Being involved in an accident where the fault is on the shoulders of another can have life-changing, traumatic effects.
Just some of these include permanent injury and suffering the long-term effects of PTSD. Not to mention medical bills which can truly add up if you are seriously injured.
In the event where you are hit by a car as a pedestrian or cyclist, there are crucial steps to take in order to protect yourself legally and financially contact a Tampa car accident lawyer for help.
Protect Yourself: Steps to Take After Being Hit by a Car
Being hit by a car can be an extremely traumatic event and the aftermath a little overwhelming. You may be in a world of pain, severely shaken up or even severely injured.
If you have the capacity, here a few important steps to take in order to best protect yourself and claim for injuries or damages:
1. Don’t Panic & Move to Safety
Granted, this is much easier said than done. After getting hit by a car you’re likely to feel a range of emotions, including fear, fury, and confusion.
Accidents like this can happen in the blink of an eye. In this type of situation, the best thing to do is remain calm and keep panic at bay.
Panic, anger, and fury can only work against you when you need to communicate with the driver or the police after they arrive on the scene. Staying calm and moving out of harm’s way will help your case in an insurance claim as your recollection of facts will be clearer.
2. Make Sure the Driver Does Not Flee
Even if you’re not severely injured, it’s incredibly important to ensure the driver of the car remains on the scene until police arrive.
At the time your adrenaline is pumping and you may not even realize you’ve been injured. Once you’ve let the driver rush off, it’s all too late and you won’t have their details to help with your insurance claim.
Calmly ask the driver of the car to stay with you until the police or an ambulance arrives. If eyewitnesses begin to gather at the scene, ask them to stay too to help with any possible information.
If the driver rushes off without leaving their details, take a mental note of their license plate if possible, as well as make and color of their car.
3. Contact the Police at the Accident Scene
At the time of the accident, everything may seem a little overwhelming and confusing.
But it’s important to remember that you cannot file an accident report at a later stage, it must be done at the scene of the accident.
In order to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver, you will need proof of an accident report with the police. Once you have calmed down and moved to safety, make sure to contact the police right away.
Try not to feel bad about incriminating the driver of the vehicle. It’s important to ensure you are protected both legally and financially in this instance.
4. Collect All Relevant Information
While you wait for the police to arrive at the scene, you’ll need to collect as much information from the driver as you can.
Collect all the basics as you would at the scene of a car accident. Take a photo of their driver’s license, take down their insurance information, license plate number, model and color of their car.
Don’t forget to take photos of the accident scene as well as damage to the driver’s car, damage to your own belongings and personal injuries.
If you don’t have a cell phone with you to take photos, ask a bystander to do so for you and take down their contact information.
5. Don’t Share Accident Details on Social Media
If you plan on filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver, sharing what happened to you all over social media is not a good idea.
This is particularly important in the case of a lawsuit. This evidence can be used against you as ”checking your phone” and ”being negligent” -even if you weren’t.
6. Have Your Say When Police Arrive
If you don’t need to be immediately whisked off for medical care, make sure to have your say when police arrive at the scene.
All-too-often victims of these types of accidents fail to share their side of the story because they are being medically tended to.
While this is understandable, make a point of having your say with the police before they leave the accident scene. Ask medical personnel to help you by calling over a police officer while you’re being tended to, if needs be.
7. Start an Insurance Claim
Once you’ve gathered all the relevant information, make sure to open up an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance company as soon as possible.
When filing your claim, only state necessary information about the accident i.e. time, day, place and any injuries sustained.
They may pressure you into giving them a full breakdown or narrative of the accident. But this information doesn’t need to be disclosed and should initially be kept between you and your lawyer.
Once you’ve filed your claim, make sure to document all your expenses related to your accident as this information is essential in claiming back what you’re owed.
8. When in Doubt, Contact a Lawyer
The reality is that even though you’re the victim in the accident, you don’t really have anyone in your corner to back you.
The driver of the car has their insurance and that legal infrastructure to protect them, ensuring you receive only the bare minimum.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the entire process and you’re unsure of what to say or how to say it, a personal injury lawyer is your best bet.
Most personal injury lawyers should be able to offer free advice or advice at a nominal fee.
Lawyers are also well-versed in these scenarios and are privy to information and tactics you’d otherwise never have known!
In Need of a Personal Injury Lawyer?
At Winters and Yonker P.A. we are specialists in personal injury law, dedicated to building a strong case for our clients from day one.
If you’ve recently been hit by a car and looking for legal guidance, our attorneys are your number one go-to in the Tampa region.