A car hit me walking across the street. What do I do?

The number of people injured in car accidents increases every year. The outcome of such injuries depends a lot on the type of personal injuries and type of car accident. If you are in a car, then you will probably be less severely injured than a pedestrian hit by the same car. In the USA alone, thousands of deaths of pedestrians are involved in fatal car accidents each year. There are even more injured pedestrians. (1) Every year, over 100,000 of those people are involved in car accidents in Virginia. (2)

It can be complicated to navigate the legal and medical systems on your own — and you don’t have to.

A attorney for personal injury can advise you on your rights within the Commonwealth of Virginia and help you get the compensation you deserve, particularly if you are a pedestrian involved in a truck accident or car accident.

There are many risk factors for auto accidents involving pedestrians. We live in a modern world that often requires us to be in a rush in order to stay on schedule. Our smartphones are near-constant distractions. That is why we don’t pay special attention to things happening around us. Many pedestrians get hit by a car while crossing the street and looking at their smartphones at the same time. Kids tend to walk alone without the attention of their parents and they usually get injured while making a sudden crossing the street or they let go their parents and start running towards the street. Another risk category includes the elderly, especially those who use walking aids. They tend to walk very slowly and in combination with impaired vision, they almost stand no chance of avoiding a collision with a car if they make a mistake and start walking across the street without noticing the incoming car. (3, 4)

Pedestrians get hit by cars more often during the night and early morning, when there is not enough daylight and vision is impaired. Also, almost half of pedestrians hit by a car are intoxicated (alcohol, drugs). (3)

If you have been involved in an auto accident, a personal injury attorney can help you understand the accident law that applies to your case. They will help you process your claims and document your injuries, whether the symptoms appear immediately or days later.

Injured areas in pedestrians depend on the age of the pedestrians, their height, the speed of the car, and type of vehicle that hit them. For accidents involving cars, the first spot that gets in touch with a pedestrian is usually the bumper. It will hit the lower leg in adult pedestrians. As the car continues to move, it will push the pedestrian onto the hood, causing a blow to the thigh area. Then, it will usually push the pedestrian further, causing an injury to the head or shoulder to the hood or windshield. In most cases, if the car’s speed is low, the pedestrian will stay on the hood. However, in case of high speed impact, the pedestrian will be pushed further back on the roof or over the car. (5)

In cases when the car hits a child, the impact site is located in the areas of the thigh, pelvis, abdomen, chest, or head. This depends mostly on the age of the child and the position of the bumper on the car. The most common injuries in children include head and neck injuries followed by musculoskeletal injuries. (6)

One of the most important factors that affect the outcome after a collision with a car is the availability of emergency medicine treatment. The faster the pedestrian gets to the hospital, the better the outcome. In cases when a pedestrian is hit by a car in remote rural areas that require an ambulance a lot of time to get to the site of the accident and then to the hospital, the outcomes are much worse. (7)

Mild cases can turn severe in a matter of hours, unfortunately leading to situations where hiring a wrongful death lawyer — rather than a lawyer for brain injuries or personal injuries — becomes necessary.

Some of the most common injuries include soft tissue injuries at the spot of impact (contusion, wounds, sprains, strains, etc). Fractures are very common, mostly in the lower leg and pelvis, but other bones are also frequently injured. Head injuries can be the cause of traumatic brain injuries. Some of the most common symptoms include loss of consciousness, headache, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.

If you ever get hit by a car, you should stay in place and call the ambulance if you can. Don’t try to be brave and walk it off like nothing happened. Accident victims are often unaware of their rights after a car accident involving pedestrians, but you should stay on the scene, even if you think your injuries are minor. Ask for help and wait for the ambulance to come. In most cases, pedestrian trauma is at least moderate ,and in a lot of cases, it is very severe. Lie on the ground and wait for an ambulance to come.

Once the ambulance arrives, the paramedics will make an assessment and start with preparations for transfer to a hospital. They will usually check your vitals, ask you the mechanism of injury and injured areas, look for injuries, place an IV, and give you pain killers. It is very important to immobilize the patient in order to reduce the chance of further damage. The cervical spine will be immobilized using a neck collar, and the patient will be placed on spinal board that prevents spine injuries. In case of injury to the extremities, immobilization can be used to reduce pain and prevent damage. Major injuries, especially head trauma, may require fast intubation in order to provide some chance for survival.

After the initial immobilization, the goal is to transfer the patient to the hospital as soon as possible. Once the patient arrives at the hospital, further diagnostic processes will start. X-rays, ultrasound, and CT scans are frequently used to check the injured areas.

A licensed attorney for personal injuries practicing in Virginia will be experienced in car accident cases and can help you get the medical treatment you need quickly.

However, there are some things that can help prevent pedestrian car accidents. Try to wear reflective clothing when you know that you’ll be walking in low vision conditions (night, no lights, etc.). Check carefully for traffic when crossing the road. Cross on crosswalks. Don’t use your phone when crossing the street. Keep the children close by yourself when crossing the road. (8)

In conclusion, if you ever get hit by a car, call for help and wait for an ambulance to come. They will make a quick assessment of your injuries and transfer you to the hospital where you can be adequately treated.

Settlements vary depending on the severity of your damages, but even if an injury doesn’t appear to be very serious immediately following the accident, it might cost you years of stress and pain if you don’t act quickly.

You need a personal injury attorney who focuses on brain injury law and wrongful death claims resulting from auto and truck accidents to guide you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve.

  1. Peden M. World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention: Summary. World Health Organization. 2004
  2. https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/safety/crash_data/crash_facts/crash_facts_20.pdf
  3. Traffic Safety Facts 2004:Pedestrians. National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration. 2004
  4. Shankar U. Pedestrian Roadway Fatalities. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2003
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2859736/
  6. Peng RY, Bongard FS. Pedestrian versus motor vehicle accidents: An analysis of 5,000 patients. Journal of the American College of Surgery. 1999;189(4):343–8.
  7. Mock CN, Jurkovich GJ, nii-Amon-Kotei D, Arreola-Risa C, Maier RV.Trauma mortality patterns in three nations at different economic levels: implications for global trauma system development J Trauma 1998445804–12.discussion 12–4
  8. https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/pedestrian_safety/index.html