Pedestrian accidents reached a 28-year high in 2018. In fact, five states collectively account for half the pedestrian deaths in the United States.
Children who walk to school and elderly pedestrians who cannot cross streets quickly are particularly vulnerable to careless drivers. Fortunately, more than 90% of pedestrians survive a collision with a vehicle. Unfortunately, survivors often suffer from serious injuries. Since injuries may worsen and might even become fatal if they are not treated promptly, it is important for pedestrian accident victims to seek treatment immediately after an accident.
Time Limit to See a Doctor After a Pedestrian Accident
Laws differ from state to state, some state’s laws impose no deadline for pedestrians to seek medical care after an accident. However, other state’s laws set a deadline for bringing a lawsuit against negligent drivers.
That deadline for filing a pedestrian accident lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the accident, although it may be longer in some cases and shorter in others. A pedestrian accident lawyer can determine how the statute of limitations applies to a particular accident.
Seeing a Doctor Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident Promotes Healing
Some pedestrian accidents cause hidden injuries. Serious injuries do not always produce immediate pain or severe discomfort.
Any impact with the torso might cause internal bleeding or organ damage that produces no immediate outward symptoms. Those injuries can be fatal if a victim ignores what seems to be minor pain and fails to obtain an immediate medical examination.
Head injuries can cause the brain to swell or bleed. Even if the initial symptoms only involve a minor headache, a concussion can be deadly if it is not treated immediately.
Without prompt treatment, torn muscles and ligaments can lead to permanently disabling conditions. Pedestrian accident victims owe it to themselves to improve their chances of making a complete recovery by visiting a doctor immediately after the collision.
Seeing a Doctor Immediately After a Pedestrian Accident Promotes Settlements
No law requires a pedestrian accident victim to see a doctor before filing a lawsuit. However, accident victims compromise their ability to recover full compensation for their injuries if they do not see a doctor until after a lawsuit is filed.
Medical evidence is usually the key to proving that injuries were caused by a traffic accident. The more time that passes, the more difficult it becomes for a doctor to attribute the injuries to the accident.
In addition, insurance claims adjusters regard the passage of time as evidence that injuries are either unrelated to the accident or nonexistent. If a pedestrian injury victim first sees a doctor for nagging pain six months after an accident, an insurance adjuster will assume that pain was caused by some recent event.
Delaying treatment encourages insurance adjusters to argue that the accident victim is faking an injury to defraud the insurance company. When an injury victim visits a doctor immediately after the accident, insurance adjusters have little room to argue that the accident caused no injuries.
A pedestrian accident victim should document all injuries, even if they do not seem significant at the time, by reporting them to a doctor. Doctors record complaints of pain and discomfort in medical records. Those records provide vital evidence when the time comes to settle an injury claim.
A minor twinge in the neck or back might not seem significant, but as time passes the pain might worsen. Waiting to tell a doctor about the pain until it becomes severe harms the accident victim’s ability to prove that the pain was caused by the accident. Seeing a doctor immediately after the accident is a victim’s best defense against unscrupulous insurance adjusters.