What Should You Do If You Have An Accident With A Pedestrian
A car hitting a pedestrian can mean life-threatening injuries for the pedestrian, and life-altering consequences for the driver. The human body is simply no match for the weight and force of an automobile, especially if the vehicle is traveling at high speeds. Pedestrians struck by automobiles may need extensive medical care, and are likely to incur substantial costs as a result. Understandably, therefore, many pedestrians who have been hit by vehicles will want to file personal injury claims to recover the costs of those damages. The fault system of the state where the pedestrian accident happens, as well as the circumstances of the accident itself, will be a prominent factor in determining whether the pedestrian is eligible to receive financial compensation. The fault system will also describe the extent of compensation that a plaintiff can receive. After an accident with a pedestrian, individuals who are interested in learning more about their options for obtaining financial compensation may wish to have their case reviewed by a local car accident injury lawyer.
Steps To Take After a Pedestrian Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021, 7,388 pedestrians were killed in car accidents, and 60,577 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes. Pedestrian accidents happened so frequently in 2021 that every 71 minutes a pedestrian died in a crash, while every nine minutes a pedestrian was injured in a traffic accident.
Even the most veteran and conscientious driver can still make mistakes. In fact, the United States General Services Administration Office of Motor Vehicle Management says that driver error is responsible for 98% of all crashes occurring. The statistical risk, for any driver, of eventually becoming involved in a crash, whether with another vehicle or with a pedestrian, is therefore high. An accident with a pedestrian, however, may raise special concerns due to the high probability of severe injuries. After an accident with a pedestrian, drivers unfortunately have to think about protecting themselves against a legal action brought against them –– regardless of how they perceive their degree of fault while at the scene of the accident. Therefore, becoming familiar with the steps to take after a pedestrian accident is worthwhile.
Stay at the Accident Scene
The practice of immediately departing the scene of an accident is known as “hit-and-run.” Illegal in many jurisdictions, hit-and-run accidents may carry stiff penalties for the fleeing driver, especially if they leave behind significant property damage, or injuries to people or pets. For these reasons as well as humanitarian ones, if you are involved in an accident with a pedestrian, stop the vehicle at once and do not attempt to drive away.
Typically the first step after any accident is to call 9-1-1 and report the event. In the case of a pedestrian accident, the high likelihood of substantial injuries makes it even more critically important to get injured individuals emergency care. Every second may count, so calling 9-1-1 can help get LaGrange emergency paramedics, as well as law enforcement, dispatched to the accident scene quickly to ensure medical care is rendered in the first moments after the crash.
Move to a Safe Location
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 40-6-275, requires drivers involved in a highway accident to remove vehicles from the roadway if all parties can be safely moved. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, it may not be advisable to move an injured pedestrian immediately. The 9-1-1 operator may be able to provide instructions in the event of serious injury.
Be Careful About Communications
For a driver who is involved in a pedestrian accident, it is important to remember that there is no need to do much talking. A good word of advice is to keep the small talk to a minimum. Rather than anything that points to potential guilt, like apologizing for the crash or admitting fault, the driver involved in an accident with a pedestrian can focus on ensuring that the pedestrian is able to wait safely for the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
If the pedestrian has the ability to exchange information with a driver, then the driver and anyone involved in the accident should provide their information. Law enforcement will likely also want to review all parties’ contact and insurance information at the scene of the crash.
Talk to Witnesses
When witnesses are present, it could be helpful to ask them for their names and contact information. Their recollections could become useful evidence if an injury claim is filed.
As is the case after any vehicle accident, it can be a good idea to collect as much evidence as possible, as soon as possible after the crash. Drivers may wish to consider taking pictures or videos of the accident scene, damaged property, traffic signs and crosswalks, traffic signals, the surrounding environment and conditions prevailing where and when the accident occurred, and any other pertinent evidence that could help to construct an accurate account of the accident’s cause and circumstances.
Keep All Documentation Related to the Incident
In addition to taking photographic evidence, individuals involved in a highway accident with a pedestrian may wish to write down every detail they can remember related to the crash, as soon after the accident as possible. Saving and keeping organized every bill, estimate, report, and other documentation can prove helpful in proving or in disputing a claim.
Report the Accident to the Insurance Company
A policy may require that pedestrian accidents have to be reported. Knowing the insurance policy guidelines and reporting where necessary is essential. Failure to follow the rules could affect one’s coverage.
Seek Legal Guidance
Pedestrians involved in a car accident will likely have serious injuries, and may wish to speak with an attorney about how best to pursue compensation for their medical expenses. For corresponding reasons, drivers who have accidentally struck pedestrians may also wish to speak with a personal injury attorney to gain a better understanding of whether they are likely to be considered at fault in their jurisdiction, depending on the circumstances of their accident. Even in cases where there is no dispute over liability, speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney can provide drivers and pedestrians with a valuable opportunity to discuss their concerns with a seasoned professional who may be able to lend some much-needed perspective at an obviously stressful time.
Get Help From a LaGrange Attorney
Individuals involved in an accident with a pedestrian may wish to connect with a car accident attorney. A personal injury lawyer in LaGrange may be able to help drivers and pedestrians understand how Georgia laws apply to the circumstances of a particular accident, and who may be eligible to file a claim for damages. Once the claims process starts, an attorney can also often provide legal representation, if needed. Personal injury attorneys generally work on a contingency basis, meaning that they only get paid when they secure financial compensation for their clients. However, when meeting with an attorney it is always important to inquire about their specific payment policies or pay structure. Contact Hall & Lampros, LLP by calling (404) 876-8100 to set up an initial consultation.
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