According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one pedestrian is injured in traffic every eight minutes across the United States. However, because of their inexperience in making injury claims, very few of these victims will get adequate payment for their suffering.
Mistakes to Avoid After a Pedestrian Crash
It’s understandable that you would want to brush yourself off and get to a safe place after a crash. Unfortunately, walking away from the scene can cause all kinds of problems, both for your health and your ability to recover payment. Resist the urge to go home—and don’t let the driver convince you not to call the authorities or to pay you out of pocket. Always call the police and wait exactly where you are (or move to the side of the road if it’s safe to do so) until they arrive.
Other common mistakes include:
- Not taking notes at the scene. While you’re waiting for the authorities, use your cellphone to collect vital details that will be lost once the scene is cleared away. The easiest way to do this is to record a video that shows where you are and the location and number plate of the car that hit you. If there are witnesses who saw the accident, have them speak into the camera and tell you what happened. Ask them to provide their names and contact information so they can be contacted later.
- Downplaying injuries. It’s important that you stick to the facts when giving details to the police or medical personnel. For example, never try to claim that you are “fine” before you have been evaluated by a doctor. You’ve been hit by a car, so you’re not fine—you’re in shock, and you have no way of knowing the extent of your injuries or how they will affect you in the future.
- Failing to see a doctor. No matter how minor the damage may seem, it is vital that you get proper medical attention as soon as possible. Plenty of victims have gone home from a crash scene bruised and sore, only to find themselves unable to get out of bed the next day. Waiting to see a doctor puts more than your health at risk; it also gives the at-fault driver’s insurance company leverage to deny your claim. After all, they’ll argue, if you were seriously injured, you would have gone to the hospital. If you don’t go straight to the emergency room, make sure to go to the doctor within 48 hours of the crash. The sooner you have medical documentation of your injuries, the harder it is for the insurer to blame your injuries on something other than the crash.
- Trusting an insurance company. Many people make the mistake of assuming that, since the driver was clearly at fault, the driver’s insurance company will readily pay out. In fact, the insurance carrier will do everything in its power to escape liability or reduce its share of liability for the crash. Insurance representatives are well-trained to seem sympathetic and friendly, all while asking leading questions that minimize the value of your claim. If the insurance company contacts you, refer them to your attorney. Do not agree to give a recorded statement, don’t provide them with details they’re not entitled to, and don’t sign release forms or medical records authorizations.
- Not following a doctor’s advice. Insurers will look for evidence that you are exaggerating your injuries, so don’t try to “tough it out” by skipping follow-up appointments or rushing back to work. Always follow the restrictions set by your doctor, and be honest about the pain and limitations your injury is causing.
- Accepting a quick settlement. Beware of an insurance agent who wants to settle quickly. A fast settlement is rarely a full settlement; it’s more likely to be the insurance company’s way of getting you to accept less than you deserve.
- Posting to social media. It is tempting to post significant updates from your day on social media. Social media is a great way to reach out to others for support and sympathy when you are hurt. Resist. Every word you post on social media will be scrutinized by lawyers and insurance companies down the road and used to minimize your injuries or blame you for them.
Let Me Help You on the Road to Recovery
If you decide to retain me as your counsel, I will do everything possible to protect you from missteps that can hurt your chances of compensation. You can ask me any questions in your free consultation, and you will not owe me any attorney fees until I get you a settlement for your injuries. Contact me today to get started.