Seven steps to take if you are the victim of a pedestrian crash

A pedestrian was critically injured earlier this month when he was hit by a drunk driver in Wheaton. The man was struck by the car while he was walking across the entrance to a driveway. The 25-year-old driver was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Maryland drivers are involved in almost 3,000 pedestrian crashes annually. More than 86 percent of those crashes result in injury or death.

If you are walking and get hit by a 2-ton moving vehicle, you are likely to sustain severe injuries that could impact your life for years to come. What steps should you take if you are hit by a motor vehicle while walking?

Seek medical attention right away

Obviously, if you are seriously injured, call 911 or have someone do it for you. If not, you should still visit your healthcare practitioner the same day if possible – you may have suffered internal injuries or fractures that you are not aware of.

Get off the street

If you are able to ambulate, you and the offending driver – assuming he has stopped – should move your conversation to the sidewalk or side of the road. You don’t want to be the victim of another accident caused by gawkers passing by.

If the driver has stopped, ask him to remain until the police arrive, even if you don’t think you are seriously injured.

What if the driver does not stop? Try to memorize the license plate, or snap a photo of it if you can. Also make note of the make, model and color of the vehicle.

Call the police

Traffic accidents should always be reported to the police, and don’t wait until later – make the report while you are at the scene of the accident, or it may be too late.

A police report regarding the accident is an important document if you file an insurance claim or take legal action down the road.

Ask for witnesses to remain at the scene

Accidents are often witnessed by other pedestrians or drivers. As soon as you calm down and are thinking clearly, loudly request anyone who witnessed the accident to remain at the scene. Police will likely want to talk to them, and it doesn’t hurt for you to collect their personal information as well.

Get pertinent information from the driver

Ask the driver for all of the same basic information you would want if you were in an auto collision, including:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email address
  • Driver’s license information
  • Insurance information
  • License plate number

Take photos of the scene

Assuming you have your cellphone with you (and you should when out walking), take pictures of the driver and his car, as well as the accident scene itself. If there are any witnesses, and they agree to be recorded, you could record their recollections of what happened.

File an insurance claim

If you are the victim of a pedestrian crash, you may have to deal with medical bills and loss of wages due to an absence from work. Filing a claim with the driver’s insurance company may lead to reimbursement of those costs.

Remember, an insurance company is always going to try and negotiate the lowest payout possible, as quickly as possible. Everything you say can affect the final dollar figure of that payout.

Consulting a personal injury attorney about your accident is always a smart move. Not only do they handle the legal aspects of these claims on a daily basis and can help you get the full compensation that you deserve, they can also provide advice on any further legal action you may want to take.