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6 Things to Do If You’re Injured in a Pedestrian Accident

Sabah Khalaf
10 minute read

Oklahoma City is the 33rd most dangerous city in the U.S. for pedestrians, with 2.3 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people per year. This is just barely behind the metropolis of Los Angeles and ahead of similar cities like Tulsa, Indianapolis, and Austin, Texas. Both pedestrian accidents and fatalities have been on the rise: Fatalities increased by 19% in 2022. It can be dangerous out there for pedestrians – so what can you do? And when do you need to start looking up pedestrian accident lawyers in Oklahoma?

What Is a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian is anyone who is walking, running, or standing along a public roadway, whether they are in a crosswalk, on a sidewalk, or otherwise crossing or moving along the road. When the pedestrian is hit by a motorized vehicle, it qualifies as an accident.

However, Oklahoma pedestrian accident lawyers don’t just deal with people moving on foot. The National Safety Council also provides a definition of what they call vulnerable road users, which is anyone “unprotected by an outside shield,” including pedestrians, road workers, people in wheelchairs, and people on bicycles and scooters. The personal injury claims that can be brought in these cases are similar, and typically all fall under what a pedestrian accident lawyer does.

Dangerous Places for Pedestrians in Oklahoma City

Accidents can happen anywhere, and they’re especially common on dark roads at night. But pedestrian accident lawyers in Oklahoma City are all too familiar with these dangerous intersections:

  • Klein Avenue and Oklahoma City Boulevard: It’s famously difficult to cross OKC Boulevard, which was purposely designed to move traffic quickly, not allow for pedestrians.
  • SW 59 and Pennsylvania Avenue: Although the city built sidewalks, this remains one of the more dangerous intersections in OKC for pedestrians.
  • Reno and Meridian: There’s a very popular bus route here that brings lots of pedestrians to the hard-to-cross Reno Avenue.

Oklahoma City doesn’t have a great reputation for pedestrians, which is why the city created the Watch for Me OKC outreach effort. The idea is to get the word out about cyclist and pedestrian safety, show pedestrians how to navigate the city’s streets, and minimize accidents.

Most Common Pedestrian Injuries

Pedestrian accidents often don’t go well for the person who is “unprotected by an outside shield.” Pedestrians can suffer serious injuries that result in high medical bills, rehabilitation costs, long-term physical and emotional pain, and inability to return to work. Some of the most common injuries Oklahoma City pedestrian accident lawyers see include:

  • Soft tissue injuries: The impact of the collision most commonly causes bruises, cuts, scrapes, and contusions.
  • Broken bones: Broken bones, especially in the arms, legs, hands, and feet, can range from minor fractures to severe compound fractures that require surgery.
  • Head injuries: When a pedestrian hits their head on the ground or the vehicle, they can suffer concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), skull fractures, and other serious head trauma.
  • Spinal cord injuries: The force of impact from a vehicle can damage the spinal cord, resulting in partial or complete paralysis and loss of sensation.
  • Internal injuries: Internal injuries like organ damage, internal bleeding, or damage to blood vessels can be hard to spot after a pedestrian accident.
  • Psychological trauma: Being hit by a car can be traumatic, causing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
  • Fatal injuries: The most severe injuries, like trauma to the head or internal organs, can be fatal. This is when a personal injury claim changes to a wrongful death claim.

The severity of your injuries can vary greatly depending on the facts of the case. If you were wearing a helmet, the vehicle was moving slowly, or you’re simply in good physical condition, your injuries may be reduced. However, if you have any medical bills at all, we recommend contacting a pedestrian accident lawyer in Oklahoma.

Who Is At Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?

One of the first things a lawyer will want to establish is who was at fault. Oklahoma pedestrian accident lawyers know that due to the state’s comparative fault laws, you can only bring a personal injury lawsuit if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident. Fault is assigned based on the concept of negligence: Did one person fail to take reasonable care for themselves or the other person?

The driver is often at fault in pedestrian accidents, for reasons like:

  • Speeding
  • Running a red light
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Failing to yield to a pedestrian with the right of way

The driver isn’t always at fault though. A pedestrian might be at fault if they didn’t take reasonable care to protect themselves while walking on the roadway, including:

  • Jaywalking (not using a crosswalk)
  • Crossing against a signal
  • Entering a roadway unexpectedly
  • Walking while intoxicated
  • Failing to adjust to conditions of poor visibility (like wearing dark clothing at night)

Pedestrian accident cases often rest on which person most failed to exercise reasonable care. A judge determines fault based on evidence like police reports, witness statements, and accident reconstruction. It can be a complicated process, so even if you think you may not have a case, it’s always smart to talk to an attorney.

What to Do If You’re in a Pedestrian Accident

If you’ve been in an accident, your adrenaline will be pumping. Make sure you don’t forget to do these 6 things.

1. Notify Police and Insurance

Even if you don’t think you’re injured, don’t leave the scene of the accident – even if the driver does. Always call the police and wait until they arrive to take your statement. The police report will be important if you decide to file a lawsuit.

You should also report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate details and cooperate with their investigation.

2. Document Everything

If you’re able, get the driver's name, contact information, driver's license number, vehicle registration information, insurance details, and contact information of any witnesses. If the driver doesn’t have insurance or the accident is a hit and run, you can file with your own “uninsured motorist” auto policy, which should cover it.

Also take photos or videos of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, your injuries, and any relevant road conditions or signage. This is important for insurance claims and legal proceedings.

3. See a Doctor, No Matter What

Even if your injuries seem minor or you don’t notice anything wrong, always get medical attention. It’s possible you have internal injuries or other problems that could come to light later on. If your injuries are severe, call emergency services or ask someone nearby to call for help. Go to all of your appointments, take your medications, and complete any physical therapy, even if you feel better.

4. Keep Detailed Records

Your Lawyer’s job is to get you the compensation you deserve. To do this, they’ll need detailed records of your injuries, medical treatment, and related expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, and transportation costs for medical appointments. Your attorney can also argue that you deserve compensation for pain and suffering, so keep records of your physical, mental, and emotional states in a journal.

5. Don’t Make Statements

Be careful about making statements to insurance companies or others involved in the accident without consulting with legal representation. You may not be in your right mind after an accident, but statements you make could be used against you. This goes for social media, too: It’s tempting to update your friends and family, but it’s best to stay off social media and call them on the phone instead.

6. Seek Legal Advice

Always seek legal advice after a pedestrian accident, even if you don’t think you have a case. An experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in pedestrian and auto accidents can help you understand and protect your rights, navigate the legal process, and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve been hit by a car, you know firsthand how damaging pedestrian accidents can be. But you may not know if you’re entitled to compensation – that’s where we can help. Whether you need a pedestrian accident lawyer in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, or elsewhere, we have experienced attorneys standing by for cases just like yours. Get your free case evaluation today, and we’ll go from there.