Knowing what to do if you get hit by a car as a pedestrian can help you protect your rights. As a pedestrian, getting hit by a car can be a traumatic experience. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. If the police were not called to the scene, make sure to report the accident as soon as possible and document everything. It’s also important to inform your insurance company and speak with a lawyer to start the process of recovering compensation for injuries you may have sustained.
Who Pays Damages in Hit-and-Run Pedestrian Accidents?
If you are hurt in an accident, the person responsible for the accident will be financially liable for your medical bills and other losses. You can seek compensation for the medical bills you have paid and may need to pay in the future, as well as other financial consequences, by filing a claim for damages.
However, in some cases, the driver flees the accident scene. This could be because the driver does not want to take responsibility for his or her actions, risks facing additional legal consequences, or does not have auto insurance. This type of incident is known as a hit-and-run accident, and it can be challenging to determine the driver’s identity.
Pedestrian accident statistics show that:
- Chicago recorded 37,226 incidents in 2021, resulting in 36 fatalities and 4,807 injuries.
- Most hit-and-run accidents result in property damage, although many also lead to injuries or death.
- Hit-and-run incidents tend to occur more frequently during the evening and early morning hours,
- Hit-and-run accidents put pedestrians and cyclists at a higher risk of serious injuries.
When there is a hit-and-run accident, the person responsible for the collision is the driver who caused it. Usually, this is also the driver who left the scene without stopping to help or provide identification.
It is essential to report the incident to the police or consult a lawyer. Hopefully, the police will be able to find the driver who fled. If the driver is found, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance provider, or bring a personal injury lawsuit against him or her. However, if you cannot locate the driver, your insurance policy may still cover the damages. Certain types of insurance might cover hit-and-run pedestrian accident damages:
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
Illinois law requires drivers to have uninsured motorist UM coverage, which provides bodily injury coverage in the event of an accident caused by an at-fault driver without liability insurance or a hit-and-run driver. The state mandates a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Personal injury protection PIP coverage is an optional insurance policy that covers medical expenses and lost wages regardless of fault. If you’re involved in a car accident, file a PIP claim with your insurer to seek coverage for your medical expenses and lost wages. Although offered, it is not required in Illinois. You should check with your insurance provider to see if you have this coverage. Policy limits and what is covered vary for those who elect to carry it.
MedPay is an optional type of car insurance in Illinois that covers medical expenses for the policyholder, other named drivers on the policy, and passengers after a car accident.
What to Do After Getting Hit by a Car as a Pedestrian
After a pedestrian accident, you may not even initially comprehend what happened. You may wonder what to do after getting hit by a car. There are specific steps you can take to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Following these steps can ensure that you can take legal action to hold the negligent driver responsible and receive compensation for your injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
After being involved in a crash, you may feel fine and believe that you don’t require medical attention. Your priority may be to gather insurance information and move on. However, it’s possible that you have sustained injuries that are not immediately apparent, and if left untreated, they could worsen. It’s advisable to consult a doctor to ensure that you’re in good health. Your doctor can also document any injuries that you may have sustained. Doing so can help support your claim for compensation.
Contact Law Enforcement
Call 911 or have someone else call. The police who arrive at the accident may ask you to complete an Illinois Motorist Report, which you can do on the scene, at the station, or online. You should follow the instructions to fill out the form as best you can. Completing a police report documents details of the accident and can be crucial in pursuing financial compensation for your injuries.
Collect contact information for the driver and any witnesses, including their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Record the license plate, make, and model of the vehicle that hit you, as some drivers may provide false information. Take pictures of the accident scene, the car that struck you (including the license plate), your injuries, and any landmarks or traffic signals. Keep track of your medical treatment by starting a record beginning with the first medical exam you receive following the crash. Keep copies of all medical bills and receipts when throughout the course of your treatment.
Contact Your Insurance
When you’re safe and calm, contact your insurance company if you have car insurance. You may be entitled to benefits to cover medical bills and other losses, especially if the other driver fled the scene.
Contact a Lawyer
It’s essential to speak with a pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. A lawyer can review your case, explain your legal options, and answer your questions. He or she can also investigate the accident to find out what happened and look for evidence of negligence from the driver. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies for a resolution that meets your needs, whether it be through settlement or filing a lawsuit.
How to Make a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
When a pedestrian accident occurs, the driver of the vehicle involved is generally held responsible for any resulting losses. To determine whether the driver was at fault, it must be established whether he or she was negligent.
To file a claim against the driver for injuries sustained in the accident, you will need to prove that the driver was negligent by showing that:
- The driver had a duty to exercise care on the road.
- The driver’s behavior was less careful than that of a reasonable person in the same circumstances.
- This failure to meet the standard of care directly caused the pedestrian accident.
- You were injured as a result of the accident.
If you can prove these, you will be able to show that the driver was at fault in the accident. When you are involved in a pedestrian accident where the driver is at fault, you can file a claim against his or her liability insurance coverage. This claim is known as a third-party insurance claim and can typically be submitted online or over the phone. The other driver’s insurance company will then investigate the claim and offer a settlement if they find their policyholder to be at fault.
The insurance company will likely require you to sign a “release for damages” before settling your claim. This release means that you agree to accept the offered amount as the only compensation you will receive from the other driver and the driver’s insurer. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney to ensure that you understand the full extent of your damages and that you receive a fair settlement. Your attorney can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Can you sue an uninsured driver in Illinois? It is mandatory for all drivers in Illinois to have liability insurance, but some opt to disregard this rule and break the law. If the driver responsible for the accident is uninsured, he or she can be held personally accountable for any damages incurred. Similarly, if the driver’s liability coverage is insufficient to pay for all the expenses, he or she can be held responsible for any costs that exceed the policy limit.
In this case, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to receive compensation that you are not able to recover from his or her insurance. You will be attempting to recover compensation from his or her assets. However, this is a much more complicated, time-consuming, and challenging process than recovering from an insurance company. Moreover, the driver may not have substantial assets to recover in the first place. A more viable option would be to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance provider. A pedestrian accident attorney can help you determine who to recover damages from after your accident.