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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lesson Learned, If Hit While Walking, FILE A POLICE REPORT!

Going to start this piece with the take-home message:  if you are ever, unfortunately, struck by a car as a pedestrian, file a police report.  Do not trust that you are fine even if you feel so in the moment.  Your adrenaline will race and you will feel, possibly, strangely angry but not necessarily hurt.  The pain can come on later, potentially days later, but without a police report filed within 72 hours, there is not much you can do except possibly pursue it in civil court.

Recently, I was in one of my favorite exercise classes when the (amazing) teacher welcomed a regular back after a 5 month (5 months!!!) leave due to a car accident.  My curiosity piqued, I asked a little more, and it was not just a car accident but a vehicle-on-pedestrian accident.

Here is the tale of the incident.  On April 20th, while walking on a lunch break,  EM took a quick look before crossing the street at Belmont and Shakleford Lane in Green Hills.  She notes that she is careful at this 3-way intersection, where Belmont T's out, as there is a steep hill that limits visibility.  Her typical habit is to wait for a car if they are quickly approaching the stop or to walk behind the car rather than assume the driver will allow her to cross in front.  She makes eye contact.  She waves.  As many Nashvillians know, these are the survival skills you need to walk safely in this town.

On this particular day, she noted an SUV approaching but they seemed far enough away for her to cross safely.  After all, they had to stop at the stop sign.  She waved and attempted eye contact but noted the windows of the vehicle to be darkly tinted.  She couldn't tell if the driver waved back.  What came next happened quickly.  The driver, instead of stopping, took the right turn.  EM felt herself pushing, with both hands off the front of the SUV.  The driver appeared to want to move past here still so she knocked hard on the window.  She was uncharacteristically mad.  It took the driver a few seconds to open the window.  EM proceeded to yell at the driver noting that if she had a dog or a baby stroller with her, they would have been killed.  EM was understandably shaken.

She was struck on her right side but could tell nothing was broken.  She imagined the sizable bruise  on her thigh to come.   They exchanged contact information.  She was able to walk home.  A few days later, while traveling for work, she became keenly aware of a new and intense pain in her right shoulder.  Slowly, it dawned on her, that this pain could be from the accident.   She reached out to her sister, a medical professional, who strongly encouraged a trip to the doctor for a proper evaluation.

What followed was a reaching out to the driver who had promised to pay and then went into a stone cold radio silence.  Next came 4 solid months of shoulder rehab.

EM is just now venturing back into her regular exercise routine.  She urges you, if ever to have the misfortune of being struck by a car while walking, to file a police report within 72 hours of the collision as the driver's insurance can help pay for the costs involved.

The same could be said about Nashville although I am not convinced about the 'years of enforcement'.  I think the lack of enforcement around pedestrian safety is one major issue we have to tackle in Nashville.  The 2nd may be enhanced driver education on TN being a yield to pedestrian state. 

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