There are many things you need to know when you accidentally hit a pedestrian. Keeping those in mind will help not make matters worse. You should know that you may be exposed in both criminal and civil liability, even without visible injuries.
Pedestrians may just come out of nowhere, and it is your duty to hit the brakes or to steer clear of hitting them. However, when you were unable to avoid them in time and it resulted in an accident with a pedestrian, then you may be in trouble.
Things You Should Do Legally as a Car Driver If You’ve Accidentally Hit a Pedestrian
The best and practical way to deal with car accidents that involve pedestrians is avoiding them entirely or what can be known as defensive driving. However, given the precautions, if you still hit a pedestrian, try to stay calm. Breathe deeply and evaluate the situation. Then, remember what you must do legally as a car driver if you accidentally hit a pedestrian:
Safety comes first
Get the injured pedestrian to a safe place such as the side of the road and away from the traffic. Do not attempt to perform any medical treatment. Although, you can do what is required in an emergency such as first-aid, or CPR. The following are what you must do, and not do after hitting a pedestrian:
- Stop your car: Never attempt to run after hitting a pedestrian. It is unlawful for a driver to run from the scene of an accident where there is an injured pedestrian involved. Patiently wait at the scene and exchange information with the pedestrian. Likewise, wait for the police, and other medical units.
- Never hide nor throw away evidence: All evidence must be preserved, and we mean anything that can be relevant to the investigation of the accident or injury.
- Get out, and check for injuries: If possible, get out of your vehicle, turn on the emergency lights, and assess the situation. Check yourself and the pedestrian for injuries.
Seek Legal and Medical Help
After making sure the pedestrian is safe, and assessing the situation, call the police, emergency medical team, and auto insurance providers. If you think you will possibly face criminal charges, such as driving under the influence, then contact an attorney if possible.
- Call the police: Always contact the police when accidents occur. It is important that you acquire statements from all parties involved and speak with any potential witness because they can be useful when the police arrive. Even if the pedestrian refuses to exchange information, or walks away, you should still contact the police to avoid being accused of a hit and run.
- Cooperate with emergency responders and law enforcement: Avoid getting in their way or aggravating any injuries. Doing so will only make matters so much worse.
Exchange contact information
If the pedestrian is not disabled or incapacitated, exchange personal information such as names, contact numbers, address, and insurance information.
- Do not say too much: Avoid communicating extensively with the pedestrian, their family members, and friends. Also, do not say sorry, show any remorse or guilt as they can use that to file a personal injury lawsuit against you.
- Speak with potential witnesses: If there are any witnesses, make sure to get their contact information in case they leave before law enforcement arrives. Their statements can help you with your case. If you cannot acquire any witness accounts, the police officer will not include this information in their report.
- Do not speak with their lawyer and auto insurance company: Further, avoid from speaking directly to the pedestrian’s auto insurance company or attorney. Instead, let your auto insurance agency and lawyer communicate with the pedestrian, their attorney and auto insurance company.
Take photographs as evidence
Again, never hide or remove any evidence. Instead, take pictures of the damages and injuries caused by the accident. Also, make sure to take pictures of the setting and the surroundings. Read some tips on how to take photos from an accident scene to know how you can capture and present your evidence better.
Consult an attorney
The most important legal thing to do when involved in any vehicular accident is to contact a personal injury attorney. The experienced attorney can guide you through the whole legal process.
Meanwhile, do not discuss the accident with anyone without the attorney’s authorization. Likewise, do not agree to any settlement without discussing and understanding the terms with your lawyer.
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Annie Gray writes topics on law subjects that can help the common reader understand them better. She keeps herself fit and healthy by jogging during her free time.