According to the US Department of Transportation, there were 76,000 pedestrians injured in accidents in the United States during 2012. 4,743 pedestrians were killed during that same year. In Massachusetts alone, there were 72 pedestrian accidents in 2012. Pedestrian accidents are very scary and certainly something that all Massachusetts drivers would want to avoid. Here is some helpful information on MA driving accidents, particularly pedestrian accidents, so that you will know what to do should be encounter one.
What to Do Right After Pedestrian Accidents
If you hit a pedestrian with your car, both you and the pedestrian will probably be distraught. Here are some important things to remember…
- Get to Safety – Pull your car over to the side of the road and park in a safe location. Make sure the injured pedestrian is also safe.
- Call for Help – Call 911 to reach the local police department. Be sure to also request an ambulance, if needed. The responding officer will likely interview all parties and prepare a police report.
- Be Careful What You Say – In the heat of the moment, you may feel awful about someone getting hurt, even if the accident was not your fault. It’s best not to say too much as some sympathetic comments may be interpreted as admission of guilt. When speaking to law enforcement, focus on the facts and sequence of events (rather than your emotional reaction to what may have occurred).
- Exchange Contact Information – Exchange your name, phone number, and insurance information with any parties involved in the accident.
Other Things to Do After the Accident
After you’ve had a chance to calm down, it’s time to take care of some other important tasks.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident. They will typically ask you to fill out an incident report.
- Request a copy of the police report. It may be a few days before it is available, so call the Police Department before visiting in-person.
- Get appropriate follow-up medical care (if you were injured).
What Not To Do
In addition to knowing what to do after an accident, it is also important to understand certain things that you should NOT do.
- Do not talk directly to the pedestrian’s attorney.
- Do not communicate directly with the pedestrian’s insurance company.
- Do not admit or agree to anything without advice from an attorney.
Who Is At Fault?
Although your vehicle may have hit a pedestrian, this does not automatically put you at fault. All MA driving accidents have unique scenarios. There are many cases where either party or even both parties are negligent. Often times a responding officer may note on the police report his/her interpretation as to who was at fault. This is solely the officer’s opinion and is often disputed by insurance companies and/or attorneys representing a particular party. Fault carries with it financial and legal implications, so it is extremely important to understand your rights. To best protect your interests, consult with a local personal injury attorney for advice and guidance on your case.