Herbert Trial Law

I Just Got Hit By a Car! What Do I Do?

2024-04-10, Kyle Herbert

If a car hits you in a pedestrian accident, you likely have a claim against the driver. However, the city of Houston may share liability. 

Pedestrian Hit By a Car? You Have Legal Options

When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it is a pedestrian-car accident. Typically, the pedestrian category includes anyone involved in the accident while: 

  • On Foot
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running 
  • Hiking
  • Lying down
  • Sitting 

Most often, these accidents occur at crosswalks and intersections. However, they can happen on highways, in parking lots, or in any area where people and cars may cross paths. 

Here are a few 2022 statistics from a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) to consider: 

  • Texas had 2.78 pedestrian fatalities for every 100,000 residents in 2022. 
  • Houston had 5.16 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents. 
  • In 2022, drivers killed 119 pedestrians in Houston.

What Do I Do After I Get Hit By a Car? 

When you get hit by a car, your next actions are a key part of protecting your health and your legal rights. 

  1. Call 911 if you or anyone else requires immediate medical attention. 
  2. Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver. If they aren’t the owner, get the owner’s information, too. 
  3. Avoid any discussion of fault, your legal options, or the cause of the accident. 
  4. Call law enforcement to the scene so that they can write a police report. 
  5. Document the scene, your injuries, the car that hit you, and the surrounding area. 
  6. Get the names and contact info of any witnesses. 
  7. If you have car insurance, call your insurance company to let them know about the accident. 

If You Get Hit By a Car, Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you experience any level of discomfort or pain after the accident, seek immediate medical attention. Usually, an emergency room is your best option for quick treatment. However, it’s a good idea to at least contact your primary care physician. 

It’s important that you do not wait. Insurance companies and juries often assume that you aren’t hurt if you don’t seek medical attention after an accident. So, it is essential to your health and your legal rights to see a doctor. 

Who Pays My Medical Bills If I Get Hit By a Car?

Who Pays My Medical Bills If I Get Hit By a Car?

Texas is a fault state, which means the person who caused the accident has to pay for related expenses. Depending on the situation the liable party may be different. 

  • The drivers involved in the incident 
  • Owners of the vehicle(s) if someone else drove their vehicle
  • Employers, if the driver is on duty in a commercial vehicle 
  • Anyone who contributes to the accident, including government agencies who failed to maintain the intersection or crosswalk
  • Your personal auto insurance or health insurance

Your health insurance may cover your medical care after the accident. Then, the insurance company can seek reimbursement from the person at fault. Alternatively, they may have a claim on part of the settlement or court award you receive. 

In a no-fault state, the driver’s insurance company will likely cover some or all of your medical bills. Most no-fault insurers have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy to cover the holder as well as any injured individuals. 

What Are My Legal Options If I Get Hit By a Car?

If you just got hit by a car, you want to know who’s going to cover your medical expenses and maybe even your rent if you can’t work. An insurance claim is the fastest way to receive compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help you throughout this process, taking over communication and negotiations with the insurance company. If the insurer refuses to settle, you can file a car accident lawsuit

Typically, pedestrians file claims against the driver who hit them. In certain cases, you may also file against a city or state government entity responsible for road maintenance. 

Filing a Claim Against the Driver or Owner

When a car hits a pedestrian, the driver is often at fault. Typically, state traffic and negligence laws require drivers to remain alert to their surroundings. They have a duty of care to take any reasonable step to avoid hitting people or objects on the road. 

If a driver hits someone in a crosswalk, they are almost definitely liable for the accident. Even outside of a crosswalk, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle can win a settlement. It requires proof they were paying attention and didn’t suddenly dart into the street. 

In certain cases, the fault is clear. For instance, a speeding driver hits someone who is clearly in the crosswalk. In that example, liability is clear, so the driver’s insurance company is likely to settle out of court. 

legal options after getting hit by a car

Filing a Claim Against a Government Entity

In some pedestrian-car accidents, the cause revolves around city planning and maintenance. A couple of examples can clarify how that works. 

In our first example, a traffic light is broken. If both the driver and pedestrian have the signal to move, they pedestrian may move into oncoming traffic. Then, you can file a claim against the municipality responsible for the maintenance of the light. 

However, if you notice the oncoming traffic also had a green light and moved anyway, you may not be able to recover compensation. That’s also an example of why it is important not to admit fault before you speak to an attorney. 

In our second example, let’s take a look at planning. A poorly placed crosswalk can be as misleading as a broken signal. If the city planner puts a crosswalk just after a curve in a busy road without a signal, it can lead to disaster. 

That poor planning creates a safety hazard. Drivers will whip through that curve with no idea there’s a crosswalk just beyond it. 

How Much Is My Pedestrian Accident Claim Worth? 

The value of a claim depends on the situation, so there is no universal answer. Generally, your claim’s value changes with the following factors:

  • Clarity of fault in terms of the cause of the accident
  • Extent of your injuries 
  • Impact on your life and livelihood (loss of enjoyment or income)
  • Pain and suffering you experience from your injuries and treatment plan

Most of these cases settle in the claim process well before trial. That means you may not need to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can help you understand the negotiation process and your best options. 

Can a Pedestrian Be At Fault for an Accident?

Yes, a pedestrian is at fault for a pedestrian-vehicle accident if they do not have the legal right to walk in the street. A common example is jaywalking, which is illegal. People assume cars are able to take evasive action or stop, but they can’t in every situation. 

If a pedestrian is hit by a car while violating the law, it muddies the fault. Additionally, pedestrians can be liable for an accident they cause in which they aren’t hurt. 

Still, it is rare for a driver to be blameless in a pedestrian-car accident. Texas has a modified comparative fault law that limits the settlement but allows people who share fault to pursue a claim. 

You Just Got Hit By a Car! What’s Next?

Handling your own claim is not a good strategy, especially if you have severe injuries. A skilled trial attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

If you want to discuss your legal options, contact Herbert Trial Law to learn more about your rights.