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Here’s What To Do If You Hit a Pedestrian

Author: Sherryn de Vos
Date: 2017-03-28
There are a few core rules to remember if you accidentally hit a pedestrian. We breakdown what procedures you should follow.

Statistics show that out of all road fatalities, 30-40% are pedestrian related accidents. December 2016 saw a shocking 34.6% of the 800 road deaths to be that of pedestrians. Hitting a pedestrian can be devastating to not only the pedestrian, but to the driver too. Should the driver be uninjured in the accident, they will have to cope with the emotional, financial, and legal consequences. Minimizing the impact that this can have on your life can be possible. We thought we would guide you through how to do so. 

Stop. Immediately

This is the first and most vital piece of advice. Never, ever flee from the scene. You might be reading this and thinking “I would never do that”. Flight or fight is, however, a very real psychological reaction to panic.

The circumstances of a pedestrian accident vary from case to case. It might be dark and you might be in an unfamiliar or dangerous area. You might have had one glass of wine or a beer before driving. You might have simply not seen the person and just felt yourself hitting something. Whatever the case, to protect yourself, and to potentially save someone’s life, make sure you stop.

Should you flee the scene, the consequences of a hit and run are more severe. You don’t want the police knocking on your door a few days later to arrest you for homicide. 

Assist The Person

Should the person be in immediate danger, assist as much as possible. If they are in the middle of the road and are in danger of being hit again, try and get the person to safety. It is vital to try and not move the person as much as possible to avoid causing more injury. In certain cases, however, this is unavoidable. Should the person be seriously injured, such as bleeding profusely, try and minimize the bleeding.

Never perform CPR, though, should you not have proper knowledge on how to do it. Should the person pass away, you could be held responsible for stopping CPR. Never try and assist someone beyond your capabilities. You could cause more damage, or face the legal consequences should they pass. 

Call For Help

Call for emergency services immediately. Should you not call the police to report it, the case will be considered suspicious and will be investigated. Make sure you also report it to your insurance company as soon as you can.  

Do Not Cover Up Evidence

Don't try and hide anything. Do not wash clothes, delete phone calls or messages around the incident, or conceal damage to your car. Also, do not have a drink in between the incident and speaking to police. No matter how much you may need one. This could land up potentially creating an even worse situation for yourself. 

Collect Evidence

In order to protect yourself, legally, as much as possible, try and take pictures of the scene. Should you have killed the person at night, and you are out of network range, record as much as possible. In cases like this, you could be held accountable for a hit and run should you drive to an area to find signal. Take photos on your phone of the person after the accident happened.

Remove the person out of the street. Take photos of your odometer, your licence, the car, and the surrounding areas. Only then can you drive for assistance. Make it clear, however, why you left the scene and go back with the emergency services. 

Do Not Admit Guilt At The Scene

You will be in a state of shock and feeling guilty, should you have seriously injured or killed someone. Make sure, however, that you keep your language very neutral. Do not apologize or tell anyone at the scene that you feel guilty or terrible about the situation.

It will be up to the police to decide guilt. Should anyone hear remorseful language, they can use it as evidence against you and make you liable for the claim. 

Do Show Remorse During The Investigation

Don’t, however, take this too far! A total lack of remorse during a court case is highly suspicious. Remorseful language and actions are vital if you are trying to prove yourself innocent in these cases.  

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