records. This includes your charts, notes, and bills.
- Driver’s statement. If they make any admissions of guilt before, during, and/or after the accident, that is evidence.
When is the pedestrian at fault?
A pedestrian’s own negligence is a consideration in a judgment or settlement. Jaywalking (walking outside of a crosswalk or walking in a prohibited area) is illegal. If this is the case, then a lawsuit will not be as clear cut and could lead to the pedestrian missing out on a judgment or settlement.
It is rare, however, for a driver who struck a pedestrian to get off completely free. If blame is shared between the pedestrian and the driver, then a court will look at “comparative negligence” and “contributory negligence” rules. These rules inspect the available evidence and assign a percentage of fault to each actor. The higher percentage of fault a pedestrian has, the lower their potential damage award.
Common Injuries from Pedestrian-Car Accidents
Injuries can vary. As such the settlement or damage award will depend on the severity of the injuries. Pedestrians hit by a car are most likely to have the following injuries:
- Brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Broken bones.
- Sprained ligaments.
- Gashes and bruising.
When to File a Personal Injury Claim
Once all the evidence has been obtained and a lawyer consulted, then a personal injury claim should be filed. It is imperative to file before the statute of limitations is up for your particular jurisdiction.
Hire Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers Cousin Benny
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Cousin Benny can help you obtain the monetary award you are due. The driver’s insurance company will fight to place as much blame on the victim as possible. Cousin Benny’s expert team will be able to protect you against such insurance companies.
Discover how much your case is worth by speaking with the lawyers at Cousin Benny!