If you’ve been hit by a car, you likely have a lot of questions about how to proceed. Even a relatively minor incident can leave you feeling shaken and facing ongoing medical expenses as well as the inconvenience of a recovery and time off work.
Take some advice from an Arlington accident lawyer on what steps you should (and should not) take following being hit by a car.
Immediately After Getting Hit by a Car: Focus on Health and Safety
In the immediate aftermath of getting hit by a car, your physical safety and health should be the top priority.
Check Yourself for Injuries
You might assume that any serious injuries will be apparent, but that’s unfortunately not always the case. The traumatic moment of having been hit by a car likely caused a rush of adrenaline that could have a masking impact, leaving you unable to identify damage that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. For this reason, it’s very important that you check yourself for injury.
- Visible Wounds- Check for bleeding, scrapes, or cuts.
- Joints- Move your joints (knees, elbows, shoulders, ankles, wrists) to check for stiffness or pain.
- Limbs- Move your arms and legs to check for pain or immobility.
- Neck, Head, and Teeth- Move your jaw to check for pain. Check your mouth in a mirror for broken teeth or blood. Feel your head for bumps, cuts, or scrapes, and move your neck to check for stiffness and pain.
If you believe that you have sustained a serious injury such as a broken bone or blunt force trauma to the head, do not try to get up and walk. Stay where you are and wait for help. If you are able to safely move, make sure that you are waiting in a safe location away from the roadway.
Even if you have no visible injuries, you should get a professional medical assessment. While your self-assessment may catch the most obvious injuries, there are more subtle impacts that are important to treat right away. In fact, as BBC reports, you may even have broken bones that you don’t know about until much later: “it’s important to get professional help to ensure the bones are properly lined up and held in place while they heal, to avoid infection or permanent deformity.”
You should also have a police record of the incident, which may be necessary for insurance claims and any potential future legal action. Call 9-1-1. If you are unable to call 9-1-1 for yourself (because your phone is damaged from the accident or because you are too shaken or injured), ask a bystander to call for you.
Gather Evidence and Witness Information
If you are well enough to do so, try to gather evidence that may be helpful later.
- Witness Information- Ask any witnesses for their names and contact information. They may have crucial details that can help later when dealing with insurance companies or a potential legal case following being hit by a car.
- Take Pictures- If your phone is in working order and you can snap pictures of the accident scene, do so. Having a clear, accurate picture of what happened may help you build a stronger case in the future.
- Get a Copy of the Police Report- Any accident lawyer will tell you to be sure to request a copy of the report from any police officers who arrive on the scene.
- Get Driver’s Insurance Information- This is also a good time to get the driver’s contact and insurance information.
After Receiving Treatment for Being Hit By a Car: Seek Compensation for Damages
Once the accident itself has ended, there will likely be a long road to recovery and dealing with the long-term impacts. It can take a significant amount of time for injuries to be fully recognized and even longer for you to understand the costs and time associated with treatment and recovery. Getting the full picture of what getting hit by a car means for your particular situation will take time.
File an Insurance Claim
Most likely, the next steps will involve filing an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, this step can provide you with the financial support you need to get back on track, pay for your treatments, recover, and make up for time off work. All too often, however, the insurance company does not pay out adequately (or refuses to pay out at all), leaving victims of car accidents scrambling to get the support they need and deserve.
If attempts to get an adequate settlement through an insurance claim fail, it may be time to consider a lawsuit.
Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you’re not getting the progress you need from an insurance claim after being hit by a car, it’s time to talk to a lawyer. A pedestrian arlington accident lawyer who understands the ins and outs of cases like yours can help you make sure that you get the compensation you deserve to heal and get your life back on track.