Among the biggest nightmares of any licensed driver is hitting a pedestrian with their vehicle. When a car strikes a person, the potential for serious injury is high, and the resulting outcomes can be too heinous to contemplate. 

As with any car accident, there are protocols that drivers should follow. Hitting a pedestrian is a shocking and terrifying experience. By responding calmly and methodically, you can help ensure the best possible outcome.

Call 911

Once you’ve established that you (and any passengers in your vehicle) are okay and not in immediate danger, check on the pedestrian's condition. Call for medical assistance and stay with the pedestrian until help arrives. If they are in a dangerous position (i.e. in the line of traffic), try to minimize the risk of further injuries. For example, set up flares around the pedestrian to prevent being struck by oncoming traffic. If they are seriously injured, do not move them as it may cause further injury. 

Call the police

If you hit a pedestrian with your car, call the police immediately. In many states, including the State of Florida, this is a legal requirement. Stay on the scene until law enforcement arrives. Leaving the scene before the police arrive can result in legal consequences and may be considered a hit-and-run accident involving criminal charges.

Document the accident

Documenting the accident details is important for insurance purposes and if the accident results in legal action against you. Information gathered at the scene should include but is not limited to:

  • Contact details (i.e. name, phone number) of the pedestrian and any witnesses to the accident
  • Time, date, location, weather and road conditions, and any other pertinent details of the accident
  • Your version of how the accident happened
  • Photos of the accident scene to visually record details and support your version of how it happened
  • Photographs of damage to your property
  • Name and badge numbers of law enforcement on the scene

Contact your auto insurance 

Following the accident, it’s important to contact your auto insurance company as soon as possible. Once the accident is reported and a claim is filed, your agent communicates with the pedestrian's legal counsel on your behalf. You (or your attorney) should review your insurance policy to understand coverages and potential liabilities. 

Watch what you say

After hitting a pedestrian, you will be understandably shocked due to the incident. However, it’s important to remain calm and mindful of what you say to your insurance company or law enforcement. Immediately following the accident, you likely will not have a complete understanding of the facts. Do not imply that you are at fault or apologize for the accident, as you may unnecessarily assume liability for the incident. 

When talking with law enforcement, be honest and straightforward when telling your version of the accident. Blaming the pedestrian for their actions (i.e. jaywalking), even if they are found at fault, will not help your case or innocence. Additionally, you might face serious charges if you broke traffic laws that contributed to the accident. 

An experienced auto accident attorney can advise you on statements you should and should not make following an accident. 

Talk to an experienced auto accident attorney

Before you take legal action or attempt to negotiate a settlement with the pedestrian’s insurance or legal representation, speak to an attorney about your case. Their legal expertise will level the playing field, protect your rights, and help you recover any compensation. 

After more than 35 years in practice, we’ve learned that nothing is more important than the quality of each client relationship we build. The more we understand you and your case, the more precisely we can channel our actions and expertise on your behalf. You deserve more than legal counsel - you deserve an advocate who’s willing to fight by your side. Call Hudgins Law Firm at 800-950-5534 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:
https://www.all-about-car-accidents.com/resources/auto-accident/after-car-accident/consequences-car-accident-hitting-pedestrian

https://www.floridabar.org