Colorado’s rate of fatal pedestrian accidents has nearly doubled in the past decade, according to a study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and AAA Colorado. Like other areas in the nation, this increase in people getting hit by a car is most evident in urban areas, particularly in mid-block locations along major roads. AAA Colorado’s Director of Public Affairs, Skyler McKinley, noted that the state is populated by people who live active, outdoor lifestyles, and regularly engage in walking, biking, and hiking.
Unfortunately, the state has also seen an increase in population and grapples with aging roads that were not built to handle the volume and variety of the traffic found here.
Pedestrians and bicyclists who have been hit by a car can seek compensation for the financial and emotional costs of the injuries they sustain through a personal injury lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court that attempts to prove liability as well as to show the expenses and quality-of-life impacts that the victim has incurred. There are a number of things a claimant can do to increase the likelihood of obtaining the maximum amount of compensation available to them.
Here are five things you need to do after getting hit by a car.
1. Get as Much Information from the Driver and the Scene as Possible
Roadway users — regardless of whether they’re driving a motor vehicle or traveling by foot or bike — are required by law to remain at the scene of the accident until information has been exchanged with other parties involved and the police arrive to make a report. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), about one in five pedestrian accidents involving a motor vehicle is a hit-and-run accident, meaning the driver left the scene without checking to see if the pedestrian was injured, providing the necessary information for the pedestrian, and waiting for the police to arrive.
The information you need to obtain from the driver, if they remain on the scene, includes:
- Full name and contact information
- Make, model, year, and color of the vehicle
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- The driver’s insurance provider and policy number
Additional information you can collect at the scene includes photos of any visible injuries you sustained, photos of damage to the vehicle, and photos that reveal the weather, time of day, and traffic conditions when the accident occurred.
2. Get a Medical Evaluation (Even If You Don’t Feel Seriously Hurt)
One of the most important things to do after you have been hit by a car is to get a medical evaluation. The main reason to do so is because pedestrian accidents frequently cause serious injuries, including some injuries that can present with delayed symptoms. Additionally, the adrenaline rush you experienced in the accident will likely mask the true level of pain you are experiencing for several hours. This can lead you to believe that your injuries are less serious and can even place you at risk for further damage or complications if left untreated.
3. Document Everything
Seeking compensation for expenses related to your injury requires that you prove those expenses. Document EVERYTHING pertaining to your prognosis, any bills you receive for medical treatment, receipts you receive for prescriptions, the amount in wages you lost because you were too injured to work, and any other cost or information about the severity of your injury and the services or treatments your physician is prescribing.
4. Be Careful Talking to Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters are employed by insurance companies to review claims and determine if the claim should be paid, and how much should be paid on the claim. In other words: They don’t work for you, and their job is to pay you as little as possible. Insurance adjusters can use any information you provide to do their jobs, which means you need to be very careful about what you say. Some of the common insurance tactics include:
- Offering a low settlement in exchange for a quick resolution, before the victim has had time to get the full picture of expenses and impacts they will incur.
- Telling the claimant that they must accept a settlement offer by a certain date or they will be unable to obtain compensation.
- Convincing a claimant to sign a medical release form that authorizes the adjuster to see their full medical history.
5. An Experienced Pedestrian Accident Lawyer is Crucial to Your Case
Personal injury attorneys spend years obtaining the training and experience needed to provide quality services to their clients. A car accident lawyer not only understands the type of compensation that is necessary to cover the expenses and impacts associated with injuries resulting from being hit by a car, but also understands the court requirements that must be adhered to in order to have a successful outcome.
For more information on the services we can provide to assist you in seeking compensation, or for answers to the questions you have about your case, contact us right away.