I Was Hit by a Car — Now What?

Even if you drive everywhere you go in Las Vegas, you become a pedestrian at some point in your day. You stroll along city sidewalks and jog to the park. You walk through shopping centers and across parking lots. Walking is an easy aerobic exercise and it’s a cost-free way to reach your destination. Unfortunately, as a pedestrian, you’re at risk of being hit by a car each time you cross the street or navigate a public space.

A single encounter with a negligent driver can leave you with serious or catastrophic injuries, costly medical bills, and impairments that change your life.

Pedestrian Accidents in Las Vegas

The most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that of the 59 traffic fatalities in the Las Vegas Metro area, 23 were pedestrians. As the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety explains, increased traffic, moderate congestion, millions of tourists, and limited pedestrian facilities contribute to rising pedestrian accident numbers in the area.

Pedestrian accidents are a problem across the country. Nationally, the NHTSA’s statistics show that one pedestrian traffic fatality occurs every 84 minutes. Their recent annual statistics reveal that 6,283 pedestrians lost their lives in vehicle crashes.

What Should You Do If You’re Hit by a Car?

When you’re a pedestrian, you must be watchful and cautious. There’s always a chance that a distracted, drunk, or speeding driver will take you by surprise. If you’re hit by a car, it’s important to retain as much control over the situation as you can. First, make sure you’re not in the street and in additional danger. Next, if your phone is working, dial 911 for police assistance and request an ambulance so there’s no delay.

If You’re Hit By a Car Never Admit Fault

In the hectic atmosphere following an accident, injured people often respond impulsively. Some automatically say “I’m sorry.” Others admit fault without fully understanding the liability issues. Before you say something you regret, remember that your words will likely end up in a police report.

Whatever you say at an accident scene could jeopardize your right to recover damages when you make a claim. Courts, police officers, and insurance companies often perceive polite, post-accident apologies as admissions of fault. Whether you’re talking to a witness, a bystander, or a police officer, never say anything that sounds like you might have caused or contributed to your own injuries.

Document Whatever You Can

A pedestrian accident attorney can conduct a thorough investigation on your behalf. In the meantime, you should do whatever you can to prove your version of what happened. Drivers leave the scene. Witnesses fade into the crowd. Accident scenes begin to change immediately. It’s important to preserve whatever proof you can while you have the opportunity.

If you’re physically able, document relevant information. If you can’t do it yourself, ask a bystander for assistance. Your phone is a great investigative tool.

  • Take photos of the vehicle that hit you, the car’s license plate, the accident scene, and anything else you can.
  • Take a picture of the vehicle operator, his/her driver’s license, and insurance card.
  • Ask witnesses to add their numbers or email addresses to your phone contact list.
  • Use your phone’s digital recorder to explain what happened and describe your injuries.

Get Immediate Medical Attention

Even if you don’t feel injured, never say “I’m Okay.” Get an opinion from a medical professional. Some injuries present immediate symptoms, while others take days to manifest. Depending on a vehicle’s speed and body type, a vehicle impact can shove you, throw you to the pavement, or roll you onto the car’s hood. The most severe impacts can injure multiple body parts and cause internal injuries. Your age, height, and physical condition also determine how well your body can withstand the impact.

Know the Signs of Traumatic Brain Injury

A blow to the head or a severe body jolt often causes a mild TBI (more commonly known as a concussion.) Emergency Room professionals often focus on visible external injuries and damage they can see on an X-ray or a scan. It’s usually up to you to report mild brain injury symptoms. These are the most common symptoms of an mTBI/concussion.

  • Thinking/Remembering: Concentration difficulties, short term memory issues, lack of clarity
  • Physical: Headaches, dizziness, vision difficulties, balance issues
  • Emotional/Mood: Irritability, anxiety, mood changes
  • Sleep: Sleeping more or less than usual, trouble sleeping

When a person sustains a moderate to severe TBI, the symptoms vary and increase in intensity. The injured person often loses consciousness and experiences impairments that last a lifetime.

Report the Accident to Your Auto Insurer

Even if you are a pedestrian when you get hurt, you may have auto insurance coverages that apply.

Medical Payments Coverage

Many personal auto policies have a medical benefit that pays when an insured is injured in an auto accident. Even if you have other health coverage, your auto policy medical payments benefit can help you cover your deductible and co-pays.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy, it will pay your liability injury claim under certain circumstances:

  • The person who hit you has no liability coverage.
  • The driver who hit you left the scene without identifying himself
  • The liability insurer denies the driver’s coverage or becomes insolvent.
  • The negligent driver is underinsured because they have less than the state-required liability coverage minimum.

Personal auto insurers in Nevada must offer Uninsured Motorists coverage to new insurance applicants, but they don’t have to purchase it.

Contact a Pedestrian Accident Attorney

As you decide how to move forward with your injury claim, you should consult with a pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys investigate accidents, evaluate liability issues, and protect their clients’ legal rights while they take the time to heal.

As you’ll establish a close working relationship with your lawyer, you must select a professional with whom you feel comfortable. You should also have confidence in your choice of legal representatives. They will interact with insurers, negotiate your case, and they may eventually present your case in a courtroom. Our attorneys will fight for you and our team of case managers will make sure to help you every step of the way.

If you have been hit by a car or injured in any other accident be sure to contact us right away for a case consultation.

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