I Was Hit by a Car as a Pedestrian. What Should I Do?

If you were hit by a car, get immediate medical attention and continue receiving treatment for as long as you are advised to. File a police report and carefully track your injuries and related expenses. If possible, take pictures at the accident scene and collect as much information from the at-fault driver as possible. You should also consider contacting a pedestrian accident lawyer near you —the sooner you contact one, the better.

As a pedestrian hit by a car, it can be hard to know what to do. When a personal injury law firm handles your case, you do not have to navigate the claims/lawsuit process alone. They can help you identify the at-fault driver, obtain, organize, and present the evidence establishing their negligence, and seek damages for your pedestrian accident insurance claim or lawsuit.

Lawyers can handle your case while you heal

Your legal team will help you build the foundation of your case and prove both the at-fault driver’s negligence and your right to financial recovery.

They also help surviving family members of pedestrians fatally injured in car accidents. They help your family fight for justice for your lost loved one and for the financial compensation you are entitled to receive.

They can:

  • Handle communication and negotiations with the insurance company
  • Collect, sort, organize, and submit evidence of the at-fault driver’s liability
  • Request, organize, and review your immediate and ongoing medical records
  • Determine the range of values for damages for your particular claim

Your legal team can take care of all the details and minutia of building, preparing, and filing your pedestrian accident case. They can also make sure your case is filed within the time limits of the Limitations Act. They work hard to negotiate a favourable settlement that allows you to avoid a lengthy and costly trial.

Why Comply with the Limitations Act

The process of resolving your pedestrian accident case can take time. Time is determined not only by your legal team’s actions but by the action  and inaction of the insurance company. Your legal team will do everything they can to settle in a timely and favourable manner. 

The process typically involves:

  • Consultation
  • Investigation
  • Evidence compilation
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Litigation in court if a settlement cannot be reached

The Limitations Act defines the amount of time you have to file a personal injury case against the at-fault driver. Understanding the appropriate filing deadline can be complicated, so the best way to understand how it applies to your case is to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Understanding the Additional Benefits of Legal Representation

An insurance company may try to place blame on you for the accident to avoid paying a settlement. Or, the insurance company may attempt to minimize your injuries suffered in a pedestrian accident. Your injury lawyer is on your side and can work to gather the evidence that proves you were not at fault. The evidence may include witness statements, details of the operation of red-light cameras and intersection safety devices, where available as well as engineering analysis.

Your injury lawyer should be committed to helping clients like you who suffer immediate or sustained losses of income due to their injuries and recovery. They should explain and  establish the income loss you suffer from the injuries caused by the accident. 

They can also help you stand up to your private, long-term disability insurance provider if your injuries are permanent and meet the threshold for catastrophic injuries and you are denied benefits.

Insist on Filing a Police Report

Drivers should always be alert, aware, and patient when pedestrians are crossing the street. When they are not and an accident occurs, always ensure you file a car/auto accident report. This helps to preserve early evidence of what happened and avoids the problem of the at-fault driver attempting to change their version of events later on. When the police/collision report is processed and ready, your injury lawyer can obtain a copy of your police report.

The collision report will tell your injury lawyer crucial details, including:

  • The at-fault driver’s name and contact details
  • Contact information from their insurance company
  • Vehicle registration and identification information

It may also tell your lawyer the condition of the car, the physical and cognitive condition of the driver, and whether or not distractions, drugs, or alcohol were involved in the collision. If the driver failed to yield the right of way, ignored traffic signs and signals, or committed any other traffic infractions, your police report may tell us.

Your lawyer can obtain a copy of your report and review it alongside your medical records. Together, these reports create a picture of the seriousness of your injuries and the way they will change your ability to care for yourself, engage in activities you previously enjoyed, and return to your preferred career. The impact of these changes will help your lawyer assign a financial value to your overall personal injury case.

Ensure Your Medical Records Are Complete and Accurate

Your lawyer will request copies of your comprehensive medical file to confirm the nature and cause of your injuries and their expected long-term impact. Your medical records can prove post-accident changes in your physical and cognitive abilities. Therefore, it is critical to continue to report your ongoing complications from the accident injuries. 

If you are injured in an accident, do not hesitate to get immediate, emergency medical attention. You should also get all follow-up medical care—do not stop going to the doctor until you are instructed to do so or until you are recovered. 

Being cognizant of your health care and sticking to your treatment plan will help ensure optimal recovery.

Assign an Appropriate Value to Your Case

Because of the nature of the impact between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, injuries and income losses after a pedestrian accident can be extensive and long-term. In some cases, your injuries may prevent you from returning to work and sometimes, for a prolonged period of time. If that happens, your lawyer can help you fight for damages that stem from the loss of past income as well as loss of future income and future earning capacity.

