California is awash with throngs of people, including millions of tourists who visit every year and countless residents. What do all these groups share in common? They comprise of lots of pedestrians going about their businesses every day. Now, with such great foot traffic, pedestrian accidents are an everyday occurrence, some fatal.
Why are pedestrian accidents so dangerous?
You can easily see why pedestrian accidents are so serious. Unlike truck, car, or bus drivers, pedestrians are unprotected in case they are hit by a vehicle. There are no seat belts, steel frames, or airbags to protect them.
Common pedestrian accident injuries
• Spinal cord injury – injuries to the spinal cord can result in a myriad of problems, including non-reversible paralysis
• Damage to internal organs – following an accident, the victim’s internal organs can be affected, and along with internal bleeding, it becomes a potentially life-threatening issue
• Amputation – some accidents are so severe that amputation of the arms, legs, or other body parts is necessary
• Traumatic brain injuries – when these injuries happen after an accident, they can lead to irreversible mental and physical problems
• Scarring and disfigurement – after a serious accident, permanent scarring and disfigurement can result. Apart from the physical scars, there can be severe psychological and emotional issues for the victim
• Wrongful death – most pedestrian accidents end up with the victim dying. In such cases, the survivors or next of kin can pursue a wrongful death claim
In the event the victim survives, the trauma and damages that they suffer are astronomical. On its own, the initial emergency treatment can result in hefty hospital bills and lost time away from work. The victim may also need rehabilitation, physical therapy, and special adaptive equipment, all extremely costly.
And if the victim cannot work at the same workplace as before, they’ll suffer loss of earnings, plus more negative career consequences. All these factors combined are a recipe for various issues, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
Steps to take after a pedestrian accident
Speed is always of the essence after a pedestrian accident. The victim or the immediate family have to act quickly. The first step would be to get medical attention, even when you deem the injuries minor.
Why is this important?
Well, it preserves the right to a legal claim and, most importantly, for the victim’s wellbeing. If you don’t seek medical help and a hidden injury rears its head later, the defendant’s lawyers can claim that another issue caused your injury. So, you see, not seeking medical assistance can jeopardize your claim or health.
The next step is getting as much information as possible regarding the driver. Hopefully, the driver would have stopped, as the law stipulates, and waited for the police. Sadly, many pedestrian accidents are hit-and-run, where the drivers flee the accident scene, making it difficult to track them. Ensure that you call the police, present your statement, and get a copy of the same statement, whether the driver stops or not.
Get some witnesses
If possible, identify witnesses who saw the incident and get every single detail from them. Writing down everything is advisable, including the driver’s name, time, location, and precisely what ensued.
Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney
Finally, consult a reputable and accomplished personal injury attorney. They can take it from there, including investigating how the accident occurred, check for any footage of the accident from nearby surveillance cameras, among other actions. In case the driver’s insurance company contacts you, talk to your personal injury lawyer before talking to them to avoid tricks that can make you admit anything that may undermine your case.