Sometimes, car accidents involve pedestrians and bicyclists. In a collision and the moments afterward, it can feel like time is standing still – or it can feel like time is rushing past you faster than you can blink. In these moments, it can be difficult to know what to do. Although you can never plan to be hit by a car, you can prepare yourself for this scenario by learning what to do in the moments immediately following the impact.
A collision with a car can cause severe, often permanent, injuries. What you do in the moments, days, and weeks after you are hit by a car can determine how you recover from your injury and whether you can recover compensation for the expenses you face related to it through a personal injury claim. If you are hit by a car, take the following actions:
Do Not Leave the Scene
The only exception to this is if you suffer an injury that requires emergency medical attention. If this is the case, call 911 to have an ambulance sent to the scene. Your health and safety should always be your top priority.
If you are not in critical condition, remain at the scene of the collision and call local law enforcement to have an officer sent to the scene. If the driver who hit you does not stay at the scene, take a photograph of his or her vehicle or try to write down everything you noticed about the car, such as its license plate number, its color, and its make and model. If the collision occurred because the driver was somehow negligent, he or she is liable for your damages. For a driver, negligence can mean texting while driving, driving drunk, or disregarding the posted speed limit and other traffic rules.
Gather All the Evidence you Can
Take out your phone and snap as many pictures of the scene as you can. Get a photo of your injury as well as any images that accurately show how the collision occurred. Document the location of the accident and whether the driver also hit another victim, another vehicle, or a stationary object.
Take down the driver’s name and insurance information. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, wait until the police officer arrives and have him or her facilitate the exchange. You need to have the driver’s insurance information because this is the company with which you will file your personal injury claim. If any witnesses saw the collision occur, take down their contact information as well.
Do not leave the scene without the following:
- A copy of the official accident report;
- The driver’s insurance information;
- Sufficient photographs to show what happened; and
- Contact information for any witnesses who watched the collision happen.
Receive Medical Attention for your Injury
Even if you do not feel like you are injured, go to the doctor to have yourself examined within a few days of the accident. You could possibly have suffered an “invisible injury” like a traumatic brain injury. These injuries often have no physical symptoms and can go unnoticed when the victim does not receive appropriate medical care. It is also possible for an injury that seems minor initially to become much more severe if it is left untreated.
There is another important reason why you should seek medical attention as soon as you can: the strength of your personal injury claim. If you choose to file a personal injury claim, you will need to support it with sufficient evidence that shows how your injury occurred and the losses you experienced because of the injury. Documentation that shows you received medical attention shortly after the accident, testimony from your doctor regarding your injury and treatment, and copies of your medical bills are all important pieces of evidence to include with your personal injury claim.
Determine your Personal Injury Claim Plan
After you have received a diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your injury, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your grounds for filing a personal injury claim. You can recover compensation even if you were partially at fault for your accident, so do not shy away from contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights even if you were negligent in some way. Your lawyer will review all the evidence you have and determine if you have grounds for a personal injury claim. If so, he or she can work with you to gather and use additional evidence to support your claim, such as documentation of your lost wages and evidence to show the value of your pain and suffering damages.
Working with a lawyer will make the personal injury claim process easier for you. Your lawyer can ensure that your claim does not violate state laws or violate deadlines like the three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
Your lawyer can also negotiate with the driver’s insurance provider on your behalf. In Washington, negligent drivers are liable for all the damages related to the injuries they inflict. After you file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance provider, an insurance company representative will make a settlement offer. Your lawyer can determine whether this offer is sufficient to cover your expenses and if it is not, negotiate with the company to reach a more appropriate settlement amount. Your lawyer can also determine whether filing a personal injury lawsuit would be a productive course of action for your case.
Work with an Experienced Seattle Pedestrian Injury Attorney
Being hit by a car can drastically change your life. Among all the changes that come with your injury, a crippling financial burden should not be one. Contact our team of experienced car accident attorney in Seattle at Khan Law Firm PLLC today to set up your free case review in our office. During your case review, we can determine whether you have grounds for a personal injury claim and if so, start working with you to develop yours.