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If You’re A Pedestrian Hit By A Car, What To Do?

Did you know that Hamilton is the second most dangerous city in Ontario for pedestrians? When CBC first published this finding in 2013, it was controversial, but few argued the stat.

Having followed the news this last winter, I don’t think it’s getting better. Thus it’s important for pedestrians to take their safety into their own hands.

It’s also important to know that, no matter whose fault the accident was, pedestrians may be eligible for accident benefits.

In Ontario, these are commonly referred to as ‘no fault benefits.’

Depending on your situation, they may include:

  • Compensation up to 70% of your gross salary before the accident, up to $400 per week or more under limited circumstances
  • This income benefit *may* be paid out for up to two years or more (the duration of the payout will depend on your ability to return to work, retrain, etc. thus it’s never set in stone and must be negotiated)
  • If you weren’t employed at the time of the accident, you may be able to receive a non-earner benefit if, after six months, you suffer a complete inability to carry out a normal life
  • Up to $50,000.00 in rehab and medical expenses
  • Up to $1,000,000.00 in rehab and medical expenses if your injuries are deemed “catastrophic”
  • Then there are also attendant care benefits and (although hopefully you won’t need them) death benefits to a surviving spouse

Above and beyond these, there may be additional benefits to receive depending on any supplemental insurance you may have, perhaps through an employer or private programs.

What Do You Do If You’re Hit By A Car?

The next question is, if you’ve been injured, what steps do you need to take to protect your eligibility to these benefits? I wrote a blog about what to do after the accident that goes acts like a checklist.

Although that post is geared to drivers and motor vehicle passengers, the steps that they must take after an accident are consistent with the steps that pedestrians must take. I’ll summarize them here:

  • File a police report (you’ll likely do this at the scene if you’re able, if not, in the hospital or shortly thereafter)
  • Go see your doctor
  • Notify your insurance company of the accident (or in the case of a pedestrian, the drivers’ insurance company – and yes, this may have already happened, but don’t take it for granted) within 7 days
  • Call a lawyer to help you complete your application forms for accident benefits (this will incorporate income information and medical documents so you must get this part right – doubly so if you’re self-employed as the process for you will be a bit different)

How To Avoid The Lawyer’s Office All Together

The best thing to happen would be your not needing to walk into my office at all.

While Hamilton’s issues with pedestrian and cyclist safety may be semi-fixable with better urban planning, in the end, it comes down to each individual taking responsibility for their own safety, health and healing.

When I looked up ‘pedestrian safety tips’, while writing this post, I was confronted with all sorts of tips that were not realistic. For example, ‘wear reflective clothing at night when crossing streets.’

Let’s be honest, I would LOVE for my children to wear protective clothing 24-7 (and helmets too for that matter), but I have a feeling that, when my sons are in their teenage years, it’s probably not going to happen. So how about some safety tips that you’ll really use?

  1. Before stepping out onto a street, make eye contact with drivers to make sure they’ve seen you – this is doubly important at cross walks! Never step out until you’ve made eye contact
  2. If you’re waiting on a street corner to cross, and a truck is making a right hand turn, technically they should give you, the pedestrian, the right of way. But the reality is that they can’t always see you and sometimes, they’re in such a rush, they don’t think to wait. In this case, your common sense trumps what the law says you *should* be able to do. Step back and let the truck make its turn. It’s safer for you.
  3. Obviously you should never jaywalk, but some people simply have no fear. So how about this tip: If you really feel the need to jaywalk, never – ever – do a half cross where you end up standing in the middle of the street. I see this all the time in Hamilton and I have even seen pedestrians waiting in the middle of traffic with strollers! This the single most dangerous activity I see on a daily basis in Hamilton.
  4. If you find yourself having to walk on the shoulder of the road (for example in a rural area or if you’re jogging) always face traffic. The purpose of this is so you can see if a car is veering out of control towards you.
  5. Stay off the phone and disconnect the music while walking. People get hit when they’re doing everything right and obeying the law – just because you’re on the sidewalk doesn’t mean you can put your attention elsewhere. You need to have all your senses engaged.

And finally,

  1. If you can get your children to wear bright coloured reflective clothes, do so. Of course, while bright orange safety vests (and helmets!) may be a bit much to hope for, a reflective arm band on your teen’s black Canada Goose parka or jean jacket may be an acceptable compromise. All we can do is try…

[Learn more]: Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Hamilton, Ontario

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12 thoughts on “If You’re A Pedestrian Hit By A Car, What To Do?”

  1. I was hit by a car two months ago and I have already done everything you have listed.
    Police report, physician, insurance company and lawyer.
    My question is about benefits and coverage, which I could not find on your site, or anywhere else for that matter.
    I am being told by my partner’s car insurance that I have to exhaust ALL of my benefits that I receive from my employer before I am able to claim anything through the insurance.
    I have pretty good coverage, but what happens if I need that coverage later on in the year. I will no longer be covered!
    I was told by my doctor that I didn’t need to go through my benefits and that the accident benefits claim should be covering it.
    Who is right? And where can I find this information for myself?

