Pedestrians, bicyclists and cars on the road are everyday facts of life, and sometimes one, or more are not aware of the other and an accident happens. In NYC, pedestrians and bicyclists are struck by cars and injured, or killed every year. At times drivers who hit pedestrians/bicyclists drive away from the scene of the accident; the accident victim now becomes a hit and run victim to boot. Knowing what steps to take after an accident can prevent further injury and ensure medical care is covered under New York’s No-Fault insurance. When you are lying injured, it is vital to know what to do, and not do.
What to Do If You Are Hit by a Car
• First and most importantly, DO NOT MOVE. This is especially important if you feel any pain in your head or neck.
• Do not allow others with good intentions to move you. Only an emergency medical technician, paramedic or doctor may provide medical aid before an ambulance arrives on scene.
• A rush of adrenaline could happen and you may experience the urge to “fight or flight”, but STAY CALM so you can think more clearly.
• Tell a witness as much detail as you can remember about the car. The license plate number of the “hit and run” car would be the best piece of information, but car make, model, approximate year and color, along with any identifying features such as stickers or decals, any damages or customized features would assist the police.
• Ask any bystanders to help gather facts and witness contact numbers. DO NOT MOVE your head while speaking instructions.
• Do not speculate about the extent of injuries you have sustained to anyone.
• Do not admit any fault.
• Accept any medical treatment suggested by the EMT. Go to the hospital and get examined by a medical doctor. It is not uncommon to realize later, even days later you have injuries you were unaware of at the accident scene.
• If you do not get medical care immediately following the accident, and injury symptoms occur later, you can still receive medical attention under NYS No-Fault Insurance. Take your police accident report number with you and go to the nearest public hospital emergency room.
• Bicyclist Note: There is no room on, or in an ambulance for your bike. It is NYC Police’s responsibility to secure your property.
• Get legal help.
You Witness the Pedestrian/Bicyclist Car Accident
• Call 911 and give the exact location to dispatch.
• Get the license plate number if possible.
• Write down details you witnessed happening to the injured victim. This will the EMT assess injuries.
• Without putting yourself in danger, divert traffic.
• DO NOT MOVE OR LIFT the injured victim, unless there is immediate danger outweighing the risk of further injury and then move the victim carefully.
Getting Medical Care after a Pedestrian/Bicyclist Accident
• You need an accident report and can receive immediate medical care with the report number.
• Medical bills can be submitted directly to, and paid by the No-Fault insurer. Or, you can submit bills, or opt to pay the medical costs directly and then submit receipts to the No-Fault insurer.
The Importance of Getting Medical Care
Minor and more severe head injuries – concussion brain injuries – can harm emotional and mental functions along with long-term memory loss. Whiplash, internal injuries or soft tissue damage is not always instantly apparent. Medical care will support claims and may help get you the benefits you need.
Information You Will Need
• Vehicle state and license plate number.
• Information from any witnesses’ of the accident – name, phone number and address.
• Police accident report (the number at minimum), officer’s name, badge number and precinct. Get their card if they have one.
If you are an NYC pedestrian/bicyclist injured in a hit and run, it is important to collect as much information on the details as possible. Take notes, or have a bystander take notes for you being sure to include the location, traffic and weather conditions and anything else that will recreate the accident scene; and preserve as best as possible any physical evidence of the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, and contact an experienced personal injury attorney.