Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer Hamilton
A personal injury can happen anywhere and anytime with a range in severity from mild to catastrophic. If you’ve suffered a personal injury, you know the extent to which it can affect your quality of life for you and your family and impact your financial freedom.
It is tough when you’re dealing with an injury to think about a lawsuit, and you may be asking, “Can I sue?” As an experienced personal injury lawyer I will guide you with what’s possible and the relevant deadlines for filing critical information. Filing a lawsuit or a personal injury claim is a complex process and I’ll simplify everything for you and explain what you need to know.
The bottom line is that, if you’ve been injured, there may be compensation available to help you cope. My job is to see your case through to the end. Let me fight for you and handle the stressful details so that you can focus on what’s most important: your recovery and your family.
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Hamilton Pedestrians are at a higher risk of being hit in a Pedestrian Motor Vehicle Accident than the provincial average.
Pedestrian accidents are accidents where a motor vehicle; such as a car, motorcycle, public transit or a commercial truck hits a person who is not in a vehicle. By definition, a pedestrian is a person walking along a road; and includes someone on a sidewalk, sitting on a bench, waiting at a bus stop or riding a scooter. These types of accidents occur as drivers can be unpredictable or impatient; for example not willing to wait for the individual to safely clear the intersection before continuing along the road. According to Canadian Underwriter the most severe motor vehicle collisions can be attributed to those involving pedestrians and cyclists.
Common causes for pedestrian vehicle accidents in Ontario
It goes without saying that the drastic increase in the number of vehicles in Ontario is causing an increase in injuries and fatalities in road traffic accidents. According to the Ministry of Transportation’s Preliminary 2019 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report about 13% of pedestrians involved in a vehicle collision are killed or seriously injured. Pedestrian deaths are the second highest road fatalities at 21.6% with large truck collisions accounting for 22.2% of road fatalities.
As a lawyer for pedestrians, some of the personal injury cases I have dealt with have resulted from the individual being injured in crosswalks, injured on sidewalks or injured while crossing the street. No doubt that pedestrians, cyclists, elderly people, children, people with disabilities or people in wheelchairs are some of the more vulnerable users of the road.
What are some of the reasons for pedestrian accidents?
- Drivers are speeding or failing to obey speed limits;
- Drivers loosing control of their vehicle
- Drivers failing to stop at stop signs;
- Drivers are distracted
- Drivers are fatigued
- Drivers failing to yield the right of way
- Drivers are impaired with alcohol or drug.
- Increased amount of commuters
- Pedestrians not obeying cross-walk signals
- Pedestrians are distracted such as being on their phones
- Hidden or Obscure crosswalks
- Cyclists using improper lanes
- Cyclists on their phones (Yes I’ve witnessed this act!)
- Crosswalks that are unmarked
- Negligent left-hand turns
Who is most at risk for pedestrian injuries?
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention those most at risk for being killed or seriously injured pedestrians are older adults and children. Older adults aged 65 and older and children accounted for 20% of all pedestrian deaths and an estimated 10% of all pedestrian injuries in 2017. Moreover, almost half of the crashes that resulted in a pedestrian death involved alcohol for the driver and/or the pedestrian.
Pedestrian Vehicle Accidents can cause major injuries
Being involved in a pedestrian accident means you could suffer from life altering injuries that range in severity and can negatively impact your quality of life and your livelihood for you and your family. You may requires significant medical treatment and recovery, with the potential for long-lasting emotional or mental illness. Many individuals lose the ability to return to work and suffer financial hardship due to loss of income.
Types of injuries an individual may experience after being struck by a vehicle include:
Why Do Hit And Runs Happen?
A hit and run accident, is an accident where the person driving a vehicle that hit another vehicle, a cyclist or a pedestrian, makes the choice to leave the scene of the accident.
The driver may flee the accident scene for reasons such as not having a license or insurance (or up to date versions of these), being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, having another reason to not want to interact with the police, or straight up panicking.
What compensation is available to me if I have been hit by a car?
There may be financial benefits available to a person who was hit by a car to cover such things as death and funeral costs if there was a fatality involved. There is also the availability of a wrongful death claim which would seek to compensate the surviving spouse or child (and all eligible surviving family members) for financial losses they suffer as a result of the death.
If you sustained serious injuries in the accident, we will help you with your claim for future health care expenses, loss of wages, compensation for pain and suffering as well as compensation to help take care of your family and your home.
As a pedestrian you may be entitled to Accident Benefits
It’s also important to know that, no matter whose fault the accident was, pedestrians may be eligible for accident benefits if the accident was caused by a motor vehicle. 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.)
- If you weren’t employed at the time of the accident, you may be able to receive a non-earner benefit if, after 4 (four) weeks, you suffer a complete inability to carry out a normal life
- Up to $65,000.00 in rehab and medical expenses or attendant care 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 death benefits to a surviving spouse
Above and beyond these, you may be entitled to additional benefits if you have supplemental insurance, perhaps through an employer or a private insurance program.
What is the Reverse Onus in Pedestrian Accidents?
