It is scary and stressful when a pedestrian accident occurs, and you or a loved one is injured, or worse, left disabled or even killed. Taking the proper steps to protect your legal rights for filing an injury claim against the negligent party is crucial. Continue reading to learn how to respond after a pedestrian accident, your legal rights, and when to seek legal help from an experienced pedestrian accident injury lawyer.
What to do if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle
If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, ensure the victim and anyone else involved are safe from hazards, including oncoming traffic. Immediately call 911 and request emergency medical care providers and law enforcement. Make sure to inform them that the accident involves a pedestrian.
While you wait for law enforcement to respond, do not move the pedestrian as you do not know the extent of their injuries. However, administer first aid to stop any bleeding. Once the EMTs arrive, let them take over in providing emergency medical care.
What kind of lawyer handles pedestrian accident cases?
A personal injury lawyer experienced in tort laws handles pedestrian accident cases. When searching for a lawyer, they may also be called a car accident attorney, pedestrian accident attorney, or auto accident injury lawyer.
Eight essential pedestrian accident tips
Following a pedestrian accident, you can find yourself on your back, on the ground, or pinned between a vehicle and another object. You may have also been hit and flung several feet up in the air and landed on the ground, disorientating you. Understandably, you can be in shock, dazed, and worried about your well-being.
However, if you are not seriously injured, can remain calm, and attempt to focus, remember to use these pedestrian accident tips.
1. Protect your immediate safety
The victim and others involved may face additional dangers in the immediate aftermath of a pedestrian accident. Oncoming traffic may be a concern. Secure the scene and address primary safety concerns to prevent further harm. However, the pedestrian should remain where they are and not be moved. Moving them could result in making their injuries worse.
2. Call emergency medical and law enforcement services
Colorado law CRS 42-4-1606 requires drivers to report accidents after they occur. With pedestrian accidents, injuries can range from minor to severe. Even serious injuries can be hard to detect. This is why getting medical professionals on the scene as soon as possible is critical. Call 911 and direct the EMTs to the injured pedestrian immediately. Medical responders and law enforcement will respond to assist with securing the accident scene, providing emergency medical care, and investigating the accident.
3. Administer first aid
As you wait for first responders to arrive on the scene, begin administering first aid to the extent that you can do so safely. Emergency operators may provide instructions on how to help until the professionals arrive.
4. Get driver information
Gather important information from the motor vehicle driver. You should get their driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle information. The law requires a driver involved in an accident to provide this information.
5. Identify witnesses
Receiving fair compensation for a pedestrian accident depends on how the accident occurs and what damages result. Therefore, it’s vital to identify witnesses to the accident who may have insights into what caused the crash. Obtain contact information for witnesses. Having their name, address, and telephone number can benefit your lawyer as they begin building your legal claim for financial support from the responsible party.
6. Document the accident
Do what you can to document the accident scene. Take photographs of your injuries, where you were injured, the road, any damage, debris, or skid marks, and any vehicles. The appearance of vehicle damage, or even the lack of damage, can tell a story of what happened to cause the accident. In addition, note the time of day and current weather conditions.
7. Seek medical care
It’s vital to seek emergency medical care after an accident if there is even the slightest possibility that you have an injury. Even if you feel fine, it is strongly urged to seek emergency treatment. Some injuries may be internal, and others may not become apparent until several hours or days after the accident.
Likewise, it’s equally important to receive follow-up medical care in the days and weeks that follow the accident. Documenting injuries and ongoing medical treatment take time, especially when injuries are significant. It’s also important to note your willingness to do everything possible to heal from your injuries.
8. Contact an attorney
Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. They can assist you with making insurance reports, documenting injuries, and contacting witnesses. Your actions immediately following a pedestrian accident are critical to proving your case.
Working with an experienced attorney helps take most of the insurance and legal responsibilities off your shoulders, allowing you time to focus on healing and recovery. Your lawyer will represent your interests to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
In addition to these steps, it’s important to notify any insurance companies involved in a claim. While you will often file against the responsible party’s insurance, you may also be entitled to file against your car insurance if the driver is underinsured or uninsured.
