When one car hits another car, the damage and injuries to occupants of the vehicles are often severe. However, when a car hits a pedestrian, the injuries can be absolutely catastrophic. Unlike someone in another car, a pedestrian does not have the protective layers of sheet metal that a car occupant has. The pedestrian’s body is left to absorb the full impact of the vehicle.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you in Peterborough for a free initial consultation. Call 1-877-573-3563
How Pedestrian Accidents Happen
A pedestrian is simply someone who is not in a car. In some cases, the word pedestrian-only means someone walking or running, but in other cases, the word pedestrian may include someone on a bicycle.
We tend to think of pedestrians as those who are hit while they are crossing the street, but pedestrians are often struck by cars in different ways. For example, pedestrian accidents can happen where:
- The pedestrian is on a sidewalk, but the severity of a nearby accident pushes or flips a vehicle onto the sidewalk, striking the pedestrian
- The pedestrian is on the sidewalk, but a car is out of control and hits the pedestrian as the vehicle drives off the roadway
- A car strikes a jogger legally running alongside traffic
- A car strikes a person who is attending to a broken down vehicle on the side of the roadway
We have all driven in areas where there are a lot of pedestrians, whether in downtown, urban areas, or outdoor shopping and dining areas. These are places where pedestrian accidents are likely to occur because of the close proximity between people and vehicles.
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Even a driver who thinks he or she pays attention to the road can end up severely injuring a pedestrian. Today, with cell phones, and in-car “infotainment” systems, it is easier than ever for a driver to simply be looking down while driving. With eyes off the road, it is difficult to see oncoming traffic, but even more difficult to see a person, a small child, or someone in a wheelchair who may be crossing the street.
It does not take long for a distracted driver to miss seeing a pedestrian on the road. A car traveling just 30 miles or 48 kilometers per hour can go a distance of 44 feet in a single second. A car going 60 miles or 97 kilometers per hour can travel 88 feet every second. Compound this with the fact that a pedestrian, unlike another car, is not able to swerve, speed up, or avoid an oncoming car the way another car can, and it becomes obvious why pedestrian accidents have become so common.
Proving Fault in a Pedestrian Accident
In Ontario, when a car hits a pedestrian, it is presumed that the car is at fault. That means that the law assumes that the driver is the guilty party. This is good for an injured pedestrian, however, a driver can always contradict this assumption or presumption by putting forth evidence to show that the pedestrian caused the accident.
Sometimes pedestrians are hit while they are crossing in legally marked crosswalks. However, often there are disputes between the driver and the pedestrian over who caused the accident. The driver may claim that the pedestrian was somewhere that he or she should not have been, or that the pedestrian was illegally in a part of the road that he or she should not have been in.
Insurance companies and courts can say pedestrians were partially responsible for their own accidents. However, just because another driver or an insurance company says that you are responsible for causing an accident does not make it true. Even if a court were to find that a pedestrian was partially responsible for the accident, that does not mean that he or she cannot make a claim for damages.
If you as a pedestrian are partially responsible for an accident, a court will apportion some liability to you, and you may not be able to recover some of the damages awarded to you. However, it does not mean that if you are hit by a car and think that you may be partially responsible, that you cannot or should not make a claim for damages.
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How a Lawyer Can Help You
A Peterborough pedestrian accident lawyer can help you prove your case either to an insurance company or to a court. A lawyer becomes especially important if you as the pedestrian are being blamed for causing the accident.
Your lawyer will review the facts of the accident with you, help you locate witnesses, and interview those witnesses to prepare your claim. Your lawyer may also hire experts, who are trained in recreating accident scenes. Many times, a qualified expert can take things like skid marks, the location of the car after the accident, and damage to the vehicle, and use this information to accurately determine the speed and location of both the driver and the pedestrian.
The expert’s opinion can be a powerful tool in opposing any insurance company or party you are making a claim against who may say that you are at fault for your accident.
Your pedestrian accident lawyer will also obtain your medical records and review them. Your injuries, recovery, and how the accident has changed your life will all be presented to the appropriate parties to help you obtain as much as possible in compensation for your injuries.
What to Do After an Accident
After a pedestrian accident, you should make sure that you are taken care of by getting medical treatment. Even if you think you feel fine after an accident, it is best to go to a hospital to get an appropriate medical review. Many kinds of injuries, like slipped discs, internal bleeding or brain hemorrhaging may take hours before they are symptomatic.
If you are able to, try to get pictures of the entire accident scene (including the car, any pieces of the car that may be lying about), and identification information from any witnesses.
The Peterborough pedestrian accident lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you if you were hit by a car while walking or bicycling. Call us today to discuss obtaining damages for the injuries you have incurred as a pedestrian.