Auto pedestrian accidents are car accidents where a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle. This is much more common of an occurrence than one might think. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Association) there was a total of 5,376 fatalities in 2015 from pedestrians being hit by a vehicle in the United States. Auto pedestrian accidents can be a scary and traumatizing event and in many cases lead to severe bodily harm.
Depending on the situation, a pedestrian may be able to recover damages if the incident occurred due to someone else’s negligence. If you or someone you know was hit by a car, you may be thinking about what you should do next. Due to statutes of limitations you only have a certain amount of time to make a car accident claim for your injuries.
Getting Hit By a Car: What to Do
Getting hit by a car can be an extremely dangerous, sometimes fatal experience. If you are hit by a car or witness a pedestrian get hit by a car there are some things that you should know. The following is a list of advice for a pedestrian that was just hit by a car.
If you are able to yourself, get to a safe location to avoid any further danger. If you are unable to do so, ask for help from the driver or any nearby witnesses. While assisting an injured pedestrian it is critical to not attempt any medical treatment beyond what would be necessary in an emergency situation, such as CPR.
Call the police immediately
Police will arrive quickly with help if anyone has been injured. Not only will police help an injured person but they are also be the best equipped to handle the situation. Authorities will take statements from both the driver and the pedestrian, as well as any witnesses to the accident to determine who was at fault.
Exchange insurance information and call a pedestrian accident attorney and your insurance company
Ask for a representative from your insurance company to come to the scene as well. The police will take statements and create a police report of the accident, in this report they may rule who was at fault or conduct a detailed investigation. Auto insurance companies are able to dispute whatever findings are in the police report, so you will want the company that represents you present. If you have health insurance as well as auto insurance, it may be useful to contact each respective company.
It is crucial that you do not give too much information at the scene of the accident. JacksonWhite highly recommends you call an auto pedestrian lawyer before you engage in any conversation other than exchanging insurance information. Remember the phrase “anything that you say can and will be used against you in a court of law”.
Who is at Fault?
When a person is hit by a car one of the biggest questions will be: Who is at fault for the accident?The answer to this question is determined by the law of negligence. In this case, which person failed to exercise the standard Duty of Care. There are also situations where both the pedestrian and the driver of the vehicle could be deemed negligent. To get a better understanding we will cover the duty of care of the possible parties.
Pedestrian’s Duty of Care
Although they are not operating a vehicle, pedestrians are still expected to exercise a standard duty of care. Failing to exercise this properly, pedestrians could be proven to have had contributory negligence. In other words, contributing to the accident and a cause to their injuries because of it. Here are a few examples of what can be assessed as contributory negligence:
- Crossing the street in an unmarked area or j-walking
- Ignoring the signals at an intersection and crossing in a marked area without the proper walk signal
- Suddenly moving in front of a vehicle
Driver’s Duty of Care
The responsibility weighs higher on the side of the driver, as they are the ones that are operating a motor vehicle. Failure to act upon this standard is not only considered to be negligent, but can be extremely dangerous and in some circumstances, fatal. Here are a few examples of what would be considered negligent from the driver’s point of view:
- Texting while you are driving
- Failing to yield to pedestrians that have the right-of-way
- Failing to obey traffics signs or signals
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not taking in to regard weather and traffic conditions
Drivers also need to exercise a special duty of care in regards to children being nearby. According to NHTSA children between the ages of 5-9 have the highest odds of getting hit by a car. Children in this age range are smaller and less visible to drivers.
Children can also be unpredictable and have a slower ability to react in a situation that calls for quick judgement. This is why the law imposes that a driver has a greater duty of care for the operator of a vehicle whenever there are children nearby. The presence of a child should be a warning sign of danger to the driver, who should in response exercise greater amounts of care. Parks, schools and residential areas generally have signs posted to watch for children. However, it assumed whenever a driver enters one of these areas that they start to exercise a higher degree of caution. Failing to do so, whether a sign is posted or not, can be considered negligent.
Injuries from Being Hit by a Car
There is a higher average of fatalities in auto pedestrian accidents compared to a car accident involving another vehicle. According to NHTSA, the total traffic fatalities percentage dropped 18% from 2006 to 20015. However, the total number of fatalities from auto pedestrian accidents rose by 12%. Although the number of fatalities from cars hitting people is growing, not every accident involving a pedestrian involves a death.
There were 70,000 reported pedestrians injured in crashes in 2015 and of that 5,376 resulted in death. This data means that 7.6% of auto pedestrian accidents result in a fatality. Something to be noted as well is that only a fraction of pedestrian crashes are actually ever reported to the police. However, although lucky to avoid being killed in an accident, many of these pedestrians still suffer traumatic, even life altering injuries. An example of these injuries are:
- Scalp lacerations (cuts) and Contusions (bruises)
- Brain Swelling
- Hemorrhages and hematomas (blood clots)
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Torn and Sprained Ligaments
- Broken Bones and Fractures
How a Pedestrian Accident Attorney Can Help You
While the Police will make a report at the scene of the accident determining who they believe is at fault for the accident, it is always in the best interest of the pedestrian to reach out to a pedestrian accident attorney. Although the Police will do their best to determine who was at fault, there are often things that they can miss.
This is why we not only recommend consulting a pedestrian accident attorney but also to reach out to your insurance provider at the time of the accident. Insurance representatives will perform their own investigation of the accident and often times there can be details uncovered that were not disclosed in the police report.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.