If you take these steps after a pedestrian accident, you will be protecting yourself and any potential claim. The key to a successful personal injury claim is preserving the evidence that is required for you to prove your claim. You could be severely injured but if you have not gathered the evidence to show that the other person was negligent and their negligence caused your injuries, you will not be successful in making your claim.
Follow these seven steps for success:
Call law enforcement: If you're physically able, call 911 and have the police and emergency medical services come to scene. The investigation police officer, deputy or trooper will document that an accident occurred. Sometimes they will issue a citation or ticket, take photos of the scene, and talk to witnesses.
Photograph the scene: If you are physically able at the time of the incident, take photos of the scene from all directions. If you are not physically able, have some take photos as soon as feasible. Photographs from all vantage points will assist us in determining what happened. It may show some blind spots or areas of low visibility, which may have caused or contributed to the incident.
Witness information: Do not assume that law enforcement or other people at the scene will get the names and contact information from witnesses. I can't tell you how many cases I've had over the years where my client said a witness came up to them at the scene and said they saw everything. The client didn't get the witnesses information and the investigating police officer never spoke to the witness so the fact that there was an uninterested third party who saw the event is lost. Sometimes this could be information that you need to prove your case.
Photograph your injuries: We have all heard the saying, a photograph is worth a thousand words. This is especially true when it comes to injuries. If you have bruising, cuts, scrapes or any other evidence of injury, you need to document it. A few years ago, the insurance defense lawyer very late in the case made a seat belt argument. The lawyer took the position that the client was not wearing his seatbelt, and if he was wearing his seatbelt, his injuries would have been less severe. The client swore he was wearing his seatbelt and said that he had severe bruising from the belt across his chest. I asked him if he had any pictures? He said no. If he did have pictures of the bruising, we would have easily dispelled the defense lawyer's tactics of grasping for straws.
Follow your doctor's advice: If you were injured and you went to the doctor, follow her advice. If for some reason you are not able to follow the recommendations, discuss the reasons with your doctor so they are documented in the medical record. If you do not follow your doctor's advice, the insurance company will take the position that either you were not injured or you made your condition worse because you didn't listen to your doctor.
Avoid Social Media: Social media has come to the forefront in personal injury claims. Many folks believe they can post everything about their lives on line. If you post anything about the facts of your accident or your injuries on social media, you are opening up your entire social medial account to the insurance company and their lawyer.
Speak with a personal injury attorney: At the outset you may not want to hire a lawyer, and that's okay. However, you should at least consult with a lawyer shortly after your accident. Most pedestrian accident lawyers give free consultations. The lawyer will be able to give you an idea of the specific legal and medical issues involved in your claim. Everything you and the lawyer discuss is protected under the attorney/client privilege even if you don't hire the lawyer.
If you have any questions about a Central Florida pedestrian accident claim, call (352) 267-9168.