What Happens If I Hit a Pedestrian with My Car? - Adamson Ahdoot

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What Happens to Me If I Hit a Pedestrian with My Car?

July 8, 2024 Alan Ahdoot
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Hitting a pedestrian is common in major cities and other densely populated areas like California. In 2021 alone, the Golden State recorded a total of 1,108 pedestrian fatalities, showcasing a 9.3% increase from the previous year. 

This alarming trend has compelled the government to prioritize pedestrian safety. They’ve established new legislation requiring counties to make safety improvements on “high injury streets and intersections.”

But despite their efforts, accidents continue to happen. While no one wants to prepare themselves for a traumatic incident such as hitting a pedestrian, it’s vital you know what to do if you find yourself in such a scenario. 

Below, we’ll outline everything you must do when you accidentally hit a pedestrian with your vehicle.

What to Do After A Pedestrian Accident

It’s natural to feel traumatized after any accident. However, staying calm is crucial during such critical situations. Here’s what you must do if you accidentally hit a pedestrian:

Stop Your Vehicle

The first thing you must do after a pedestrian accident is to stop your vehicle immediately and move it to a safe location. Then, turn on your hazard lights to alert other motorists.

Avoid stopping your car in the middle of the road, as this could cause secondary accidents. If you can’t move your car off the road, try to park it as far away from traffic. 

We understand how scary it can be to accidentally hit a pedestrian, but the last thing you want to do is leave the scene. Fleeing the scene could make things worse for you and the injured pedestrian. 

Help the Pedestrian

If possible, ask the pedestrian if they need any help. Avoid moving them unless they’re in traffic or near any other hazards. Moving them could worsen any existing injuries they have sustained. 

Call 911

Do not give the injured pedestrian medical treatment unless you have proper training. Instead, call 911 and wait for help. A dispatcher will guide you through any immediate steps you can take to help the injured pedestrian. 

Remember, your primary goal is to ensure your safety and that of the injured pedestrian. Don’t attempt to do anything that could put you or the pedestrian at further risk. 

Call the Police

Once first responders are on the scene, you must call law enforcement. A police officer can help file an official police report detailing the facts of the incident. Be polite and answer any question the officer asks you honestly.

Once the report is complete, ask them for a copy. Police reports are one of the documents you’ll have to submit to your insurance company when filing your claim. 

Exchange Information

If possible, exchange information with the pedestrian. Ask them for their name, phone number, email address, and insurance information. 

Although feeling sorry for the accident is completely understandable, you must avoid making statements such as “I’m sorry” or taking the blame. These expressions, although well-intentioned, can be misconstrued as an admission of fault. 

Instead, you can tell the pedestrian you’re here to help them. This statement helps show your compassion without assigning any blame. 

Take Photos

Take pictures of any damages you find on your vehicle. We also recommend you take photos of any traffic signal or crosswalk at the scene. This information can help establish the events that led to the incident. 

If you find any witnesses, politely ask them for their names and contact information.

Report the Incident

Lastly, you must report the incident to your insurance company immediately. Most policies require drivers to immediately notify their providers of any incident that could trigger a claim. 

Pedestrian crossing the street without looking
Drivers who strike pedestrians could face civil and criminal charges depending on the severity of the incident. 

What Happens to Me If I Hit a Pedestrian with My Car?

Drivers who accidentally strike pedestrians can face criminal and civil charges. Depending on the severity of the incident, you may face:

  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Fines
  • Victim compensation
  • Probation
  • Incarceration

If you, the driver, were found guilty of reckless driving, you could be charged with the following violations:

Traffic Infraction

Drivers who commit traffic violations in a pedestrian accident are more likely to face fines and demerit points on their driving records.

Hit & Run Accidents

If drivers don’t stop after hitting a pedestrian, they can be criminally charged for hit-and-run. 

The penalties for hit-and-run accidents vary depending on the severity of the accident. But in most states, a driver can be charged with a felony and sentenced to prison if they leave an accident scene where a pedestrian has been seriously injured or killed. 

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 

Driving under the influence (DUI) is typically considered a misdemeanor crime. But if the offender seriously injures or causes the death of a pedestrian, they can be charged with a felony DUI. 

At its worst, they can be sentenced to a lengthy prison term and charged with thousands of dollars in fines and victim restitution. 

Do I Need to Hire a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer?

The potential legal consequences of hitting a pedestrian with a car can be serious. Drivers like you could face criminal and civil charges, including hefty fines, license suspension, and jail time. 

So, it would be best for you to work with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer. Here’s how a pedestrian accident attorney can help you navigate the aftermath of a traumatic incident: 

  • Determining Liability: Contrary to popular belief, pedestrians can also be responsible for such incidents. Your pedestrian lawyer will help you determine liability by thoroughly investigating the incident. 
  • Understand Complex Laws: A pedestrian accident attorney will help you understand California’s complex pedestrian accident laws. They will analyze your case and advise on the best course of action.
  • Legal Representation: Should your case go to court, you need a skilled pedestrian injury lawyer to represent you. A pedestrian accident lawyer will build a strong defense on your behalf. They will ensure that your voice is heard in court. 

Remember, even if you believe you were partially at fault, you don’t have to go through the legal process alone. A qualified pedestrian accident lawyer will be your strongest advocate during this challenging time.

Protect Your Rights With the Help of a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

While we hope you never find yourself in such a situation like this, understanding what to do after hitting a pedestrian will empower you to make the right call. 

By following the guidelines in this blog, you can prevent causing further harm to the pedestrian and protect yourself from potential liabilities. 

If you need help building a strong defense for yourself, look no further than Adamson Ahdoot. 

Adamson Ahdoot is one of California’s leading personal injury law firms. Get expert legal advice from one of our experienced pedestrian accident attorneys and call us at (800) 310-1606. 

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Our team can better advise you on your legal options once we receive any available evidence about the incident.

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