In Chicago, millions of people opt to walk for various reasons every day. Some enjoy getting outside for fresh air and exercise along the lake. Others attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by leaving their car at home and walking to work instead. Whatever the reason, walking is a popular activity for many residents and visitors alike. Most drivers understand that they should be careful and watch for pedestrians crossing the street, especially in the metropolitan areas. While pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a crosswalk, and when they are crossing the street properly at a red light, accidents still do happen in Chicago. When a pedestrian is hit by a motor vehicle at a stoplight, serious injuries can ensue.
What to Do if a Car Hits You While Crossing the Street
A pedestrian accident is one of the most dangerous situations, as those who are walking have nothing to protect them from the size and weight of a motor vehicle. Even at slow speeds, a collision can be fatal. If a driver hits you because they ignored a stoplight, it’s important to understand the next steps to take.
- Move to safety. If you are able to do so safely, move out of the street and to the sidewalk to avoid further injury.
- Assess your injuries. Are your injuries severe? Do you need immediate medical attention? If so, call an ambulance right away or ask someone nearby to make the call for you.
- Call the police. The police are trained to respond to this type of accident. They will arrive on the scene and review the situation. They will also speak with bystanders to build a picture of what exactly happened. The police might perform a sobriety test on the driver if they believe that person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They will write up an official police report detailing the accident, which will be useful in supporting your claim.
- Seek medical attention. It is important to see a doctor right away, even if you don’t think your injuries are especially serious. After an accident, when adrenaline is running high, it can be easy to miss the signs of an injury. This is especially true with traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and muscle strains. Additionally, the insurance companies will ask to review your medical records once you submit your claim requesting compensation for your damages. If they notice that you waited to seek medical treatment, they can attest that your injuries must not have been that serious. They might even go so far as to claim that your injuries might not even be related to this accident.
What NOT to do After an Accident
While it’s essential to understand what to do after a vehicle hits you at a stoplight, there are also two important things to avoid after an accident.
- Don’t apologize. Of course, it is natural to say the words “I’m sorry” in response to an unfortunate situation, even if you know the driver is at fault. Remember that if you are hit by a motor vehicle at a stoplight and you apologize, the driver and their insurer could argue that you admitted fault and took responsibility for the accident. For this reason, it’s best to remain silent and wait for the police to arrive.
- Avoid speaking with the insurance companies. After suffering injuries in a crash, it is very likely that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will attempt to contact you and ask for your version of what happened. They will probably appear to be very concerned about your condition, and you might be tempted to give them the details they are asking for. Unfortunately, these attempts to collect your statement can actually work against you. The insurance companies will notoriously look for any way to discredit your version of the accident with the goal of reducing the value of your claim. It’s best to avoid all calls from the insurance company and allow your attorney to handle this communication.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you suffered injuries in an accident at a stoplight, the days afterward are likely going to feel a bit surreal and confusing. Between trips in and out of the hospital, follow up statements from the police, and dealing with your injuries, the whole situation can be overwhelming for anyone. Once the insurance companies start to call about your claim, things become even more frustrating. An attorney can help handle your claim so that you can focus on resting and recovering from your injuries. Typically, a pedestrian accident lawyer can assist with:
- Communicating with the insurance companies
- Filing all of your paperwork on time and correctly
- Collecting necessary documentation, such as the official police report and medical records, to support your claim
- Speaking with anyone who witnessed the accident
- Helping you understand the legal process and stay informed on the progress of your claim
Even if you’re not sure if working with a personal injury attorney is the right step for you, it’s beneficial to explore your legal options. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we offer a free consultation for all pedestrian accident victims. Come prepared with your questions and we’ll talk through the details of your situation.
Speak With a Pedestrian Accident Attorney in Chicago
No one anticipates that they will be hit by a motor vehicle when they are crossing the street at a red light, but accidents do happen. If a motorist who wasn’t paying attention and didn’t stop properly at a traffic signal injures you, call an attorney to learn your rights. Between expensive medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, and the numerous non-economic damages that result from an accident, the bills can start to add up quickly.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are dedicated to fighting for our clients’ rights to just compensation. We offer a free consultation to all new clients and will carefully review the details of your case before suggestion next steps. Call us today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online to learn more.