Car Accidents

What Do I Do as a Pedestrian If I Was Hit By a Car?

Not all car accidents involve two vehicles. What should you do if you're hit by a car while you're on foot?

Who is Liable for Injuries to a Pedestrian Hit by a Car?

It's not always the case that the driver is the one responsible. Rather, it's whoever is determined to be negligent, or careless. Everyone has a duty to act responsibly, whether they're on foot or behind the wheel of a car. The law assumes that everyone ought to act in the way a responsible person would. This seems self-evident, but it can often clarify the situation.

For example: Would a responsible person make every effort to brake if a person stepped out in front of them? The answer is probably yes.

Would a responsible person step in front of a moving car that didn't have enough room to see them, respond, and brake? Barring any outside force (like someone pushing the pedestrian), the answer is probably no.

You should always call 911 if you're in a pedestrian/automobile accident. There's a reasonable chance of injury, and it's better to err on the side of caution. The police officer on the scene may make an initial assessment of who was at fault and issue a citation to anyone they believe has broken a law. If you do not receive a citation, it doesn't mean that you were not at fault, but if the other party was issued a citation, it's a good piece of evidence for you in case the insurance company tries to avoid paying.

What if a Pedestrian is Not in the Crosswalk?

The pedestrian isn't automatically at fault if they're not in a crosswalk. There are very few cases where the pedestrian will be found at fault if they were in a crosswalk that they are using properly (e.g. if they were crossing when a pedestrian signal indicated they could). Drivers are expected to use caution when they're approaching a crosswalk and be especially vigilant about pedestrians.

If a pedestrian is crossing when the driver has the right-of-way, this definitely complicates the issue, even if the pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk. A court might rule that the pedestrian is the one at fault in these situations.

Insurance Coverage for Pedestrian Accidents

The first insurance coverage that will be tapped, if it's available, is the personal injury protection (PIP) policy on the pedestrian's insurance. That's right — if you have a PIP policy, it might cover you even if you're not behind the wheel of a car when you get in an accident! PIP is required mostly in no-fault states. If you're in one of these states, PIP will cover you regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Some states require drivers to carry PIP, and it's optional in some other states. But if you do carry a policy, it could very well cover your medical bills after a car accident.

If it's a clear-cut example of the driver being at fault, their insurance may cover you beyond what your PIP covers. However, most situations are not so clear-cut.

If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) on your own car insurance policy, this might also kick in at this point. Some states require UM or UIM coverage; check with your own insurance, if you have it.

Your own health insurance may cover your medical bills if no other coverage does. However, you would be responsible for any deductibles and subject to any limits on your health insurance. In addition, your health insurance won't pay for pain or suffering or any of your non-medical bills when you're recovering. For this reason, it shouldn't be the first place you turn after a car accident if there are other options.

What Damages Can Pedestrians Collect from Car Insurance?

Pedestrians may be able to collect economic damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and physical therapy, and also non-economic damages, like pain and suffering. For more information, check out this article.

What Steps Should I Take if I Was Hit as a Pedestrian?

  • At the scene of the accident, get yourself to safety or ask someone to help you get to safety. Check on anyone else involved in the accident. Call 911 immediately.
  • Make sure you document as much as possible. Get the names and contact information from everyone involved, including insurance information. Take photos at the scene.
  • If you have car insurance, your next step should be to contact your own insurance company to report the accident to them. You might not think to do this because you weren't in your car when the accident happened, but it's important to get your claims process started.
  • Submit an insurance claim against the other driver's car insurance, if you believe them to be at fault for the accident.
  • A lawyer can help you at any point during this process. There are lawyers who are highly experienced in car injury and other personal injury claims, and they will be familiar with this process. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need help

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