Being hit by a car is terrible even if you’re a fellow driver, but it’s even more dangerous and terrifying if you’re a pedestrian. Without the protection of a car, you’re much more likely to be seriously injured, especially if hit at high speed. If you’ve recently been in a pedestrian accident, you need to know these three facts that can help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
Injuries aren’t always immediately evident
It’s easy to assume that you’ll be able to tell right away that you’ve been harmed in a pedestrian accident, and some injuries are obvious: if you’ve broken a bone, you will certainly know and seek treatment as soon as possible. However, other injuries may take time to develop, and they can be just as serious as those apparent directly after being hit. Some of these injuries may be life-threatening, such as internal bleeding, or they may result in significant impairment and discomfort, such as a slipped disk in your vertebrae. Others, like concussions, may take far longer than expected to resolve, even if they do not cause permanent damage.
This is why it’s so important to seek immediate medical treatment right after being hit, regardless of whether you see or feel injuries. Advocate for yourself and ask the medical personnel to run tests for other problems, such as spinal cord injuries or concussions, and know that you should always return to the doctor if you feel anything is amiss – including with your mental health.
Accidents can result in mental trauma as well as physical trauma
When you think of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you likely think of soldiers returning from war, but many other experiences can cause PTSD – including pedestrian accidents. A significant number of individuals involved in motor vehicle accidents, whether as a driver or a pedestrian, develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the accident; this includes symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, depression, and feeling disconnected from reality. You might find that you’re afraid to cross streets, that you avoid the place where the accident occurred, or you repeatedly ruminate on the experience. You also might feel guilty for being so anxious or worry that something is wrong with you for feeling this way.
Know that these feelings are very common amongst accident survivors and that there is help available. You can ask your primary care physician to give you a referral for a qualified mental health professional, whether that is a counselor, psychiatrist, or therapist. Just as your physical injuries need attention, so do your emotional injuries.
Pedestrians can still be at fault for car accidents
It’s a common myth that pedestrians are never at fault for a car accident, as drivers have the responsibility to watch for pedestrians and ensure their safety. However, the law in Illinois only fully absolves pedestrians if they were acting with due caution around roadways, including walking in crosswalks and avoiding jumping out in front of vehicles without adequate stopping distance. This means that if you were acting dangerously around vehicles, such as jaywalking or suddenly stepping into the road, you may be less likely to win a settlement against a driver in a pedestrian accident.
However, it’s always best to seek the advice of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in Chicago if you’ve been injured in an accident, as they can review all the facts of the case and advise you on how to proceed with a legal case. It’s possible that you can receive a settlement even if you were partially responsible for the accident, and a great lawyer will examine every possible angle to get you the justice that you deserve. This can include medical records, video or photographic evidence, and witness statements, as well as careful accounting of all the bills you accrue.
While your lawyer will advise you on your next steps, it’s also important to think about what you should do on your own – and what you shouldn’t do at all.
Social media can damage a legal case
Naturally, you will want to seek support from your family and friends after being seriously injured in a pedestrian accident, but be aware that this could harm a potential legal case, especially if your social media is publicly accessible to anyone with a quick internet search. The driver’s insurance agency will scour your social media for information about the accident, including photos and discussions between yourself and your loved ones, which they may be able to use against you during a legal case.
While it’s important to document your injuries after an accident, avoid posting them online and instead keep them, along with your medical records, in a secure place so that you can share them with your lawyer as evidence. Speak to your loved ones privately through text, email, or phone calls rather than discussing the matter on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms. If you feel the need to explain why you’re injured to those you don’t feel comfortable contacting directly, keep information vague and avoid sharing photos or screenshots of medical records.
Any and all publicly accessible information can and will be found by the other party’s insurance agency or defense attorneys, so minimize what you share online if you’d like to get the maximum compensation through the legal system.
As you recover from a pedestrian accident, you must consider physical, emotional, legal, and social factors. It can be overwhelming to manage all these components of your care, but with the help of professionals and your support network, you can move on from a pedestrian accident with confidence and optimism. Keeping these four facts in mind will speed your healing and offer you peace of mind.