Approximately six million car accidents happen every year, including ones where pedestrians are involved. These victims endure physical injuries, psychological trauma, and emotional stress. Being a victim of an irresponsible driver also results in financial difficulties and interferes with daily activities.
Most victims engaged in vehicle-related accidents are unconscious after being struck, while some are only confused. If you’re conscious after the collision, you’ll most probably be in mental and physical shock. Despite the situation, as soon as you can think coherently, there are specific things you should do to protect yourself legally, financially, and medically. So, if you’re involved in an accident, here are the steps you should take to defend yourself.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
If you’ve been hit by a vehicle and you’re unconscious, the responsibility to ask for medical assistance falls on the motorist or witnesses. However, if you’re conscious, the responsibility is yours. First, go to the sidewalk to avoid danger from other vehicles.
The physical and emotional shock will most likely cloud your judgment. So, call 911 for medical attention and receive full treatment even if you think you’re fine. Although most victims feel the pain a day or two after the accident, ask for assistance. This is because even a minor impact can cause severe injury to your spinal cord.
If your car collided with another vehicle, check on the well-being of your passengers. If there’s anyone injured, ask for emergency services, or ask a bystander for help. Aside from that, it’s crucial to ask for assistance. If you don’t, the jury members of your case will assume that you weren’t hurt because you didn’t seek medical attention.
Don’t Discuss Fault on the Scene and Don’t Let the Anyone Leave
Even though pedestrians are not at fault in most cases, you’re probably not fully informed about the law when it comes to accidents. Anything that you say on the scene can be used against you during legal proceedings. Discuss your version of the accident only with medical personnel, your attorney, and your insurance company.
Furthermore, calmly ask the driver to stay while you’re waiting for the police. It’ll help if you also ask the witnesses to remain at the site. However, if it’s a hit and run case, take a photo of the license plate of the vehicle or make a mental note of its color and model. Although it might be tempting to catch the person who hit you, you’ll lose vital evidence once you leave the scene.
Ask for Legal Assistance and Make a Claim
The most crucial thing you should do after getting struck by a vehicle is to consult an attorney. The attorney can protect your rights and assure that important evidence isn’t destroyed. Insurance companies often ask for statements instantly, and it’s necessary to get legal advice before giving your statement. They can also advise you on how you can ensure that you’re fully compensated and get the best medical treatment.
Aside from that, the driver’s insurance company will attempt to blame you and refuse any claims you file. They’ll also try to propose a settlement. With a professional attorney, you can secure your rights and livelihood. Most lawyers offer free evaluation of pedestrian collisions. This is a great help in case your injuries become severe and you need long-term medical care.
Document the Collision
To be able to protect yourself, there are some things that you should record.
- Ask for a copy of the accident report. Ask police officers where you can get a copy of the accident report. There’s a possibility that your insurance company will ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
- Identify the officers and give an accurate statement. Get the badge number and name of the responding police officers. Ensure that you tell them exactly what happened. If you don’t know any particular facts, be honest, and tell it to the officer. Don’t misstate, guess, or speculate any facts.
- Take Pictures. If you’ve got a cell phone with you, photograph the vehicle from different angles. Reveal the damage of both cars if it’s a car collision, or the driver’s car if you’re a pedestrian. Also, take a picture of the license plate and your visible injuries. However, let the police do its job.
- Know the names and exchange information. Write down the names, contact information, and addresses of the individuals involved, including the passengers and witnesses. For the driver, ask the full name, contact information, insurance policy details, driver’s license, license plate number, type, model, and vehicle color.
- Document your injuries. After asking for medical assistance, have a personal record. Know the painful body areas, see if there’s visible injury, and feel your head and body to see if there’s any blood. Inspect your clothes. If they’re torn, it may mean that you’ve suffered an injury in that part of your body but are not feeling pain. Make a note of the discomfort and injuries and tell it to the paramedics once they arrive.
Always look for potential hazards in your path, especially vehicles driven by irresponsible drivers. Once an accident happens, it can leave even the most experienced driver shocked. However, following the steps mentioned above can protect you from unnecessary worries. That way, you can pay attention to working with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired and receive the best treatment.