Walking can be a fun and relaxing activity, especially in a beautiful state like South Carolina. But a driver’s careless actions can turn your pleasant walk into a nightmare if you’re hit by a vehicle. In many cases, we meet pedestrians who were walking safely on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk when a negligent driver crashed into them, causing serious injuries.
The two most important things to do are to figure out if you’re injured and see if you’re still in danger of being hit again – if you’re still on the road, that could be a serious concern. We have, unfortunately, met some people who were hit by one car, then struck by another while trying to get their bearings. If you can, try to check yourself for injuries while keeping an eye out for other approaching vehicles. If you’re not in too much pain, try to get up and get out of the roadway as soon as you’re able.
Ideally, the driver who hit you should pull over, stop their car, turn on their flashers, and get out to see if you’re all right. Unfortunately, we don’t always live in an ideal world. Sometimes drivers panic and speed off, leaving you to fend for yourself. If this happens, try to get the car’s license plate number, or at least as much of a description of the car as you can.
Call 911 and report the accident right away, even if you think other people might be calling. Request an ambulance so you can get your injuries checked out. This is a good idea even if you don’t think you were hurt very badly – sometimes the extent of your injuries doesn’t become clear until later.
While waiting for the police and ambulance, exchange contact information with the driver who hit you, and get their insurance information. If you can, try to take pictures of the crash scene, as well as your injuries, in case you need them later. If you spot other witnesses, make an effort to get their contact info as well.
Be careful what you say when discussing the crash, as sometimes your words can be used against you later. Avoid saying you think the accident was your fault, even if you do. We meet people all the time who think it was their fault a car hit them, and in many cases, they’re wrong. Also, it’s not your job to decide who was at fault while dealing with your injuries. You should, of course, tell the police what you remember about the accident and how it happened. They will eventually produce a police report, which you should obtain a copy of.
Does the police report say who was at fault? Not necessarily. Sometimes the officer will issue a citation to the driver if they feel there is enough evidence to do so, but not always. In some situations, the officer may not be sure whose fault it was so they may not issue a ticket. This does not mean no one was at fault, it just means more investigation is needed.
Now, if you’ve been hurt, you will probably end up with some hospital bills, and you may have to miss work because of your injuries, too. You can file a claim with the driver’s insurance policy. However, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer first.
If you’ve already filed a claim, you may get a denial letter listing some reason or reasons the insurance company isn’t going to pay your claim. Frequently they may say they don’t have to cover it because the accident was your fault. If this happens, there are three things to keep in mind:
There are other reasons insurance companies may deny claims. Sometimes they may say that a certain circumstance isn’t covered by the policy, or some of your bills aren’t covered. Regardless of why you’re claim was denied, the best thing you can do is seek experienced legal advice before you do anything else. In many cases, a skilled attorney may be able to reason with the insurance company and convince them that paying your claim is a better option than going to court.
On the other hand, the insurance company may make you an offer instead of denying the claim. Frequently, accident victims think their problems are over when this happens. But be careful – when an insurance company quickly makes you an offer, they may not have your best interests at heart. Remember that they want to pay as little as possible. Often the initial offer is for less than your claim is actually worth. Have they taken into account not only your current healthcare bills related to the accident but also any future costs? What about your lost income from missing work, your pain and suffering, or the possibility that you may develop chronic pain or a permanent disability from your injuries?
Slow down and don’t agree to anything immediately. If the insurance adjuster is pressuring you to accept the offer right away, tell them that you are still dealing with your injuries, but you will look it over and get back to them soon. Then, you should contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney right away. They will be able to advise you on how much your case should be worth, and whether the insurance company’s offer is adequate. Unfortunately, in many cases, it isn’t. But don’t worry – an offer is just that, an offer. You have the right the ask for more compensation for your injuries, but you shouldn’t have to do so yourself.
Arguing with an insurance adjuster can not only prove stressful but also difficult. Most people aren’t experts on insurance or personal injury law and simply don’t have the knowledge to negotiate with an insurance company. Keep in mind that the insurance company employees are usually well-versed in their policies and will seem to have all the answers. The best thing you can do is acquire the services of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. They will have the skillset and knowledge to go one-on-one with the insurance company and fight to secure the settlement you need to get on with your life.
Sadly, pedestrian accidents often result in very serious injuries. When you get in an accident while riding in a car, you will have protective features like a seat belt, an airbag, and the fact that you’re surrounded by the heavy metal of the car’s body. You might get hurt anyway, but these things do reduce the risk of severe injury.
Unfortunately, a person walking down the street doesn’t have any of these protective options. So if you get hit by a car, your injuries may be extensive. Common injuries include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, head injuries including concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI), internal bleeding or bruising, and lacerations.
You should discuss this with your attorney, but here are some possible damages you may seek compensation for:
There are many factors that can contribute to pedestrian accidents. Here are some things to be aware of when walking:
If you or a loved one have been injured as a pedestrian, don’t wait – please contact Auger and Auger right away for a free consultation. We’ll look over your case and explain your options for seeking compensation. There’s no obligation. If you do choose to let us represent you, we have a zero fee guarantee – if we don’t win your case, we won’t charge you any fees. Call 855-969-5671 or contact us online today.