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Hitting a pedestrian is most drivers’ worst nightmare. The potential for serious injuries when a car strikes a person can be very high, and the possible outcomes of a bad accident can be too horrible to contemplate.
However, as with any car accident, there are particular steps that a driver should try to follow. Hitting a pedestrian is, understandably, a shocking experience, but it is better to try to respond calmly and methodically to ensure the best possible outcome.
Having established that you are okay and not in any immediate danger, it is important to establish the condition of the pedestrian who has been hit. You should call for medical help and stay with the pedestrian until help arrives. If they are in a hazardous position – on the road, for example – you should try to minimize the risk. However, do not try to move them if they are unconscious or seriously hurt.
If you hit a pedestrian with your car, you should call the police. In many states this is a legal requirement. You should also never leave the scene until they arrive. Leaving the scene before this could have serious legal consequences, and could be considered a hit-and-run accident involving criminal charges.
Documenting the details of the accident will be very important during any later insurance claim. You should try to note down:
It can also be useful to take photos of the accident scene to record details of how it happened. Photographs of damage to property may also be relevant.
It is important that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident. They will be able to communicate with the pedestrian’s attorney on your behalf. You or your attorney will also want to look at your insurance policy to understand your coverage and possible liabilities.
You may be understandably shocked after hitting a pedestrian, but it’s important to try to remain calm and aware of what you say. Do not apologize for the accident or imply that it was your fault. You may not have a full understanding of all the facts and may end up assuming liability for an incident that was not your fault.
It is possible that the police and your insurance company may find that the pedestrian was at fault for the accident – for example, because they were jaywalking or deliberately walking on the road with no regard for the danger.
Of course, you should be honest and straightforward when telling your version of the events to police. If you were breaking traffic laws when the accident happened, you might face serious charges. Trying to point fingers elsewhere may not help your case, even if the pedestrian is found at fault for the incident.
An experienced car accident attorney will be able to advise you further on the statements you should and shouldn’t make after a car accident.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified car accident lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local car accident attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.