California is famous for its great weather and laid-back lifestyle, but did you know that it also holds the record for the most fatal pedestrian accidents in the country? Although accidents involving a pedestrian hit by a car aren’t uncommon, most people aren’t sure what to do after being hit by a car. If you’ve been in a car accident as a pedestrian, you’re most likely in shock. However, it’s very important that you take the right steps after the accident to ensure recovery and compensation.
If you don’t, you may jeopardize your insurance claim. Keep reading to find out exactly what to do if you’ve been hit by a car.
Seek Medical Attention Straight Away
The very first thing to do if you’re a pedestrian hit by a car is to assess your injuries. If you are hurt, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Prompt medical attention is critical for recovery, especially if your injuries are severe. Also, keep in mind that not all accident injuries are obvious.
For instance, if you were hit by a car in a crosswalk, the car may have already been in the process of braking. If the impact wasn’t too severe, you might have simply been knocked off your feet, without visible signs of injuries.
But, just because you can’t detect any injuries doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get medical attention. Some injuries, such as TBIs and spine injuries might only manifest symptoms days after the accident.
Even though you might not notice the effects of these injuries immediately, delayed treatment can cause complications and impact healing.
Getting your injuries promptly seen can also be important for your accident claim. The more time there is between the accident and your examination, the harder it will be to prove irrevocably that the accident was the cause.
If you postpone getting medical help, insurance companies can also use this to undermine your claim.
Alert the Authorities and File a Police Report
Providing you are physically able, alert the authorities of the accident right away. If you can’t personally do this, someone on the scene should call the police.
If the police arrive on the scene of the accident, they will prompt you to file a report.
You can also go directly to the police station yourself and fill out a report there.
It’s important not to skip this step. The police accident report is a critical piece of evidence necessary for your claim.
Take Photos of the Scene of the Accident and Your Injuries
When a car hits a pedestrian, the driver is generally considered the at-fault party. But, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case.
If you’re physically able to use your phone and move around, take some time to photograph or video the scene of the accident. You should also take photographs of your injuries, the vehicle, and anything else that may be useful to your case.
Unfortunately, most pedestrian accidents happen at night. It can be tricky to take clear images in the dark. If your injuries aren’t showing up well on camera, try to move to a well-lit area.
Speak to Any Eye Witnesses
Another way you can gain evidence to support your case is by speaking with any eyewitnesses that are on the scene. Ask them for their contact details and whether they would be willing to provide you with a written statement of what they saw.
File a Claim With the Driver’s Insurance Company
The next important step to take after any kind of car accident is to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. The sooner you do this the better.
Most carriers have certain time restrictions on claim filing. The sooner you start the claim process, the less likely you are to fall out of this window. If you delay, insurance carriers can also use this to cast doubt on the severity of your injuries.
Furthermore, the carrier’s filing window isn’t the only deadline you need to think about. If the insurance company doesn’t offer you a fair settlement, you may wish to take your case to court. To do this, you will need to abide by your state’s statute of limitations.
This determines how much time you have to open a personal injury case. In California, the statute of limitations for vehicle accidents is two years from the date of the incident.
If you delay filing a claim with the insurance company, this could cause you to miss this deadline under the statute of limitations. If the insurance company employs delaying tactics and doesn’t offer you a fair settlement after months of negotiations—you may wish to take your case to court. If you have missed the statute of limitations deadline, this won’t be possible.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
The final step we’d recommend if you’re a pedestrian hit by a car is to hire a car accident attorney to defend your interests. Insurance companies have entire legal divisions at their disposal. They also know what to do in order to pay out claimants as little as possible.
A car accident attorney will level the playing field between you and the insurance company. If you hire an accident attorney, this will indicate to the insurance company that you have professional legal help on your side.
A car accident attorney will know how much your case is worth, how to handle the insurance company during negotiations, what medical evidence you need to prove your case, and more.
Next Steps for a Pedestrian Hit by Car
If you’re a pedestrian hit by a car, it’s imperative that you get the right medical help and receive compensation for your injuries and suffering. By getting prompt medical attention, filing a police report, gathering evidence, and engaging a car accident attorney, you can maximize the success of your case.
Are you in need of an experienced accident lawyer? Harbors Accident Lawyers can help.
Contact us for a case evaluation today.