Your lawyer uses various records including your direct deposit receipts, pay stubs, tax records, and other financial data to establish your lost wages and other forms of income loss. Sometimes, experts are retained to quantify income loss claims. 

Calculate the Value of Your Post-Accident Pain and Suffering

The injuries you sustain from the accident can have a long-lasting effect on your life. The damages your lawyer can request for your pain and suffering are based on how your injuries led to pain and suffering as well as a loss of enjoyment of life. Your lawyer will use your medical evidence covering various aspects of your injuries, prognosis and ongoing assessments of your condition to determine the value of this portion of your case.

Pain and suffering damages include the physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive damages and the toll they take on you. If your family lost a loved one, it also includes your having to cope with their loss, the value of the dependency on that lost loved one and statutory damages. 

Understanding the Complexities of Wrongful Death Damages

Wrongful death damages vary greatly from family to family.

Wrongful death damages can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Grief counselling and other forms of emotional support
  • Loss of the deceased family member’s financial and other  contributions to the family

Given the extreme emotional circumstances of a wrongful death claim, you should not speak to the at-fault insurance company at all without speaking to a lawyer first. Your legal team can deal with the insurance process in its entirety, so you do not have to.

One of your lawyer’s goals should be to ensure you have time to focus on your recovery without the added stress and strain of coping with legal and insurance matters.

Your Lawyer Can Protect You Throughout the Financial Settlement Process

The at-fault driver’s insurance company will typically offer a low settlement if you try to settle directly with them. That process can create a lot of angst and unpleasant feelings especially when you don’t know the value of your claim but you generally feel like you’re being lowballed. This is why you should consult with a lawyer. Your lawyer can determine a fair settlement based on the elements and circumstances of your case. When your lawyer represents you, he/she knows the law on damages and can take the necessary steps to prove your damages. That includes your lawyer taking steps to obtain, read, and review the medical records and reports that document your injuries and their consequences and doing research on caselaw to establish your damages.

Your lawyer will interview you thoroughly to understand with compassion how your injuries have impacted you. They will seek opinions and rely on medical evidence from your health care team and experts to better understand the impact your injuries will continue to have on you and your anticipated recovery time and overall prognosis.

Where necessary, your lawyer will also listen to witnesses who help bolster your case and whose statements may help steer negotiations in your favour.

Overview of Pedestrian Accidents

When cars and pedestrians meet at intersections, both parties need to pay attention to ensure safe crossing. When drivers collide with pedestrians, the pedestrians are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or fatal outcomes.

Generally, most pedestrian deaths are preventable. A lawyer can help injured pedestrians and their families seek compensation for the changes their injuries and recovery force on their lives.

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Safe roads depend on alert drivers and pedestrians.

According to Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) research, some commonly reported driver behaviours that lead to accidents include:

  • Drivers who fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians
  • Drivers who are distracted or otherwise inattentive
  • Drivers who speed, which can lead to more serious injuries

The speed of the car in question can affect the severity and extent of pedestrian injuries.

Common Locations of Pedestrian Accidents

According to Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics, there were 332 pedestrians fatally injured in car accidents in 2018. Understanding the cause of pedestrian accidents can help avoid their recurrence. It can also help your lawyer to understand common accident causes when investigating your collision.

TIRF research also cites:

  • As many as 75 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas
  • Pedestrian accidents often occur in or near intersections as pedestrians attempt to cross
  • Pedestrian accidents are also likely to occur at bus stops, in school zones, and on multi-lane roads

In addition to inattention and distractions, visibility may also play a role in pedestrian accidents. Statistics show that more than half occur at night or in poor lighting conditions. When pedestrians are on the road at night, drivers must practice extra care. Considering the kind of long tough winters Alberta experiences with icy roads, difficult stopping distances and poor visibility, among other peculiar issues, pedestrian accidents can result in significant injuries.  If drivers fail to drive safely considering these particular concerns, they face financial culpability for resulting accidents.

Pedestrian Accident Injuries

The injuries you sustain due to a car accident can be extensive for several reasons—the size and weight of the car, its speed on impact, and the fact that, as a pedestrian, you have nothing to protect you in the way the driver and passengers have seat belts and airbags.

Severe injuries include:

  • Brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Pinched nerve damage
  • Temporary or permanent paralysis
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Internal hemorrhaging
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Lasting physical disfigurement

You might also experience broken bones and a phenomenon called road rash, which comes from the tearing of the skin when the victim is in contact with and slides across the pavement. Your lawyer can prove the gravity of your injuries and the toll they could take on your life.

Find Out More with a Case Review

If you or someone you love was hit by a car, a pedestrian accident lawyer can help you seek compensation. Find out how to get started and learn more about how they can assist you by connecting with one during a free consultation.

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