A car accident attorney can help determine what insurance companies to make an injury claim against. If they act with bad faith insurance practices, your lawyer can take additional legal action to protect your rights.
Can you sue someone for hitting you with a car?
Yes, you can sue someone for hitting you with a car. The vehicle’s driver and the pedestrian should act reasonably and cautiously. When someone hits you because of a lack of care, they may be legally obligated to compensate you for your injuries and pain and suffering. The claim’s basis is the damages resulting from the driver’s negligence and reckless or intentional misconduct.
How long do you have to file a lawsuit after a pedestrian accident?
Colorado Revised Statute 13-80-101(n) allows a person who experienced bodily injury and property damage involving a motor vehicle three years to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, in cases where someone dies, the decedent’s family only has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party, as allowed by CRS 13-80-102. The only exception is when the accident was a hit-and-run accident. Then, the decedent’s family has four years to file a lawsuit.
Driver and pedestrian safety resources
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there have been 37 pedestrians killed in car accidents so far in 2023. Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, reviewing the resources and safety tips provided by the Colorado DOT to make the streets and sidewalks safer for everyone is worthwhile. Another helpful resource drivers should review is the Colorado Driver Handbook.
Should you see a doctor after you’re hit by a car?
Yes, you should see a doctor after being hit by a car. Even a small vehicle can weigh more than one ton. Although pedestrians may not think they’re hurt, catastrophic injuries like spine and brain injuries may have very subtle symptoms.
It’s important to rule out serious injuries and document any existing injuries resulting from the accident. You should see a doctor as soon as possible after you’re hit by a car for your safety and to protect your legal right to claim compensation.
Types of injuries typical in a pedestrian accident
The types of injuries one could experience in a pedestrian accident range from moderate to severe, such as:
- Broken bones
- Skull fractures
- Head injuries
- Back, neck, and spine injuries
- Lacerations or cuts
- Dislocated joints
- Facial fractures and injuries
- Nerve damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Brain damage
- Neurological damage
Can you file an insurance claim for a pedestrian accident?
Yes. You can file an insurance claim against the negligent party’s insurance. You may also make a claim to your own insurance when the driver is underinsured or uninsured. Exactly which insurance company or companies to file against depends on what coverages are in place at the time of the accident and Colorado state laws that determine fault and compensation for motor vehicle cases.
Determining fault in a pedestrian accident
Regarding fault in pedestrian accidents, the liability could be applied to one party or both the driver and the pedestrian. CRS 13-21-111 is Colorado’s comparative negligence law, which allows the victim to seek damages still, as long as they are 49 percent or less at fault.
Additionally, there could be third parties responsible for the accident that could be held accountable. Therefore, consulting with a car accident attorney as soon as possible is essential.
Legal help after a pedestrian accident
Seeking legal help after a pedestrian accident is critical for several reasons. A qualified lawyer can:
- Handle your case
- Protect you from insurance companies that may take advantage of you
- Determine the full value of your losses
- Fight to get maximum compensation on your behalf
Furthermore, they will know the best strategy for filing a claim, negotiate with the other party’s insurer, and, if needed, gather the evidence necessary to prove their client’s case in court. Additionally, they have access to extensive resources, which could give you an edge during negotiations or trial proceedings.
Get help from our Colorado pedestrian accident lawyers today
Are you the victim of a pedestrian accident in Colorado? Get help from our experienced and dedicated Colorado pedestrian accident lawyers at Bachus & Schanker. Our lawyers work diligently to get you the maximum compensation for your losses while protecting your rights throughout the process.
In the unfortunate event you lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident, our Elite Litigation Group can assist with filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We understand first-hand the pain of losing a loved one unexpectedly. We also help our clients dealing with a tragic loss by providing them access to our Victim’s Associates for added support and guidance.
Colorado Driver Handbook. (2023).
CRS 13-80-101(n). (2023).
CRS 13-80-102. (2023).
CRS 42-4-1606. (2023).
Information for Pedestrians. (2023).