Car accidents can cause devastating injuries and even kill victims in any situation, but they can become even more dangerous when a pedestrian is involved. If you were hit by a car while walking on the sidewalk, using a crosswalk, getting out of your car, or anywhere else, it’s important to know what to do next.
- Try to remain calm and check yourself for injuries. While your gut reaction may be to lose your cool, either through anger at the person who hit you or through worrying about your own safety, remaining calm will help you take stock of your surroundings and health and make the best decisions for yourself and the situation. You should immediately seek medical attention, and accept care if it is offered by any ambulance personnel, regardless of whether you are aware of any serious injuries. You never know how you will feel once your adrenaline dies down and in the days following the accident. Getting yourself examined by a doctor and documenting your injuries right away will help if you decide to file a claim or lawsuit.
- Call the police. Call 911 immediately and wait for the police and ambulance to arrive. You should file an accident report at the scene with the police and ambulance personnel and tell them about your injuries and any potential negligent conduct you noticed from the other drivers. It’s especially important to give a statement to the police here detailing the events leading up to and following the accident because it may be difficult for you to file a report later on, even if it’s the same day. A Police Accident Report is an important document to have when you file any claims with insurance companies for this accident, whether it’s your insurance company or the insurance company of the other drivers and vehicle owners involved in the accident. Make sure the police read the statement they took back to you so you can make sure it’s accurate.
- Do not let the driver who hit you leave. Try to make sure the drivers remain at the scene until the police arrive to take their statements. Even if you don’t feel you were injured, it’s important for the other drivers to stay put and participate in the police’s investigation – leaving the scene of an accident is a crime.
- Take photos. Document the accident scene from every angle by taking photographs. This means you should take photos of everything around and in the accident scene, including, but not limited to, the intersection, traffic lights, street signs, the vehicles involved including any damage to them, and your own injuries. These pictures could prove to be valuable evidence in securing the compensation you need later on in a claim or lawsuit.
- Collect the driver’s information. Make sure to collect the driver’s contact information and any insurance information. You may want to give the phone number they provide a quick call to make sure it’s not a fake or wrong number. This way you can get in touch with them later on as needed.
- Within 30 days of the date of the accident, file your claim for No-Fault benefits. As a pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle in New York, you are entitled to No-Fault benefits from the insurance company of the vehicle that hit you. However, you must file the claim for No-Fault benefits within 30 days of the date of the accident. Call the insurance company and file the claim for No-Fault benefits using any forms they provide you, unless you have already consulted or are consulting with an attorney, as that attorney may have a No-Fault Benefits Application for you to use. Do not provide the insurance company any more information than what’s needed for the application and you should consult with an attorney for this if possible. While the insurance company may try to get you to give a full description of the events, it's best to rely on the official police report rather than give a second statement that the insurance company may attempt to use to show discrepancies and have your claim thrown out.
- Hire an attorney. An experienced legal professional will be able to help you put together a plan of action that will put you in the best possible position to secure the compensation you need. While you may feel confident that you can handle it alone, you need to understand that you’re not just facing the driver, you’re facing their insurance company, complete with a full legal team and staff intent on giving you the least amount of money they can or no money at all.
If you were seriously injured in a car accident, hiring the right law firm to represent you is key to fighting for and securing the compensation you deserve. At The Perecman Firm, our New York City car accident lawyers have fought for the rights of injured victims for more than 30 years and are passionate about providing each client we take on with the knowledgeable and passionate representation they require in their time of need. Give us a call at (212) 577-9325 to speak with one of our attorneys today, or send us the information about your situation through our online form to start out with a free evaluation.