A pedestrian-motorist accident is stressful and scary for both parties. If you are ever in such a situation, no matter if you’re the driver or pedestrian, you need to know what to do.
It’s especially daunting when you are the pedestrian, as you’ll likely have sustained far more damage than the driver or their vehicle. But we can help you get justice for your case.
So keep reading to find out what to do after a car accident involving a pedestrian.
Causes Of Pedestrian Accidents
According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.3 million people die every year because of car accidents.
Forewarned is forearmed. It’s easier to avoid accidents than deal with the consequences of one.
Before we get to what to do after such an event, let’s look at the main causes of pedestrian accidents.
Negligent Or Reckless Driving
Most often, negligence is related to driving recklessly, speeding, and ignoring road signs.
When you show disregard for the rules of the road, you show disregard for life, too. It takes a few seconds to be involved in an accident that will impact lives. Possibly forever.
The Distraction Of Drivers Or Pedestrians
Driving while texting is a common problem, yet easily avoided by using hands-free devices. And don’t forget that walking and texting can be just as distracting for a pedestrian.
Keep your eyes on the road, whether you’re behind the wheel, or walking across the road to avoid a pedestrian accident.
Intoxication Of Drivers Or Pedestrians
Drunk drivers are responsible for many road accidents, involving other drivers as well as pedestrians. But it’s not always drivers who are guilty of this.
Intoxication affects both driving and walking ability. If you’ve been out drinking and know you’re not fit to drive, don’t. But don’t attempt walking home either. Call a friend or hail a taxi instead.
Driving While Tired
Fatigue is a common problem on long-distance trips. If you do a lot of driving for work, or you’re on a vacation road trip, take regular rest stops.
Use common sense and pull over if you’re struggling to stay awake. Play lively music in the car while driving, to keep you alert.
Common Pedestrian Car Accident Injuries
Unless the car was traveling very slowly, a pedestrian-motorist accident usually ends far worse for the pedestrian. Serious injury and often catastrophic injury are almost always the result.
There are five basic categories of common injuries sustained by pedestrians in road accidents.
- Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries from impact or falling at an unnatural angle
- Broken bones and injuries to the upper extremities from a hard impact with the road or any other solid object
- Lacerations from glass and metal causing disfigurement
- Torso and leg injuries from the initial impact with the car at speed
- Permanent disability or fatal injuries
Who Is Liable In A Pedestrian-Motorist Accident?
The driver is liable in a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident. But it’s not that simple when it comes to bringing a personal injury claim.
According to Ontario’s pedestrian-car accident laws, a pedestrian injured in such an accident may claim damages from the driver. However, the nature and extent of their injuries will determine if they meet the legal threshold of the Ontario Insurance Act.
What To Do If You Hit A Pedestrian
If you’re driving and hit a pedestrian, always stop immediately, or as soon as safe to do so.
Check if they’re injured, but don’t move them if doing so will worsen a possible injury.
Call the relevant medical services, and the police to report the accident. If the injured person is conscious and coherent, exchange insurance information.
What To Do If You Are Struck By A Car While Walking
If you don’t drive and prefer to walk everywhere, or sometimes like to forego the car in favor of your feet, keep the following in mind.
Stay alert, always cross at a pedestrian crossing, and don’t text on your phone while you walk. But if, despite these safety measures, you are hit by a motor vehicle, do the following:
Seek Medical Attention
Your safety and well-being are your priority. You must seek medical attention immediately.
You’ll receive the medical attention needed to restore your health and you can claim compensation for any medical procedures resulting from the accident.
Keep all information about your medical treatment handy for future reference. This includes all details of the first responders to the scene, emergency medical services, the names of facilities where you were treated, as well as copies of medical records.
Gather Evidence and Information
The Ontario Insurance Act applies to you just like it would if you were injured as a driver or passenger. But there are two important caveats.
Firstly, you may only sue for personal injury damages if you sustained permanent and serious disfigurement, life-threatening injuries, or permanent and serious impairment (the impairment may be physical, mental, or psychological). Sprained ligaments, fractures, and bruises generally don’t count.
Secondly, as a pedestrian, you don’t carry the burden of proof in the same way you would in an ordinary collision. The Highway Traffic Act entails a reverse onus on a driver who strikes a pedestrian on a public roadway.
Reverse Onus of Proof
Section 193(1) of this Act, states that for any pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle on a highway, the onus of proof that this did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the driver, rests on the driver.
That being said, it doesn’t necessarily ensure the success of your claim.
Not only do you have to meet that aforementioned threshold, but the driver’s insurance company will go to great lengths to show that their client acted reasonably.
If you were walking outside of a sidewalk at the time you were hit, they’ll use that to show that you were at fault.
Why Evidence Collection Is Key To Your Case
You’ll need evidence of the accident to increase your chances of a successful claim. That means gathering information for your personal injury case at the accident scene.
What was the make and model of the vehicle? How fast did they appear to be going? What was their license plate number? Can you pinpoint where the accident occurred? Did the driver fail to stop at a traffic light?
The answers to these questions could make or break your case for a personal injury claim.
Remember to get the names of the police officers who arrived on the scene, as well as any witnesses. This crucial information will be presented as evidence in any ensuing lawsuit.
Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
Without a good personal injury lawyer at your side, your personal injury claim may never see the light of day. That’s why you must consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your pedestrian accident.
They will assist you to get all the information you need together, and deal with all the necessary legal procedures, for a personal injury law claim.
Compensation Of A Pedestrian Injury Claim In Ontario
What’s the law regarding pedestrian injury claims in Ontario?
As stated above, injured pedestrians may only claim against the driver and/or his insurer if they were seriously injured, disfigured, or impaired.
If you don’t meet the injury threshold, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to statutory accident benefits. Whether or not you meet the threshold to claim against the driver’s insurance, you may still claim from your own.
Statutory Accident Benefits
An injured pedestrian may receive Statutory Accident Benefits under the Ontario Insurance Act, regardless of a personal injury lawsuit or not.
Much like if you were an injured driver or passenger in a car accident, you can claim the following statutory accident benefits:
- medical and rehabilitation care
- replacement of lost income
- caregiver expenses
- reimbursement for home maintenance and housekeeping while convalescing
- death, funeral, and burial benefits if your family member was fatally injured in a pedestrian accident
What To Do In A Hit-And-Run Scenario
Unfortunately, drivers who hit pedestrians sometimes don’t stop. If you’ve been hit by a car and the driver then sped off, there’s a provision for you under Ontario Law.
In such a case, the ‘Superintendent of Financial Services’ is named as the defendant in your subsequent personal injury claim.
Additional compensation may be available if the driver of the car was at fault for the accident. But you’re still liable for benefits.
We know how traumatic being involved in a pedestrian-motorist accident can be. And our personal injury lawyers are standing by to assist you to deal with the consequences.
Road accident rules can be confusing to the layperson, and if you were hit by a car, the driver’s insurer will do all they can to refute your claim. Don’t risk losing out on damages that you are entitled to.
Contact us today to book a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer without delay. And get the compensation you rightly deserve.