What is a pedestrian accident?
A pedestrian accident occurs when a person is hit by a motor vehicle, such as by a car or motorcycle.
What are common causes of pedestrian accidents?
Pedestrian accidents can occur through the fault of the driver, the pedestrian, or even the municipality where the accident occurs.
Common causes of these accidents include:
- Distracted drivers/pedestrians
- Impaired drivers/pedestrians
- Dangerous/reckless driving, for example: speeding, aggressiveness, and failing to abide by traffic signs
- Inclement weather
- Poor visibility
- Road construction
- Deficient infrastructure and road design
- Multi-lane/arterial roads
Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to severe injuries if involved in a pedestrian accident. These injuries can include:
- Soft tissue damage, for example: contusions, lacerations, strains, sprains, dislocations, and tears
- Broken bones and fractures to the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, legs, and back in accidents
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
- Spinal cord injury, which can result in paralysis or death
The law on pedestrian accidents
For pedestrian accidents that occur on public roadways, the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, imposes a reverse onus on the driver. This means that the driver is presumed negligent unless proven otherwise. The duty of care is outlined in section 193(1) as follows:
“When loss or damage is sustained by any person by reason of a motor vehicle on a highway, the onus of proof that the loss or damage did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle is upon the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle.”
To note, the reverse onus provision does not apply to pedestrian accidents that occur on private roadways (for example, parking lots, unassumed roads, private property).
Based on the prevailing case law, the main factors that the Court considers include:
- Whether the pedestrian acted reasonably and rationally?
- Whether the pedestrian and driver maintained a proper look out?
- Whether the pedestrian was crossing at a crosswalk.
When considering who is at fault for a pedestrian accident, a further consideration is the location of the pedestrian. A higher duty of care is owed by drivers to pedestrians that are crossing at designated crosswalks. By contrast, if a pedestrian crosses somewhere other than a crosswalk, the Court would consider whether the driver could have or should have reasonably seen the pedestrian in time to avoid the collision.
When should you call a lawyer after a pedestrian accident?
Being struck as a pedestrian is a traumatizing event. If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian and have suffered injuries as a result, you may be entitled to commence a lawsuit against the driver and/or municipality.
Bogoroch & Associates LLP is experienced in all aspects of personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. We have the confidence and skill to advance your motor vehicle accident or medical malpractice claim to settlement or trial while helping you navigate the complex medical, legal, and insurance issues.
Our experience, commitment to excellence, and reputation have long been recognized. Our founding partner, Richard M. Bogoroch, has been recognized as a leading personal injury lawyer by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and by The Best Lawyers in Canada. The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and The Best Lawyers in Canada are two highly regarded lawyer rating publications.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident or believes that you are a victim of malpractice or negligence, reach out to a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer to understand if you too have a claim. Please contact any of our personal injury lawyers at Bogoroch & Associates LLP for a free consultation.