As a pedestrian, being involved in an accident with a motor vehicle can be terrifying. And unlike a collision involving two vehicles, where each driver has insurance, a Florida pedestrian accident victim may not know exactly where to turn for help.
Of course, a doctor can help by treating your injuries, and law enforcement can help by taking a report at the scene, but an experienced Florida pedestrian accident attorney can help you decide where to go from there. Pursuing compensation can be complicated, but having an experienced attorney on your side can take some of the pressure off you as you put your efforts into recovering from your injuries.
To give pedestrians an idea of what they should do after an accident, the Brooksville pedestrian accident lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, offer the following advice and guidelines:
Immediately After the Collision – Helping Yourself and Your Case
Your first priority after an accident should be to assess yourself to determine your injuries and whether you need emergency medical care. As you are able, you should collect information and evidence that can be used later to support the claims in your pedestrian accident lawsuit.
When Do I Need Medical Attention?
If you have been seriously injured (such as a head, neck, or spine injury) or if you are not certain as to the exact nature of your injuries, call 911 and request that an ambulance be dispatched to your location to render assistance. If you are seriously hurt, try to avoid moving. In fact, you should not move unless emergency medical personnel tell you to do so or it becomes necessary to move in order to protect yourself from further harm (such as moving out of a busy street, for example).
Who Is Involved in the Crash?
As you are able, you should obtain the name, contact information, and insurance information from the driver who hit you. Make note of the driver’s car — its make and model, license plate number, and where it appears to be damaged.
What Evidence Is Present at the Scene?
If you are able to do so, you should also obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses who say they saw the accident happen or who spoke with you or the driver after the crash. Take photographs with your phone (if you can) of the accident scene, the car that struck you, your injuries, and any traffic control signs or devices present near the crash site. These witnesses and this evidence can be useful in your pedestrian accident lawsuit.
What Should I Say?
Be careful what you say to people at the crash site. Do not admit any type of fault in the accident, as those statements may come back to haunt you as you pursue compensation for your injuries.
No matter what, your first priority should be your physical health and well-being — if you cannot safely accomplish any additional task at the crash scene, simply contact emergency medical personnel and wait for assistance.
Days and Weeks Later – Pursuing Compensation for Your Injuries
In the days, weeks, and months after the accident, there are things you must do in order to prepare and pursue your claim for compensation:
Continue with appropriate medical treatment.
If you did not go to the hospital immediately after the crash, you should be evaluated by your doctor or at a hospital as soon as possible after the crash for potential internal injuries. Make certain to follow through with any recommended treatment regimen your doctor tells you to follow.
Gather evidence of your injuries.
Keep your medical bills, receipts, timesheets showing time missed from work, and other information about the injuries and losses you suffered in a safe location. As part of your lawsuit, you will need to prove the extent of your injuries, and this evidence will be very useful in accomplishing this task.
Anticipate settlement offers.
More likely than not, you will be contacted by one or more insurance adjustors and/or attorneys and given a settlement offer to resolve your claim. Take the time to carefully review these offers with the help of your own attorney before deciding what to do. Oftentimes, you must give up certain legal rights in order to obtain the benefit of the offer. Make certain you understand what you are giving up before you accept a settlement offer.
Consider seeking legal assistance.
There is no law requiring you to have an attorney’s help in pursuing your claim for compensation. However, you may find legal counsel extremely useful in preparing and pursuing your claim. Your attorney’s knowledge of the law means he or she can investigate and pursue your lawsuit so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. The sooner you retain an attorney, the more benefit he or she can be to you.
Unfortunately, auto accidents involving pedestrians are all too common in Brooksville and across the state of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in the first three months of 2016 alone there have been about 1,700 pedestrian injuries and nearly 100 pedestrian fatalities.
The Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC, is a Brooksville, Florida, personal injury and pedestrian accident law firm dedicated to helping injured victims obtain prompt and fair compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian crash, contact us right away by phone or by using our online contact form.
Remember, there is a time limit on how long you have to file your claim, so seek assistance as soon as possible to preserve your right to pursue compensation.