Don’t Hit and Run: What to Do Right After You Hit a Pedestrian With Your Car
Each year, approximately 6 million car accidents happen in America. 3 million people suffer injuries as a result, with many of them being pedestrians.
A pedestrian accident can be a shocking experience, and many drivers don’t know how to react. The potential for serious injury or fatality to the pedestrian is extremely high.
Given the possible outcomes of the car accident, the temptation to run can be overwhelming. But the worst thing you can do when you hit a pedestrian is to speed off. The penalties of a hit-and-run crime can be stiff.
So what should you do instead? Read on to find out.
Call for Medical Assistance
Your safety and that of the pedestrian should always come first. Check to see that you’re okay and not in immediate danger. Next, establish the pedestrian’s condition.
Call for medical assistance right away, and don’t leave the hit pedestrian until help arrives. Where the pedestrian is in a dangerous position, such as on the road, find ways to reduce the risk. But if the patient seems seriously hurt or is unconscious, don’t attempt to move them.
Call the Police
In almost all states, you’re required by law to call the police if you’ve caused a pedestrian accident. Stay at the scene until the police arrive. Leaving before the police arrive could lead to severe legal consequences.
Document the Car Accident
Documenting all the details of the auto accident is extremely important, particularly later when dealing with a car accident insurance claim.
Note down the pedestrian’s contact details. If there are any witnesses to what happened, take their details as well. Write down the names and badge numbers of the police officers who arrive at the scene.
Other essential details you can document include what time and date the accident occurred, the exact location of the accident, and the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident. Don’t forget to document your own version of what happened.
Photos of the scene can also be beneficial.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Another essential step to take after causing a pedestrian accident is to alert your car insurance provider about it as quickly as possible. Your insurance provider will then call the pedestrian’s lawyer on your behalf.
Take the time to go over your car insurance policy to understand both the coverage and potential liabilities.
Watch What You Say
Hitting a pedestrian is no small matter, so it’s understandable that you’re shocked. However, you need to stay calm and be careful about everything you say.
Don’t try to apologize or say anything that implies the accident was your fault. At this stage, chances are, you don’t have a complete understanding of every fact.
The last thing you want is to assume responsibility for something that may not have been your fault in the first place. The police or your insurer may find the pedestrian guilty of the accident because they were deliberately walking on the road disregarding any danger, for instance.
Certainly, you shouldn’t try to conceal or twist any facts when talking to the police about what happened. But try only to answer the questions asked without volunteering other information.
Should You Speak With an Attorney When You Hit a Pedestrian?
Yes. A pedestrian accident is a serious affair, and it’s in your best interest to navigate it with the help of a seasoned car accident lawyer.
Chances are, there are injuries involved, and those cost money in terms of medical bills, missed work time, and many other complications. Before you take any legal action or attempt to negotiate a settlement, contact an attorney’s office like Kemp Ruge & Green Law Group to represent you.
Here are some of the things your attorney can do for you.
Help Determine Fault
Note that just because you hit a pedestrian with your car doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re the party at fault. Before any civil or criminal liability is assigned to you, there will be a process of determining who’s the party at fault.
For instance, you’re driving along a street and have a green light when someone suddenly runs out in front of your car and gets hit by you. It’s likely that you won’t be held responsible for causing the accident.
However, if it’s proven that you were speeding when the accident happened, you may be held liable for the pedestrian accident.
The process of determining who’s the at-fault party can be a lengthy and complex one. An experienced attorney can gather all the needed evidence to make sure that you’re not wrongly held accountable for the accident.
Help Assess Damages
Most pedestrian accidents cause serious personal injuries to the pedestrian. But there are some cases where the pedestrian struck by the car suffers minor or nonexistent injuries. The civil or criminal penalties in such cases may be minor or nonexistent.
That said, the pedestrian may still attempt to launch a personal injury claim. Your attorney can help protect your rights in such cases.
A Lawyer Can Be Your Mediator in Your Insurance Claim
In some cases, the pedestrian suffered no damages, but the driver’s car did. If there’s evidence to show the pedestrian as the at-fault party for these damages, then it’s within your right to file a claim with your car insurance provider for these damages.
An attorney can help negotiate compensation that’s sufficient to cover the damages your car experienced in the accident.
Your Attorney Will Represent You in Court
If there’s evidence that you were the party at fault, you can expect that civil or criminal charges will be leveled against you. Don’t attempt to face these charges alone. A car accident lawsuit can be highly complicated, and the potential consequences of being found guilty can be far-reaching.
A seasoned car accident attorney has a firm grasp on the most important aspects of this kind of lawsuit. They can competently represent you in court and fight towards the most favorable outcome for you.
Can You Go to Jail for Causing a Pedestrian Car Accident?
That depends on different factors. If you’re the at-fault party, there will be consequences of some type. To shed more light on this matter, let’s delve deeper into some of these consequences.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
Supposing the pedestrian you struck with your car suffered injuries, they may file a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, you may need to make compensation to the pedestrian in regards to medical bills the pedestrian incurred, loss of wages or employment as a result of the accident, pain and suffering encountered, and so on.
Thankfully, most parties opt to settle personal injury claims out of court. If it’s determined that you weren’t committing a criminal offense when you hit the pedestrian, it’s highly likely you won’t be jailed.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Causing the death of a pedestrian is a driver’s worst nightmare. Sadly, pedestrian deaths are quite common, accounting for 17% of all crash fatalities in 2019 alone.
If the pedestrian you hit with your car didn’t survive the accident, you can expect a civil lawsuit against you. The claim aims at establishing your negligence as the driver of the car.
If you were violating the law when the pedestrian accident happened, expect criminal charges against you. The verdict will determine whether you go to jail or not.
Criminal Charges of Hit and Run
Fleeing the scene after hitting a pedestrian can result in serious penalties, including serving a jail term. It shows that you have a total disregard for life. As you’d expect, such action will incur harsh treatment.
Criminal Charges of DUI
Striking a pedestrian while you’re driving under the influence is deemed an aggravating circumstance. In most cases, you can expect that you’ll be arrested and convicted. Penalties range from heavy fines and a suspended license to jail terms.
Criminal Charges of Vehicular Manslaughter
Some pedestrian accidents are caused by reckless driving. For example, the driver runs a stop sign before hitting a pedestrian. Such behavior is deemed reckless and beyond negligence.
In such a case, criminal charges of vehicular manslaughter may be leveled against the driver. Potential penalties include serving a jail term.
Do the Right Thing If You Hit a Pedestrian
The moments following striking a pedestrian with your car can be scary and confusing. Every action you take at this time will determine what happens to the pedestrian and to you. The essential thing is to stay at the scene and avoid actions that may result in jail time.
Remaining calm after you’ve hit a pedestrian is your best course of action. Remember to seek necessary assistance, both medical and legal.
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