I Was Hit by a Car While I Was Crossing the Street…What Should I Do?
Being a pedestrian in Virginia puts you in a vulnerable position. You are at the mercy of all the drivers around you – many of which drive distracted, drowsy or drunk. A single moment of driver carelessness could change your life. You could suffer a serious or catastrophic injury, including damage to your spine, brain or internal organs. If a car hit you while you were crossing the street in Virginia, you have rights. The driver may owe you compensation for failing to yield to the right-of-way. Take steps towards achieving justice through a personal injury claim with the help of a Richmond pedestrian accident attorney.
Move Out of the Street
Getting hit by a car can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Try to remain calm and move to a safe location, out of the street. A witness or the driver may be able to help you move if you have injuries. Do not let anyone move you if you feel pain in your back or cannot feel your legs. Aggravating a spinal cord injury could make it worse. Instead, call an ambulance and stay where you are until paramedics arrive.
Call the Police
Do not let the driver of the motor vehicle convince you not to call the police. In Virginia, you must call the police and report a crash if it causes any injuries. Since the vehicle most likely injured you in some way, call 911 to report the collision. Calling the police can also protect you by creating an official record of the crash. The police can gather evidence on your behalf, as well as key details such as the driver’s name and insurance information. Not calling the police could hurt your insurance claim, as most insurance providers need police report numbers to validate claims.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you think you do not have any injuries, do not jump to this conclusion. Do not let the driver leave because you think you are uninjured. The adrenaline in your body from the crash could be masking symptoms of a serious injury, such as a broken bone, back injury or concussion. Instead, say you do not know if you have injuries and wish to see a doctor. Tell the driver to stay at the scene until the police and paramedics arrive.
You may need evidence to build a case against the at-fault driver later. Although the police can collect important information for you, taking it upon yourself to at least get photos could strengthen your case. Take photographs of the car, the street, your injuries and any important details (e.g. a broken crosswalk signal). Photographs can present strong, inarguable evidence of damages such as your personal injuries or a totaled bicycle.
Call an Insurance Company
Virginia has a variation of the no-fault insurance rule in place. If you elected to add no-fault insurance to your policy, you will call your insurance provider after an accident, regardless of fault. Otherwise, you will call the at-fault driver’s auto insurer. Either way, be careful what you say to the insurance company. Do not accept fault for the collision and do not say yes to the first settlement offer. Insurance companies often try to lowball clients’ payouts. First, speak to an attorney to learn more about your case.
Contact a Richmond Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
An insurance settlement may not yield enough compensation if you suffered severe or life-threatening injuries. The insurance company may refuse to offer a reasonable settlement or may deny coverage completely. A lawyer can help you negotiate a better settlement from you or the driver’s insurance provider. If negotiations fail, your lawyer will have the power to file a civil claim in court on your behalf. A personal injury trial could be the answer to achieving justice and compensation from a negligent or at-fault driver.