For a pedestrian or a cyclist out on the roadways, one of the worst fears is getting hit by a car. When it does happen, it is scary. Cars can travel very fast, and while in a car-on-car collision there are quite a few safety devices between you and harm, pedestrians and cyclists have no such protection between them and a large, heavy vehicle. Even at low speeds, they can cause severe injuries.
In the first moments after an accident, it can be hard to think things through. The pedestrian may be injured, or frightened, or shocked. But as any personal injury lawyer can tell you, those first few minutes are crucial.
Step One: Call 911
Requesting both ambulance and police assistance is very important. The ambulance can provide limited medical care and determine if the injured person needs emergency care. Most people will know that they need to call for an ambulance, but it is also important to request the police too. The police are especially important because they can take statements, determine the precise cause of the accident and write up a police report that may be requested by insurance companies later on. Either a bystander or one of the affected parties can make that call, but it should always be the first thing to get done. After calling 911, you will also want to start thinking about an accident attorney to advise you on your legal rights.
Step Two: Get Contact Information
Once the police are on their way, you will want to exchange information. The pedestrian will need the driver's name, address, phone number, and insurance information at the minimum and should get all of that as soon as possible. If not, you may find yourself being taken away in an ambulance before having the information in hand. The police will follow the same procedure when they arrive. The same goes for any bystanders or witnesses to the accident. Their statements can be pivotal if there is any kind of dispute between the driver and the pedestrian, so you will need to know how to contact them later on.
Take Pictures at the Scene
When it comes to a personal injury lawsuit, there are two points of contention. Who is at fault, and what sort of damage was done. The fault will be determined by the law, usually based on testimony and the police reports if there was any illegal activities such as speeding or a DUI. Damage is a little trickier, but if your personal injury lawyer can show the jury photos that were taken at the scene of how bad the injuries were, there is a better chance that things will go in your favor.
So while it may feel grotesque, after getting the contact information for the other parties and while waiting for the police to arrive, get photos. The more you can prove of what happened and what caused it, the better, whether you take the pictures yourself or have a trusted bystander do it for you. Photos at the jury trial stage tend to lead to higher settlements than cases without documentation.