4,280 pedestrians died in traffic crashes in 2010, a 4% increase from the number reported in 2009. The number of accidents involving pedestrians is steadily increasing demonstrating that it is more and more difficult for everyone to share the road safely. If you are one of the many victims of pedestrian accidents in Florida, make sure you know what to do so that you can recoup your losses effectively in the aftermath. While an accident can be traumatic, the efforts you make immediately after can greatly assist you and your attorney.
- Safety should be your first priority. In the aftermath of a pedestrian accident, get yourself and others to safety if at all possible. Survey the area and scene and if needed remove yourself. Do your best not to exacerbate or add to your existing injuries. Get yourself and anyone else involved in the accident out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. As soon as you are able, call for help or ask someone nearby to call for you.
- Get as much information as possible. If there was a car involved, get the license number, driver’s contact information and driver’s insurance information. You will also need to document the time and place of the accident and any other available details as much as possible. Take pictures of the accident and surrounding area. Document everything. You can’t have too much information. A qualified personal injury attorney can pinpoint the pertinent information needed. You don’t want to miss critical information that could support your case.
- File a police report and get a copy. If you are injured and need help, call 9-1-1. This will get you and any other involved parties medical treatment as well as trigger the police to respond to the scene. The person responsible for your injuries may be responsible for a crime. The police will evaluate the accident and possibly assign fault. You will want to include a copy of the police report in the documents you submit to your attorney for review. If it is determined that you are partially at fault for the accident you may still be entitled to damages. Do not feel like you cannot bring a case because your actions contributed to the incident.
- Detail your losses. Write down everything you’ve lost due to the accident. This can include lost wages, over-the-counter medications, physical ailments and personal property. You may be forced to miss work due to your injuries. You should document the amount of wages lost due to your absence. You injuries could be short or long term, so make sure you notate any and all physical symptoms. If you had any property with you that suffered damage when the injury occurred, that should be accounted for as well.
- See a reputable physician and go to all recommended follow up appointments. It is important to have a doctor’s report documenting all of your injuries and the progression of those injuries. An initial doctor’s visit will allow for diagnosis but follow up visits are equally important. Follow up visits will give your physician the opportunity to track your healing and assess your long-term prognosis. You may be able to bounce back from minor injuries while others such as broken bones, concussions and back injuries may need considerably longer to heal from and could leave you with some permanent damage.
- Try to get the contact information of any witnesses. Witnesses may stop to assist you after an accident. Try to get their names and contact numbers. In the aftermath of an accident you may not be in the position to fully assess what happened. Witnesses can be valuable help in filling in the blanks and giving unbiased accounts of what happened and who is responsible.
- Get legal help. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. Every state has its own statute of limitations. This is the time frame that you have to bring a lawsuit. (http://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/pedestrian-accidents-faq.html) Your attorney will need to review your case and strategize with you; so the sooner you engage an attorney the better.
As much as we all hope to never be in a pedestrian accident it is best to be proactive. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution when sharing the road with cars and bicyclists. Create a check list of the above action items and keep it in your purse or wallet. In the event of an accident you may not be thinking clearly, a checklist will help ensure you get all the information you need.
If you are involved in an accident, contact our office. At Roy & Associates, P.A., we can review your situation, help you file a claim, and fight for you. The longer you wait after an accident, the more challenging your claim may be. It can be more difficult to find witnesses, preserve evidence and fight against the statute of limitations clock. Don’t delay, call our office at 561-729-0095 and let us guide you through the claims process and recover your financial losses.