As a motorist, nothing can be scarier than hitting a cyclist or pedestrian, especially on a busy highway where multitudes can quickly mill around. Accidents are commonplace and sometimes unavoidable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report of 2017 that estimates that over 6,000 died as a result of it.
Mostly, hitting a pedestrian or a cyclist while driving at a speed of over 30 miles an hour is sure to kill. As a driver though, it is your role to not only ensure you drive safely but also exercise decorum and responsibility if you unluckily cause an accident. Staying calm immediately after a crash and speaking to the right individuals may minimize your chance.
With that, the following are what to do when you hit a hapless pedestrian:
Immediately after the accident
The ensuing confusion can easily make the motorist flee, yet, hit and run worsens the situation by bringing in the aspect of criminal charges on top of the personal injury lawsuit. It’s normal to feel upset after bumping a pedestrian, but how you handle the situation can determine the severity of the consequences.
First, you must take a deep breath and focus on administering first aid. You should only offer basic medical treatment. If the accident has caused severe harm, be swift in looking for an ambulance to ferry the victim to the nearest health centre.
Next, report to the police and your auto insurance provider as well as the pedestrians. You may do this with the help of your attorney or as an individual. However, be sure to be as truthful and detailed as possible because whatever you’d say will be used when filing the charges against you.
Be sure to collect all the essential records about the accident, including the state of the cyclist or pedestrian before the crash occurred. You can exchange your name, contact details, and insurance information with them as well.
You must, however, watch your words, especially such words as “I feel guilty,” “I was careless” and so forth. Any word that could suggest you were guilty when you actually wasn’t can seriously affect the personal injury lawsuit and subsequently increase the chances of you getting found as guilty. You must also avoid speaking directly to the insurance company representing the victim or his/her lawyer.
Potential Liability Charges
Hitting a pedestrian means you potentially stand to face civil and criminal liability. However, what’s typically used to determine whether you are guilty or not is finding who was responsible, or simply whose fault was it.
A fault is deduced by the law of negligence whereby the negligent party is deemed as the person who failed to apply a reasonable standard of caution under the circumstances.
Civil liability is when you get sued for the damages or injuries induced, including the medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress and the wages lost. Criminal liability, however, is when you run away without caring enough to handle the situation. If the accident were as a result of driving under the influence (DUI), it would still qualify to be a criminal case.
You can avoid hitting a pedestrian!
The best way to do this is to uphold the habit of “defensive driving” at all times. Be wary of everyone using the road, including those using wheelchairs, rollerskates, bikes, and those riding motorcycles. Still, watch out for kids and the elderly because they usually aren’t as cautious as adults and can stray outside crosswalks.
Finally, in case of an accident, quickly talk to your lawyer so that you take the correct moves under his/her legal guidance.
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