A reverse onus clause shifts the burden of proof to the defendant who has to make a case that they were not negligent. I’m sure you have heard the expression “innocent until proven guilty”, well in this situation the onus has been reversed and now you are deemed guilty until you prove otherwise. Therefore, the driver is presumed negligent and to rebut this presumption, the driver must establish in court that they acted reasonably and properly in the circumstances.
In the majority of personal injury cases, the plaintiff always has to prove their case on a balance of probabilities. For example, it’s more probable than not that I can’t work due to my injuries or more probable than not, that the car who rear ended me caused the accident.
However, when a car strikes a pedestrian the onus of proof changes to the defendant (driver) – and not the plaintiff (pedestrian). The plaintiff need only prove that the collision occurred and that the collision caused the damages. The driver has to establish they were not negligent as opposed to the pedestrian having to establish that the driver was negligent. The driver is presumed to be negligent but he can rebut this with evidence he was not at fault; for example, there are witnesses who saw the pedestrian walking in front of the driver at the last second and the driver has no chance to avoid the collision.
Ontario law recognizes the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists through the reverse onus provision in section 193 of the Highway Traffic Act 193(1) 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.
When does the reverse onus not apply?
The reverse onus provision does not apply to private roadways (driveways, parking lots, unassumed roads, private properties etc.). Therefore, if the accident happens in a public parking lot, the burden remains with the plaintiff to prove liability for the accident.
Pedestrian Safety - know the rules of the road to avoid pedestrian accidents
Knowing the rules won’t prevent you from getting hit or seriously injured but you can literally and figuratively put your best foot forward in terms of avoiding an accident by following the rules!
Jaywalking is a great way to get hit by a car. Both parties could be found at fault when an accident occurs because the pedestrian is jaywalking. However, the burden of proof is on the driver of a motor vehicle under a reverse onus clause. Motorists are not looking for you in the middle of the road. Is it really worth the few minutes you’ve saved to risk a serious accident?
Drivers in both directions are supposed to wait until you’re fully crossed at a pedestrian crossover before proceeding, but many drivers are not aware of this more recent change to the Highway Traffic Act. Don’t assume that they know the law when you’re crossing. Be cautious.
Drivers are allowed to turn right on a red light unless otherwise marked, so don’t assume that just because your light is green, it’s safe to cross. Make eye contact with the driver so that you know that they have seen you. This is doubly important if that driver is sitting in a truck.
If you’re walking in a place that has no sidewalks—as is the case with smaller side streets or the shoulder of a side road in rural areas—walk facing traffic. Better to see what’s coming towards you so that you can react, than have a vehicle come up and hit you from behind.
Be aware of private laneways or driveways: both for vehicles coming out, or going in. In an attempt to rush in or out before traffic comes down the road, a driver might not notice you walking by.
Don’t ignore the countdown clocks at intersections. Legally, you’re not supposed to start crossing if the countdown has already begun—a task made difficult to manage since many intersections start counting down a mere moment after the light has turned green. The point of that is to allow cars who are turning right against a red, as mentioned in the previous point, can do so without worrying about pedestrians.
Lose the earphones. It’s vital to stay alert around vehicles of all sizes and having your earphones blasting or looking down at your phone while walking isn’t ideal. Call it ‘distracted walking’; it’s not against the law (yet) but it’s a major factor in many accidents.
All drivers of motor vehicles must stop and yield the roadway at all pedestrian crossovers, until the person is completely off the roadway. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.
Who has the onus of proof in a pedestrian accident?
Under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, the driver who struck the pedestrian is required to prove that they exercised their duty of care and did not intentionally or negligently strike the individual.
Do pedestrians have the right of way?
At crosswalks, designated intersections, and other pedestrian crossings, pedestrians have the right of way as long as they are abiding by the law. All drivers must wait until a pedestrian has safely crossed the street when turning right or left at an intersection.
What do you do if you have been hit by a car?
Contact a pedestrian accident law firm who focuses on personal injury claims
If you have been injured or seriously injured in a pedestrian accident due to a motorist’s negligence by car, truck, bus, motorcycle while you were crossing any road, you may be entitled to fair compensation. For a consultation with an experienced Hamilton pedestrian accident lawyer, call Derek Wilson Personal Injury Law at 905-769-0418 or fill out a free consultation form.
I’m an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer with a dedicated legal team whose focus is to help you, your loved ones and family recover fair compensation. I will always have your best interest in mind. We will work hard so you and your family members can receive the help you need. Our practice focuses only injury claims; slip and falls, car accident including accident benefits, brain injury / concussions, spinal cord injuries, wrongful death, dog attacks and denied long-term disability claims.
At my law firm, I can help you navigate your injury case with the insurance company because it’s all I do. My personal injury practice truly cares about your well-being and I understand that the road to recovery is often long and filled with pain and suffering. Insurance companies in Canada can be difficult to deal with on your own, which is why my pedestrian injury law firm is prepared to take all reasonable steps to proceed with your claim and get you the compensation you deserve. My team and I are passionate legal professionals and have assisted many individuals across Ontario in recovering fair settlements. Don’t suffer in silence – contact my law office today for your free consultation.