An active outdoor lifestyle can be one of the great perks to living in Southern California. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents can and do occur and often result in severe injuries. If you are hit by a vehicle, your primary legal claim will be against the driver. However, if unsafe traffic control devices, such as traffic lights or signs, contributed to the accident, you may be eligible to file a claim against the local municipality. This is why it is extremely important to remember the following steps in the event that such an accident occurs.
Steps to take at the scene of the pedestrian accident
- Move out of harm’s way. The moments following a crash are shocking and disorienting, and it is important to remove yourself from the path of oncoming traffic or other dangers as soon as possible.
- Call 911. Seek medical assistance immediately if you can, or have a bystander call for you, if you have been injured. Remember that head, neck, and internal injuries may not show symptoms for several days after a crash. Treatment at the scene is valuable to your long-term health and will create a valuable record that links your injuries to the crash, providing support for future claims.
- Document the scene and file a police report. Take note of the location of the accident, the direction the vehicle was traveling, road conditions, speed limits, weather, and lighting. Record all apparent injuries including pain, torn clothing, and blood. Take photos and record witness observations using your phone’s audio recorder, or write down statements on paper. Make sure the officer at the scene includes this information in a police report. If you cannot do so yourself, have a bystander assist you.
- Gather contact information. Collect names, addresses, phone numbers from the driver and any witnesses present. Make sure to get insurance information, license number, vehicle identification number, car make and model, and a description of the vehicle. Record the responding officers’ names and badge numbers, which will allow your attorney to collect any necessary information for your claim.
- Do not discuss fault. Statements made at the scene of the accident to bystanders, police officers, or insurance companies can result in serious negative consequences for you – legal or otherwise. The exact cause may be immediately unclear, or you may even be experiencing shock, causing you to miss important details or recall them incorrectly. You should only discuss your full recollection of the accident with your attorney.
Steps to take immediately after the accident
- Contact your insurance company. Most car insurance policies cover pedestrian accidents, so contact yours immediately. This ensures that you’ll be able to make medical or disability claims after the accident.
- Seek professional assistance from a lawyer to determine the cause of the accident. Negligent actions such as distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, or disobeying traffic signals are important pieces of the puzzle – even if not initially apparent to you. Any citation to the driver after the incident or other pieces of evidence may be crucial to you being compensated for your injuries.