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What to do after a pedestrian crash

One thing that is more frightening and dangerous than being inside a car during a motor vehicle accident is being a pedestrian or bicyclist who is struck by a vehicle on a street in Hawaii. Pedestrians and cyclists are not protected by a vehicle body, airbags or seatbelts.

Never assume that is safe to walk away after being struck by a car. Pedestrians and cyclists should take immediate steps to assure that they are healthy and can protect their legal rights. First, calling for emergency responders or 911 is required for health and safety. Trained professionals, not the accident victim, is best qualified to determine whether any injuries were suffered and to provide immediate medical care. Many times, serious accident injuries are not apparent.

Calling the police also protects the ability to file a lawsuit. A police officer will write up an accident report containing their observations on the accident. This may be used to support a legal claim for compensation.

It is also essential to seek medical attention from a qualified physician after the accident. Adrenaline surging through the body may make a victim feel like they are healthy and mask symptoms. Some injuries are not apparent until much later. For example, a victim suffering internal injuries may feel normal except for some light-headedness. However, this can develop into a life-threatening condition requiring medical attention.

Seeing a physician also counters arguments from insurance companies and defense attorneys that injuries are unrelated to the car accident. Otherwise, they may argue that the injuries came from other causes.

Keeping bills, receipts and all documents related to the accident is an important part of proving injuries and related and legitimate medical expenses. If the driver is liable, their insurance company may have to pay compensation for medical care, medical devices and equipment, medications, loss wages, property damage and pain and suffering.

Conversations and information with insurance companies can be used against the victim. They can also, depending on the circumstances, argue that the pedestrian or bicyclist was drunk, distracted or wasn't following traffic laws. An attorney can help a pedestrian accident victim deal with insurance companies or defense attorneys and overcome these defenses in a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: The Good Men Project, "What to do if You're Hit While Walking or Biking," Jane Brown, Nov. 5, 2017

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