Hundreds of pedestrian accidents happen each year in Indiana. When a pedestrian is hit by a car it is never easy to know exactly how to handle the situation, especially since these are always surprising occurrences.
In this article, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Indiana discusses what to know if this happens to you.
Are Indiana Roadways Dangerous by Design?
Indiana roadways were designed for safe residential, commercial, and industrial traffic. However, there is always room for engineering improvements within any geographic area. That said, the Indiana-Carmel-Anderson roadways are considered dangerous by design according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), with a 2021 score of 97.3.
By comparison, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL metropolitan area came in at 295, with many accidents involving car hits pedestrian reports.
Our communities took note of these issues and continue to address them in the interest of public safety. For example, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that the City of Carmel reduced its injury crashes, including pedestrians struck by car hits, by 84 percent after installing a roundabout, sometimes called a rotary or traffic circle, along Keystone Parkway.
Steps to Follow After a Pedestrian Accident
Motorist laws, particularly Indiana Code 9-26-1-1.1, specify how the drivers and passengers of vehicles are supposed to handle being involved in an accident with another vehicle, however, there is little to no statutory guidance on car-pedestrian accidents and what a pedestrian should do when they are struck by a vehicle.
Below, we have outlined seven steps on what to do when a pedestrian is hit by a car:
Step 1. Get to Safety
The first step is to get yourself to safety, and then help others in the roadway if it is safe to do so. It is essential not to obstruct traffic more than necessary when moving cars, bicycles, or people. However, you will want to remain as close to the accident scene as possible while continuing through the following steps since leaving it is generally a Class B misdemeanor crime in Indiana.
Step 2. Get Medical Attention
Seek immediate medical attention by dialing 9-1-1 for yourself or others injured on the roadway per your responsibilities as a driver and only if you can physically do so. An ambulance will transport you to the nearest emergency room for treatment thereafter. If your injuries do not require immediate intervention, you should head to a doctor’s office after speaking with the police, exchanging information, and collecting evidence.
Step 3. Contact the Police
If you dialed 9-1-1, then the police should be notified and on their way to assess the situation and complete an accident report. Otherwise, you should contact them after getting everyone to safety. Waiting for the police to arrive is an excellent opportunity to gather as much information as possible about the accident for a claim and evidentiary purposes.
Step 4. Exchange Information
You should also exchange information with all drivers and pedestrians involved in the accident. Your insurance company will want to refer to this information later on in the claims process.
Exchange information with all involved parties, including:
- Operator name
- Operator address
- Vehicle registration number
You also must exhibit your driver’s license at the accident scene. It is also good to get the same information from eyewitnesses if you need to contact them for more details.
Step 5. Collect Evidence
Evidence plays a vital role in proving negligence. Once the evidence is no longer available, there is no going back. You can no longer review it precisely as it was on the day in question.
Examples of accident scene evidence include:
- Eyewitness statements
- Driver statements
- Accident reports
This information can help you determine if the police got their accident report wrong or if the at-fault driver is taking on their share of the liability.
Step 6. Monitor Your Situation
Most insurers officially require notification of your accident within 72 hours. However, you can confirm this initial deadline by reviewing the terms and conditions of your policy. Avoid making self-incriminating statements during this phone call and stick to the facts.
Monitor the claims process and note any comments the insurance adjuster makes about your settlement. They could be preparing for a lesser settlement offer or protecting their insured’s interests.
Step 7. Contact an Attorney
You can proactively protect your legal rights from the start of your case by contacting an attorney for pedestrian accidents in Indiana. We can handle the settlement negotiations at the outset of the claims process to prevent legal mistakes entirely. This strategy allows you to focus on recovering as quickly as possible while we handle the legal battle with the insurance company.
Common Pedestrian Injuries After Being Hit by a Car
Pedestrians are vulnerable to the elements since no protective barriers surround them, as they would have in a car. Nearly 6,000 people were killed by pedestrian injuries from car accidents in 2017, per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. This figure also equates to roughly one preventable death every 88 minutes.
Wrongful death is one of the many common injuries pedestrians hit by cars could face. However, others could result in lifelong medical issues and massive healthcare costs.
According to a 2007 University of California study, pedestrians hit by car common injuries include:
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Head injuries
- Ligamentous injuries
- Long-term disabilities
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Neck injuries
- Superficial injuries
- Tibial plateau fractures
- Trauma to the legs
- Trauma to the pelvis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
When a motorist strikes a pedestrian, the vehicle can hit them so that it causes them to lift off the ground. Once the driver slams on their breaks, the pedestrian will fly through the air and land violently on the ground. These actions can cause severe pedestrian-car accident injuries to the human body.
If the driver’s negligence causes your injuries or your loved one’s loss of life, you have legal options to recover compensation in Indiana. Ensure that you seek immediate medical attention, avoid issuing any statements, and get legal advice as soon as possible. This strategy will protect your legal rights and the facts of your case.
Who Is Liable for a Pedestrian Hit by Car Injuries?
The negligent, at-fault party is liable for a pedestrian hit by car injuries. However, they are only responsible if their level of fault does not exceed yours per IN Code § 34-51-2-6. For example, if evidence reveals that you were 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot file a claim against the driver since our state follows modified comparative negligence rules.
Negligence is another concept that influences pedestrian hit by car settlements and liability. It is necessary to prove that the driver’s actions met the elements of negligence when pursuing a fair civil award.
For this outcome to occur, there are four critical facts that you must prove:
- Fact 1. The negligent driver owed you a general duty of care.
- Fact 2. The negligent driver failed to meet their general duty with distracted, reckless, careless, or aggressive driving.
- Fact 3. Their failure resulted in your pedestrian being hit by car injuries.
- Fact 4. Your pedestrian hit by car injuries incurred financial and physical losses.
All Indiana motorists owe others a general duty of care, which is easy to prove. However, a few challenging aspects of a personal injury matter are proving their failure with discoverable evidence and evaluating how much your case is worth. Enlist the help of a pedestrian accident injury lawyer in Indiana to help you build your case and protect your rights throughout this process.
Pedestrian accidents can result in a lifetime of severe medical consequences for injury victims. While a civil award does not make up for your emotional losses, Indiana’s civil laws allow you to recover compensation for your injuries, time missed at work, and pain and suffering when another’s negligence played a significant role. You can count on an Indiana pedestrian accident injury attorney to represent your side of the story to insurance companies so that you get a settlement or civil award that is equivalent to the damages suffered.
After a pedestrian accident injury, you can learn more about your legal rights by contacting Stracci Law Group for a free case review at (219) 525-1000. We also welcome you to message about your case here, too.