    Your articles are very helpful. Thank you for your time and patience!

    • Hi Mgunsolus,

      Sorry for the late reply – and I’m sorry you’re going through this.

      I’m not sure which jurisdiction you’re in, but in Ontario where I practice, your company would be right in that in almost all situations you have to exhaust your employee benefits before accessing the auto benefits.

      You had mentioned that you are working with a lawyer, yet are looking for more information. Your lawyer should be happy to answer your questions. If you haven’t met with a lawyer yet, then by all means do. Generally personal injury lawyers do not charge for consultations (although double check to make sure before you go.)

      I don’t want to say more because, again, I’m not sure where you’re located. But if you aren’t yet working with a lawyer and you’re in the Greater Toronto Area/Hamilton, feel free to drop me a line. Either Sue or Melissa will ask you a number of questions and that gives me a chance to review some of the details of your case so I can properly advise you.

      Thanks for your comments mgunsolus – I appreciate them very much and wish you the very best in what I know is a tough time for you.


  2. Hi Joe,
    I’m sorry to hear about your situation and thanks for the comment.
    You may wish to consider calling a lawyer in your province (I’m not sure where you’re located) to find out about timelines as it’s been so long. Timelines can differ from province to province.
    Good luck to you Joe.

  3. I was hit by car while crossing the crosswalk recently. No significant injuries, but +++++ emotional distress. Police, MD and my insurance was notified. I have all driver info. I wanted to go to lawyer to start the case, but I’ve heard there is a law in Ontario that there is $37,000 exemption no matter how much your settlement is. What is this? If my settlement, let’s say, 50,000, I will get only 13,000? What if my settlement is 9,000? Then what? Which claim they mean – accidental benefits from pedestrian insurance or tort settlements from at-fault insurance?Thank you in advance

    • Hi Jerry. It’s good that you’re seeking information and asking questions. In Ontario, we have something called the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule that outlines eligibility to benefits to persons injured in collisions. I suspect this is what you’re referring to. It’s a complicated system – there’s a lots of variables which is why I recommend that you speak to a lawyer immediately, if you haven’t already. They would have to take those variables into account before giving you any advice. Good luck to you, Jerry.

  4. Hi there, I was hit by a car this morning on my way home from school. The driver did not wipe his windshield, it was full of ice. He also had headphones in. He hit me and I had to hit his window for him to realize he hit me. I was distressed and left the scene without asking for any information. I went to my doctor an hour later once the adrenaline wore off and I began to feel immense pain. I am unsure of my rights.

    • Hi Taylor. That’s unfortunate – I’m sorry to hear it. Because you’re in Manitoba, you would need to speak with a local lawyer in your jurisdiction as the regulations vary from province to province. In terms of what are your rights and the details of a potential case, again, only a local lawyer could advise you after having talked to you. If you are in pain, I would heartily recommend that you head back to the doctor. Your health is always the priority. I wish you the best and thank you for asking your question. There are so many in your situation, I’m sure it’s good for others to know they are not alone. Good luck.

  5. Hi there. Two days ago I was walking across a busy intersection (but had the walk sign and right of way), a car making a left hand turn hit me I went up the hood across the windshield and flying in the air. There were witnesses who made statements to the police and the girl took fault by stating “I’m so sorry I didn’t see you”. I’m surprisingly okay I only have four bruises but am extremely sore stiff and shoock up. I have a five days off of work and i’m scared of cars making left hand turns while I cross now so ive been ta king long routes since it happened. This is in the York Region area of Ontario. What steps should I be taking? Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Nicole,
      I’m sorry to hear that and I hope, a few days in, you’re okay? Have you been to see a doctor? No matter what, that should always be your first step. Next, have you filed a police report? Usually this happens at the scene but you need to make sure. Then you may wish to call a personal injury lawyer. One can’t say whether or not you’d have a case (nor can any other lawyer) until you’ve had a conversation. But again, even before a lawyer, your health is most important and if you were my friend or family, I would tell you the same thing: See your doctor! I appreciate your comment and again, I’m sorry this happened to you.

  6. I am a student in Toronto recently on the November 4th 2016 I met with an accident on the intersection but I was walking with the correct lights but still I got the traffic ticket from the police saying that I was disobeying the light and I was injured and had a major patella surgery after the injury. Since, I have filed a lawsuit against the driver I want to know that what gonna happen if I lose the case. Because, I’m expecting the judge to dismiss my ticket. Can I still get compensation if in case i cannot succeed in fighting the ticket

    • Hi Darsh, I’m sorry to hear about your accident. If you’ve already filed a lawsuit then it’s important that you ask your lawyer these questions and work closely with him or her. Because they are familiar with the details of your case, they are in the best position to guide you. I wish you luck both in terms of your suit and your healing.

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