A RECENT ACCIDENT
In June, a 24-year-old woman was standing beside her car (after being involved in an earlier accident) was killed after being hit by another vehicle.
According to authorities, Johnetta Morgan was in an accident around 6:50 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-35E, near 8th Street. The victim stood outside her car, that had been turned sideways after the initial accident, for just a few minutes before an 18-wheeler hit her and T-boned her car.
A spokesperson for the Dallas PD advised that motorists who are in a crash or broken down on the highway should walk to the grassy medium, if it’s safe to do so, move their vehicle to the shoulder if possible, or stay in the car with their seat belt secured. In all instances, one should call 911 and wait for assistance.
A GROWING TREND
Accidents involving pedestrians are a increasing across the globe. According to statistics from the UN Road Safety Collaboration, more than 270,000 pedestrians are killed in such accidents each year. These fatalities contribute to 22 % of all traffic-related deaths all over the world.
Many are becoming aware of a like trend in our own country. As the Department of Transportation reported, there have been 76,000 cases involving pedestrian injuries during 2012. Within the same year, according to the data, 4,743 pedestrians have been killed in road accidents.
Sadly, incidences where a vehicle strikes a pedestrian usually end with an extremely serious injuries or worse, fatality. When one goes walking or jogging (on the designated pedestrian lane or sidewalk) they aren’t wearing any form of gear or equipment to protect them against a vehicle hitting them. As such, even a low-impact accident can lead to broken bones and significant internal injuries, quickly changing the victim and their family’s life forever. Again, these types of tragic accidents can be avoided if motorists practice safe driving while on the road.
COMMON CAUSES OF PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS
Pedestrian accidents are often the result of driver negligence or reckless behavior. Generally speaking, accidents involving pedestrians are caused by the following driver errors:
- Driving while intoxicated or while using narcotic substances that impair one’s senses;
- Running a red light;
- Not yielding at crosswalks and stop signs;
- Driving while sleepy;
- Driving while distracted, generally by smartphones.
Drivers can do their part of avoid such scenarios by being extra careful while on the road. It is plain to see that pedestrian accidents are preventable. If drivers take more time to think through their actions before driving and follow all traffic rules and regulations, one can only assume that the growing number of pedestrian accidents would quickly begin the decline.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WITNESS AN ACCIDENT
What should you do if you witness a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle? Call 911 in order to provide the victim medical assistance, even if they appear or state that they’re not injured. As stated earlier, such accidents can easily cause serious internal injuries that the victim may not be immediately aware of until it is too late.
Do your best to keep the victim calm. Simply being with them will help. Without putting yourself in danger, try to ensure that the driver remains at the scene of the accident. If nothing else, try to collect the driver’s information such as insurance information and license plate number. Finally, give your statement of events to the police.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE HIT BY A MOTORIST
But what if you’ve been hit by a motorist and there is no one nearby to help; what steps should you take? The following eight suggestions may help you. Many of these suggestions depend on the extent of your injury and what you are able to do immediately following the accident. Obviously, your health and safety are the most important.
1. Stay Calm and Move to a Safe Location
If you’re conscious after being hit by a driver, a slew of emotions are spilling over you which range from anger to fear to confusion. In addition, your adrenaline level will be in overdrive. Do your best to stay focused and not fall into a state of shock.
Take deep breaths and if you are in harms way (on the road) and only if you are physically able, move to a safe location such as the sidewalk or off onto the shoulder.
2. Call 9-1-1
Even if you believe you are okay, you need to call 9-1-1 so that the police can file a report and so that you can be checked out by medical professionals. An all too common mistake for those involved in an accident is that they are fine, only to discover later that they have suffered a broken bone, a head injury, or something much more severe such as internal injuries or bleeding.
Many times we believe that our injuries are minor because we are in a state of shock or disbelief. Sometimes people are too embarrassed to admit that they’ve been injured. Perhaps they just aren’t wanting to take on extra medical bills that comes with riding in an ambulance or going to the emergency room. But is is vital that you are checked out by a medical professional.
Beyond injuries, a police report is a huge help if you decide to file a lawsuit against the driver. The police will be able to gather required evidence and information from the scene of the accident that you may not be thinking about in the moment. Attorneys can use this information later when they are building their case against the motorist.
3. Collect Information
Hopefully, the driver will not flee the scene and will stick around to help you and talk to the police. If you are able, trade insurance information with the driver and anyone else who may have been involved with the accident. Take pictures with your phone of the driver’s vehicle and any immediately noticeable injuries you have suffered. As soon as you can, write down the events as they happened leading up to and following the accident while they are still fresh in your mind.
If it’s a hit and run, attempt to Take a picture of the driver’s license plate, or at least do your best to remember it. Even remembering the vehicle’s make and color can be helpful.
Once the police arrive, provide them with all the information you can. If you remember something afterwards, it is okay to provide them with the additional information. Just because it has been written down doesn’t mean it can’t be amended. A good lawyer can help with this. It is also a good idea to ask to see a copy of the police report to fact check.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance company and open a claim.
You only need to provide the basics when it comes to what happened. They might attempt to pressure you into giving a full and detailed account of all that occurred, if you’ve been to a doctor, filed a report, and so on.
You are not obligated to provide any of this information, and you shouldn’t until you’ve consulted with a lawyer. Insurance companies are looking to provide you as little money as possible, so they will try their best to downplay your story and use it against you.
Another bit of advice: keep a running tab of all related expenses such as medical bills, receipts medicines or equipment, lost wages and so on. This will be information that you will want to give to your attorney.
5. Call a Lawyer
The best thing you can do for yourself after receiving medical attention is contacting an attorney who has experience when it comes to pedestrian accidents. A good lawyer can help you with most of the above suggestions and will make sure that you receive everything you are entitled to.
Often, when people think that they are fine following an accident, they not only turn down medical help, but don’t think they need an attorney either. But, as mentioned above, when new injuries or complications begin to arise following the accident, you will need an attorney to help you understand what options you have moving forward.
Perhaps you lost a loved one in such an accident. You have options as well and a lawyer can file a wrongful death law suit on your behalf holding the driver(s) accountable and providing you with compensation for the numerous medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and many other costs that come with such accidents.
The compassionate legal team at Godsey Martin is ready to assist you with your case. Simply call us at 877-IGOTHIT or submit the short form on our website and we will take down the details of your accident and review your options. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to provide you with the justice and money you deserve if you’ve been hit and hurt in an accident.
But, do not hesitate. The sooner we are able to collect evidence and related information, the stronger your case will be and sooner you will be able to collect compensation.
Call Godsey Martin today.