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How to Handle a Pedestrian Accident

Every week in the US, more than 2,600 pedestrians go to the emergency room after being hit by a car. The number of pedestrian accidents rises year after year, likely due to a mixture of DUIs and distracted driving. With so many accidents per day, both drivers and pedestrians should know how to handle these accidents.

The Pedestrian

Being struck by a car causes an explosion of conflicting emotions: Grief, anger, confusion, and pain, to name a few. While these emotions are valid, it's essential to control them and follow these steps until emergency services arrive.

Move to Safety

The first thing pedestrians should do is move out of the street if it is safe to do so. However, they should first assess their injuries to check if moving will make the situation worse.

Pedestrians struck by a vehicle should catch their breath and then slowly bend and rotate their joints. They should stop immediately and call for help if they experience any twinge of pain. If there’s no immediate pain, pedestrians should move from the street and call for emergency services.

Stay Calm

Although a pedestrian’s body will be pumped full of adrenaline, giving them the “fight or flight” response, they must remain levelheaded. Tempting as it may be, pedestrians should avoid screaming at the driver or risk agitating them. They should present themselves as understanding and sympathetic and should contact emergency services.

Limit Movement

Most car accidents cause blunt force trauma. Although the victim may not have open wounds or immediate bleeding, they may suffer from internal injuries such as broken bones, organ damage, or even internal bleeding.

The best thing a car accident victim can do is limit movement until emergency services arrive. Moving around with broken bones risks making the fracture worse.

The Driver

When the realization of what happened sets in, drivers tend to panic. They fear what they should say to the victim, and they worry about what consequences they might face. However, remaining clam provides both pedestrian and driver with the best opportunity to recover from the accident.

Call for Help

If a pedestrian is too injured to move or is knocked unconscious, calling for help falls upon the driver and nearby witnesses. Drivers involved in a pedestrian accident should call emergency services as soon as their car comes to a complete stop.

It’s better to air on the side of caution and get the victim the help they need than to risk waiting too long and risk allowing the pedestrian’s condition to worsen.

While waiting for emergency services, drivers should attend to the victim, administer first aid (if possible), and ensure the victim is safe from incoming traffic.

Remain Calm

Car accidents are naturally panic-inducing. Pedestrian accidents are terrifying for everyone involved. However, it's important for drivers to remain calm, especially when pumping adrenaline clouds their minds.

Under no circumstances should the driver in a pedestrian accident leave the scene. The victim’s injuries may require immediate first aid. Additionally, leaving the scene could turn an accident into a criminal case of hit and run.

Many drivers wonder whether they will face criminal charges for their role in the accident. That depends on the circumstances. If it was truly an accident, there might be no criminal charges. However, if the crash was the result of negligent or distracted driving, or if injuries are fatal, authorities may be less lenient.

File a Report

California law requires a police report for any motor accident resulting in an injury (no matter how minor). For that reason, a pedestrian accident always warrants a police report and likely a call for emergency services.

A police report is invaluable, especially for those who are too injured to move, much less trade information. Having a police officer on the scene ensures that all the appropriate information is collected and that it is accurate.

If you or someone you love was struck by an automobile, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced auto injury attorney from Priority Law Group, A.P.L.C. to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (877) 975-2529.

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