Being hit by a car is a jarring and potentially life-altering event. Unfortunately, despite the traumatic experience, you still need to take action to protect yourself. Following the correct process will ensure your safety, rights, and financial protections.
In this post, we’ll outline what you should do in the immediate moments and days after being hit by a car.
Have you been hit by a car and need advice on how to proceed? Contact me for a free, confidential consultation.
Ensure you are safe
While making sure you’re okay may seem like a simple task, serious injuries can be masked due to shock or adrenaline.
If possible, move to a safe area off the street and collect yourself. Try to breath slowly and calm yourself down. While you may be experiencing a mixture of pain, fear, adrenaline, and anger, calming down will help you better interpret any immediate injuries. You’ll also be able to proceed with a clear head. This will be helpful when talking to witnesses and the police.
If you do find yourself seriously injured, always make sure to procure medical treatment as soon as possible by calling 911.
Do not leave the scene
It’s important the incident is accounted for and you’re there to manage the situation, if medically possible. You might not feel injured now, but you may in the future. You will want to ensure you have the driver’s contact and insurance information and that the accident is documented by police.
Don’t just assume it’s not a big deal and move on.
Make sure driver stays at the scene, too
Even drivers who appear to (or who actually do) mean well may try to get out of the situation without any repercussions. As an experienced attorney, I often hear of situations where drivers see if a hit pedestrian is okay, while simultaneously pressuring them into dismissing the injury. This is not.
Even if you feel no pain, it’s important the driver stays at the scene through the following stages of this process. Don’t be afraid to inconvenience the driver – you’re not wasting anyone's time.
You’ve been hit and deserve the legal process to proceed.
The driver might also be impaired and not fit to drive. Letting them go may result in further harm to others.
Are you a victim of a hit and run?
Hit and runs happen all the time. Often drivers become scared of the repercussions (possibly due to intoxication). If possible, try to snap a photo of the license plate.
If you’re a victim of a hit and run, read our blog post on What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Hit & Run.
Take note of your account of the incident and document injuries
Memories can get hazy, so making sure you account for how you remember the incident unfolding is extremely important. Write down or use voice memos to record your version of events. This will be helpful when you talk to the police and the insurance company.
Also important is taking note of any injuries. Record the following:
Where on your body are you in pain?
Do you have any visual marks due to the accident?
Is there any damaged or torn clothing? This may indicate injured areas of your body that may not be in immediate pain.
Feel your head, face, and extremities to check for blood. You may be in shock and not feeling major wounds
Contact the police and emergency services
Contacting the police is important for a number of reasons.
An official police report of the incident will be written
Police officers will be able to account for the situation and provide accountability at the scene
They will check on the driver, ensuring they’re not free to go if they are intoxicated
Medical emergency personal will be dispatched for any potential injuries
While documenting the situation is extremely important, having a police record of events will legitimize the incident. Some insurance companies even require a police report, meaning this step is crucial if you plan on making a claim.
Make sure police hear your side of the story
While having police at the scene in itself is helpful, it’s extremely important that they hear your side of the story. You may be uncomfortable incriminating the driver – don’t be! Your goal when talking to the police is making sure your version of events is accounted for.
Don’t be afraid to ask the police what they have as facts so you can give your opinion of the truth.
Collect info of driver and witnesses and take photos
While the police are on their way to the scene of the incident, get information from the offending motorist such as:
Driver’s license number
License plate number
If possible, collect statements and contact info from witnesses as well. This could be helpful in the event of a disputed accounting of the accident.
Taking photos of the scene, your injuries, and the driver’s car will also be helpful. Air on the side of safety and take more than you think you need. You never know what little piece of information could be useful in a dispute.
Do not discuss fault at any point
No matter who you are talking to at the scene of the accident, never discuss fault. Even if you think you know what happened, you likely do not know exactly how the law will apply in this particular incident.
Anything said at the scene of the accident can and likely will be used against you by the insurance company in any post-accident legal proceedings. It’s also not a good idea to speak at length with the motorist’s insurance company. They do not have your best interests at heart.
The only person to speak to at any great length is an experienced personal injury attorney. They will help you say the right things and take the right actions.
Adam Greenman Law can help you if you’ve been hit by a car.
Call (503) 227-3800 or contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Seek medical attention immediately
If you haven’t already, now is the time to be medically evaluated. Even if you feel okay, an evaluation is necessary to ensure there are no “hidden” injuries.
Not getting medically evaluated could even make it more difficult to file an insurance claim if you start to experience pain later.
Start the insurance process
Once you’ve received medical care, you should start the insurance process.
If you have auto-insurance, contact them and make a claim. Even though you were a pedestrian or bike rider, you are likely still covered
Call the motorists insurance company and file a claim. Do not give them more information than the very basics of what happened (this is extremely important!). They will pressure you to give more information, but you’re not legally required to and should not until contacting a lawyer
Call an experienced personal injury lawyer
It’s crucial that early in the process you call a personal injury attorney. They will help you receive the money you deserve to cover medical expenses, physical and emotional distress, and any damage to personal property.
Many insurance companies will even try to place fault on you and deny all of your claims. An experienced attorney can help you avoid this and make sure you are properly compensated. They’ll help protect your rights and financial situation.
Have you been hit by a car and need advice? Contact me to discuss confidentiality what can be done and how to protect you legal rights.