What happens if you get hit by a car? Whether it’s a hit and run or not, it can be devastating. It’s important to learn your legal options and next steps.
Have you been hit by a car and are seeking legal assistance? Are you struggling to work or function after the injuries and need financial compensation? Then you need to know your legal options and the next steps to take.
When you get hit by a car, it can be a traumatic experience that has both mental and physical impacts. Make sure you take the right steps by reading our must-know guide below.
1. Ensure Your Safety
The first step to take after you are hit by a car is to ensure the safety of you and anyone else involved in the accident, should you be fit and able enough to do so. First, check your injuries. If you are able to walk, then move out of the way of traffic to a safe place at the side of the road, and lay down.
If you smell leaking gas, or there are any other hazards such as fire, move as far away from them as possible. The driver of the vehicle may be just as shocked as you. Tell them to turn off the engine, switch on their hazards lights, and move away from the car.
Cover yourself in blankets or jackets to stay warm. You may encounter a shock, and keeping warm is vital in this situation. Shock can also cloud your judgment, so give yourself time to calm down, take stock, and keep a clear head.
Make sure you or someone around has called emergency services, the most vital of which is an ambulance. There are arguments for and against waiting for care, and someone may offer to drive you to an emergency room. As you will need to speak to police officers, we advise waiting for the police and ambulance to arrive at the scene.
If you do travel to a hospital, make sure that you go to emergency care. You need to make sure that you receive a report of the accident from anyone who treats you, as this will be a crucial record later down the line.
Even if you do not feel injured, you still need checking over. Many injuries and problems can arise after the accident, particularly if you were in shock and the body has blocked out the pain. If you do not get checked over immediately and something later arises, it could jeopardize your legal case.
Note that even if the incident was minor, in many states it is a legal requirement to report the accident. regardless of the extent of your injuries or any damage, you should report the occurrence in the correct manner.
2. Get Records of the Incident
The more credible, documented evidence you have of the event, the better your legal standing will be. You will need to present these documents to your lawyer and the insurance companies, to get you the necessary compensation. The better the documentation, the more power you will have to file for a higher amount.
Collecting this evidence may be hard at the time of the accident, and should always take second priority to your safety. Hopefully, the police and ambulance services will collect much of the evidence which you can later use. The most important information to collect is the driver’s details, including their license plate, name, contact details, vehicle information, and insurance details.
Make sure that you speak to the police officer who arrives to investigate the accident. Make sure you get their name and badge number, as you may need to conduct follow-ups later down the line.
Other evidence you will need are statements from witnesses. They may have spotted something that no one else has done. It is vital that their contact information is also supplied.
Photographs should also include shots of the accident scene. This can help create a much better picture of the roads and conditions in the area. They should include a range of different places and angles.
Try to gather extra details about the scene of the ancient and include them in photographs if possible. Show where the accident occurred, if it is near any crossroads or obstructions, the driving conditions, and any other relevant information. If there is any damage to the surrounding property, take a picture and try to record the time of the accident.
Finally, think back to just before the accident and if possible, observe the driver. Does anything indicate that they may have impaired driving skills, such as being under the influence? If you suspect this, then make sure the police know so they can perform the necessary testing.
If you saw them before the accident, try to remember if they were distracted. Perhaps they were using a mobile phone or seemed distracted by others in the vehicle. Make sure you also inform the police of this.
After you have left the scene, it is important to make sure you get three essential evidence pieces. The first is the medical report from the doctor who treats you. Then make sure you take pictures of your injuries, to back up any written claims.
The next is the police report. This may take a while to put together, as you may have to go and give your version of events after the incident has happened and you have received medical attention.
3. Use Words Wisely
After the crash, trying to choose your words wisely is imperative. This can be extremely hard, as you may be in pain or injured. However, anything you say and do could be used as evidence against you.
When talking to the police, driver, or witnesses, be very careful with the language and words you are choosing. Not only could you say something incriminating, but it can also sway people’s version of the events, even if you do not mean to do so.
Stay away from social media and posting details about your accident. Social media is not a place to air your grievances and it may contradict your claims. It can also be seen as trying to sway opinion, and if the driver is known to you on social networks it could badly damage your legal standing.
Pictures on social media are also a no go area. If you are claiming to be seriously injured and people post pictures of you enjoying life, it is counterproductive to your case. Even seemingly innocuous pictures can be misconstrued in the same way.
4. Contacting Insurance Companies After You Get Hit by a Car
Once you are safe and healthy, it is time to call insurance companies. Not only do you have to make contact with the driver’s insurers, but you should also check your own insurance policies. Even if you were not in the car you may still get some medical compensation from this.
When you get medical attention, let the providers know if you have health insurance or not. Make sure they bill your medical insurance providers directly, so you do not end up out of pocket or saddled with expenses. Avoid giving medical providers any information about the claim or auto insurance information.
5. Find a Trusted Attorney
Once the accident has happened and your injuries have been dealt with, contact an attorney. The quicker you do this, the better, as it ensures that there is less likelihood of evidence being lost or destroyed. They will begin by looking at all the evidence you have provided, then starting their own investigation.
The attorney will look at all the documentation provided. This could be police and medical reports, and documents from the insurance companies. They will also ask you for your versions of events and discuss how the injuries and accident have impacted your day to day life.
Accidents of this nature can often be more damaging than a car accident, as you do not have the protection inherent in being inside a vehicle. The injuries could place psychological, physical, and financial constraints on you that the attorney will fight to get compensation for. If it is deemed necessary, they can also file a lawsuit against the damaging party on your behalf.
Once you get hit by a car, time is of the essence to get the correct compensation you deserve. Any attorney you contact should have great references and testimonials, and good standing as a legal representative in your local area.
Fitzpatrick & Associates is a local Boston firm that has been representing the area since 2003. Our team has the experience and expertise to fight your injury case. Contact us today so we can work together to get the compensation you deserve.