You were walking on the sidewalk – or perhaps you were using a crosswalk to cross the street – when a car hit you and injured you. Now, you’re facing huge medical bills and lost wages from your job and don’t know what to do. That’s why you’re thinking about suing for your pedestrian accident.
If you want to initiate a lawsuit for your pedestrian accident but you aren’t exactly sure how to go about it, here are some actions you can take.
Gather Your Medical Records
After you get into any sort of accident, you need to go to the hospital right away to treat your injuries. Even if you don’t feel like you got injured, you never know what’s happening with your body, so it’s best to see a doctor. If your doctor prescribes you medicine or gives you a referral, make sure you do everything they say and take your medicine. Otherwise, you won’t have as strong of a case because it might not look like you took your injuries seriously. Also, if you wait to go to the doctor, the defendant could make a case that something else caused your injuries and therefore they shouldn’t be held responsible.
Collect Your Evidence
Right after a pedestrian accident, it’s best to call the police and then go to the hospital. However, if you only have minor injuries, then you should take photos of the scene of the accident, including the driver’s car and license plate and the sidewalk or street where the accident occurred. You’ll also need to collect the driver’s information and any statements from witnesses, along with their contact information in case you need to reach out to them.
Taking pictures of the scene is very important because it’ll help you prove who was responsible. For instance, the accident may not end up being the driver’s fault. If the city was doing construction and failed to put up a stop sign by a pedestrian crossing, then the driver was just driving normally when they didn’t stop for you. In another example, perhaps your driver was swerving to avoid a tree in the road and you happened to be there in a bad twist of fate. No matter what happened, evidence will help determine who was actually at fault.
Don’t Settle with the Insurance Company
After an accident, the driver’s insurance company may call you up to gather details on the incident and offer you a very small settlement. You should not tell them any details or accept a settlement because you never know how much your medical bills are going to end up costing you. Pedestrian accidents can cause back and neck pain, for instance, which require many trips to the doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor in order to heal. While it may seem like the insurance company is looking out for you, they are actually trying to pay out as little as possible, and you deserve more.
Make Sure You Aren’t at Fault
If you were jaywalking when a car hit you, then your case will likely be dismissed. Pedestrians don’t have the right to do whatever they want, and they can only hold the driver or another party accountable if they get hit while following the law and walking on a crosswalk or sidewalk. Additionally, if you were not paying attention while crossing the street or you were intoxicated, then that could hurt your case, too.
If you were using a crosswalk at night and the driver didn’t see you when they hit you, then they can still be held accountable. In the future, if you are going to walk at night, it’s a good idea to wear reflective gear, such as a vest, and to only cross at crosswalks with visible lights that will signal to drivers to stop.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
To sue for a pedestrian accident, you’ll need to hire a personal injury attorney. You’ll have an initial consultation, where your attorney will go over their experience with you and ask you questions about your case. They will disclose whether or not they charge a fee for a consultation and then let you know how much their commission will be if they win the case. Personal injury attorneys will not charge you a retainer, so you can rest assured that you won’t have to pay anything unless you get a settlement.
A personal injury attorney will help you collect your evidence and medical records and determine who to sue for your pedestrian accident, whether it’s the driver, your local government or a third party. Who you’ll name as the defendant depends upon the circumstances surrounding the case.
If a driver was using their phone when they hit you or they were intoxicated or driving recklessly, then they would most likely be named as the defendant in the case.
If a stop sign was down, the stoplights were out or the road was dangerous to drive on, then the local government could be held responsible. You’ll need to keep in mind that it’s hard to sue the government, and you may have to do it quickly in order to get your case through.
If a company was doing construction and they dropped a huge piece of equipment in the street, causing your driver to swerve around it and injure you, then you could potentially sue that company.
After looking at all the evidence and hearing your testimony, your personal injury lawyer will let you know whom you can sue. It’s possible that you could sue more than one party.
Potentially Get a Settlement
If your personal injury lawyer can successfully prove that the defendant was responsible for your pedestrian accident, then you may receive money to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. It’s possible you’ll receive money for pain and suffering as well. For instance, if you are an artist and you lost feeling in your hand – which you use every day to work – then you may be entitled to pain and suffering compensation. Your lawyer will fight for you to get as much compensation as possible without you ever having to go to court. Then, you can focus on your healing and getting back to your normal life.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia
If you were involved in a pedestrian accident and you want to pursue a lawsuit, find out how a personal injury attorney can help you by contacting the Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Winston Briggs today.