5/26/2015 11:30 AM

Know Your Rights as a Pedestrian

I recently had a friend ask me about a potential claim, wanting my advice.  Unfortunately, by the time my help was asked for, it was too late to be helpful.

His wife was recently shopping at Walmart.  When she left the store to walk to her car, she was hit by a vehicle backing out of a parking space.  The impact knocked her to the ground, causing her to briefly black out.

After she came too and stood up, she told the other party she was fine.  They said okay and drove away.

However, she was not okay.  She did not act normal for the remainder of the day, and at the end of the day ended up at the emergency room.  She had a concussion.

I saw her a few days later, and she seemed lively and happy, so I think she was lucky.  So far, it seems all is okay.

The reason I was asked about this was the possibly of a claim against the other party.   

It was too late – the driver already left, and they had none of their information.

In the past year, this is not the first time I’ve heard about injuries sustained by someone hit by a car backing up in a parking lot.

A bit of important advice, it may sound obvious, but DON’T walk behind a turned on vehicle in a parking lot.  Take the extra time to cross the lane and walk farther away.  Just because you feel visible, doesn’t mean the driver will see you, or is even paying attention.

I really hate taking claims from pedestrians hit by cars….  It really just doesn’t seem like a fair fight, car versus pedestrian.

Beyond my main advice, which is don’t trust that other drivers will EVER see you as a pedestrian, here’s some other important advice.  Make sure you and your family members know your rights as a pedestrian and how to react in case of an accident.

If you or someone with you are hit by a vehicle, even if you are in a parking lot, call the police.  Understand if this person hit the ground, they are now injured and not necessarily thinking straight.  They may even have a concussion.

A police officer will not only make a police report, which is invaluable when making a claim, but the officer will also be able to assess if an ambulance needs to be called.  Possible head and neck injuries are not to be taken lightly.

A police report is often used to help determine fault, which makes an insurance claim much easier.

Seek medical attention if you are injured.  Make sure the person who fell is talking, walking, and doing everything else normally.  If not, they really should be seen by a doctor.  Tell the facility that the injury is due to an auto accident.

If a police officer does not come to the scene, exchange contact information and insurance information.  Particularly, make sure you get the information of the vehicle that hit you or your family member.  

This is a legit claim and is covered by their auto insurance as bodily injury.  If they don’t have insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage would come in to protect you.  Keep in mind that Indiana still determines fault of accidents, and this could affect your claim.

If the accident is a hit and run, inform the police as soon as you can.  Also take contact information from anyone nearby who saw what happened.  This will narrow your chances of being able to turn in a claim significantly.

As soon as you are well enough, see your agent to get the claim turned in.  We turn the claim in with your insurance company and the other company, so you have your insurance as a backup and to help fight for you if needed.

Both companies’ adjusters will then call to get your statement about what happened.  If you are hurt badly, and considering getting a lawyer, speak with your lawyer before giving a statement to the insurance companies.  

Even if you feel fine after being hit by a car, still get the other party’s information and insurance information.  Not all injuries show up immediately, and you don’t want to pay it all out of pocket.

Please be safe, both as a pedestrian and as a driver, and always watch out for others!  


Photo:  “Pedestrian safety: Use retroreflectors in the dark.” By Jorgen Schyberg. Flirk. CC BY 2.0



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