Simple Steps Pedestrians Can Take to Manage the Aftermath of an Accident

The only thing worse than getting in an automobile accident is getting in an automobile accident when you are not in a car. When a car hits a person who is on foot, that person will often not survive or be seriously injured. 

More than 6,500 Pedestrians were Killed on U.S. roads in the year 2019, which was the largest number of such death since 1988. Those deaths accounted for 17% of traffic fatalities. Distracted driving and speeding are two of the factors that may have contributed to the increase. More people are driving SUVs nowadays and larger vehicles make for more powerful impacts during a collision.

It is a good idea to have an after accident protocol to follow if you are struck by a negligent driver. Knowing what steps to take may lessen the severity of your injuries or even save your life.

What to do at the Scene

  • When you have an accident, you should always call the police and wait for them to arrive. If you are unable to call, someone may call for you.
  • If you are a pedestrian who is hit by a car, you are likely to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. You should never try to leave the scene of the accident until paramedics arrive. 
  • If you are able to, you should get the names and contact information of any witnesses. You will also want to ask the other driver for the name of their insurance company and their policy number.
  • If you were walking with a companion, you should ask them to take pictures. A witness may be willing to do the same thing. 
  • The police will make an accident report and you should ask for a copy of it as soon as you are able. If you are not injured too severely at the scene, the police may question you. 
  • Even if you think that you caused the accident, it is best not to tell the police that it was your fault.
  • You should never lie to an officer. However, crashes happen very quickly and there may be some circumstances that contributed to the collision of which you are unaware. 

There are some cases in which either city-owned or business owned surveillance cameras may have captured a more detailed account of the accident than any witness could ever report. It is best to speak to your attorney before discussing details of the accident with the police.

Even if you feel okay, you should still be checked out by a doctor because there are some injuries that will not be immediately apparent.  If you are taken to the emergency room, remember to save a record of any X-rays they gave you and a record of the examination from the ER doctor. 

Do Not Contact the Other Driver Directly

Although you should get the contact and insurance information from the other driver, you should only communicate with them via their insurance company or your attorney. If the driver offers you money and tells you not to contact the insurance company, it is never a good idea to take it. 

A personal injury case involving a pedestrian is likely to result in very high medical bills. It is very unlikely that they would be able to offer you the amount of money that your case is actually worth. 

No matter how severe your injuries might be, it is never a good idea to call the driver to express your anger. Although it may seem unfair, the driver who hit you may call law enforcement if you try to contact them.

Collecting Medical Information

It is very important to document all of the expenses that are related to your accident. You should save all of your medical bills including those for physical therapy and other kinds of bills such as floatation therapy, massages, and cryogenic therapy.

You should save all of the receipts for any medications that you have taken whether they are prescription or non-prescription. The insurance company should reimburse you for both.

It is not a bad idea to be examined by a psychiatrist or to see a psychotherapist. It is not uncommon for people to experience anxiety and depression after they have had a serious accident with injuries.  You may also experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition in which you may relive a traumatic experience over and over again or have disturbing dreams about the incident.

Talking to someone can help and you may be prescribed medicine that can help you cope with your feelings about the crash. 

You should have your mental health professional write you a letter detailing your condition and the treatment that you have undergone. Although some of the things you discuss with your doctor may be personal, the information can be used as evidence in a courtroom.

Other Documentation That You Will Need

If you have missed time off of work because of your injuries, you will want to get your employer to provide you with documentation stating the number of hours you have missed. If you had to hire a maid because you were physically limited, you will want to provide receipts of that as well. 

Call the Drivers Insurance Company

New York is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. This means that a driver’s own insurance company will pay for their accident-related bills. If a New York driver hits a pedestrian or bicyclist, the driver’s insurance company should pay for the medical bills related to the accident. If the driver does not have any insurance and the pedestrian does have insurance, the pedestrian may be able to make a claim through their own insurance company. 

In the state of New York, a driver must carry $25,000 for injury to one person and $50,000 of insurance for injury to all persons. If you were hit by a car as a pedestrian, your medical bills may be much more than that. 

When you call the insurance company, they are likely to grill you about the details of the accident. They may try to pressure you into answering questions about elements of the accident that you simply don’t recall. You should never tell them anything of which you are not absolutely certain. They may ask to record you, but you do not have to let them.

You will provide them with all the documentation you have of your expenses and an insurance adjuster will investigate your case. 

The insurance company will then either accept or deny your claim. If they accept your claim, they will make you a settlement offer. They are likely to try and lowball you, so it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney before you accept their offer.

Getting hit by a car is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. Knowing how to proceed after an accident can make recovery easier to manage.

About the Author Long Le

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