What Happens If I Hit a Pedestrian?
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What Happens If I Have a Car Accident with a Pedestrian?
Car accidents with pedestrians are unfortunately quite common. Since car accidents often result in serious injuries or property damage, the person responsible for causing the accident may face both civil and criminal liability.
What Is the Potential Liability for Hitting a Pedestrian?
Civil Liability: A pedestrian who has been hit by a driver of a motor vehicle has the right to sue the driver for damages or injuries that result from the accident. The damages involved in a civil liability claim may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Criminal Liability: The state also has the right to prosecute a driver of a vehicle who has hit a pedestrian if the driver of the vehicle broke any law such as speeding, driving under the influence (DUI), or hit and run. Criminal liability penalties extends to fines, suspension of drivers license, and imprisonment.
What Should I Do If I Hit a Pedestrian?
Drivers involved in an accident with a pedestrian should immediately do the following:
- Stop your vehicle: If you hit a pedestrian, pull over to a safe place and immediately stop your vehicle. It is a crime to leave a scene of an accident.
- Get out and evaluate the situation: Put your vehicle’s emergency lights on and investigate if the pedestrian needs any type of aid. Call 911 if needed.
- Call the police: Contact the police immediately after the accident in order for the police to investigate and speak to all necessary witnesses.
- Don’t leave: Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have exchanged all information with all parties involved in the accident and made all required statements to the police.
- Take photographs: Take photographs of the scene of the accident including photographs of any damaged caused to by the accident, any injuries as a result of the accident, and anything that will help aid further investigation by insurance and the police.
- Exchange information: Exchange all required information with all parties involved in the accident and also all witnesses that would be able to aid further investigation. Be sure to get name, phone contact information, and address of all people involved.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: Contact your auto insurance company immediately following the accident (usually within 30days) and report all information that you collected at the scene of the accident.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: Even as a driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you through the process especially if you are facing potential civil or criminal liability as a result of hitting a pedestrian.
How Can I Minimize the Risks of Hitting a Pedestrian?
The best way to avoid pedestrian accidents is to be able to always be aware of oncoming pedestrians, bicyclists, wheelchair operators that enter a street. Pedestrians are less aware of drivers in the streets and drivers usually are not aware of the blind spots that include pedestrians.
Even if a pedestrian is not following the law, drivers should always be aware to remember that pedestrians have more of a chance of being seriously injured than a driver of a motor vehicle and do not have sufficient time to move out of the path of a driver.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you have been involved in a car accident with a pedestrian, you may need to contact an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can represent your best interests for personal injury claims or insurance issues. If criminal charges are brought, you should immediately contact a criminal law attorney to develop a defense for your case.
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Last Modified: 12-23-2016 09:33 AM PST
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