It has often been assumed by drivers and pedestrians alike that when a pedestrian is struck by a car in Ontario, the driver is automatically at fault. This is due to the fact that pedestrians are much more vulnerable to injury when they are hit by a car, as they do not have a large steel frame or other protective equipment such as airbags to help protect them.
While pedestrians can certainly be at fault when they are struck by a car, drivers are still expected to exercise great caution while they are on the road. Because of this, even when pedestrians are found to be partially responsible, they may still be able to seek compensation.
The law surrounding pedestrians in Ontario has changed recently, so it is important that individuals impacted by an accident speak to an Oshawa pedestrian accident lawyer that can help them with their case. Contact an experienced accident lawyer right away to begin your case for compensation following your accident.
Our pedestrian accident lawyers can meet with you in Oshawa for a free initial consultation. Call (416) 364-2000
Reverse Onus in Pedestrian Accidents
Under the law, even civil law such as personal injury cases, the individuals involved in an accident are typically presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, there is a concept known as reverse onus that plays a part in some accidents. Reverse onus means that certain parties, such as the driver of a car that hits a pedestrian, are automatically assumed to be at fault. It is for this reason that many Ontarians believe that drivers are always found to be at fault in the case of a pedestrian accident.
This assumption is partly true, but does not necessarily mean that the pedestrian will be cleared of all blame. Jaywalking, for instance, is illegal in Ontario and if a pedestrian was found to be jaywalking at the time, they could be fined separately by the police.
Receiving a fine is not determinative of liability but is an indicator that the pedestrian may be partially at fault for the accident, but the driver will still likely face consequences due to the severity of injuries that a pedestrian will likely sustain.
In certain cases, that partial blame could also be presented in court by a pedestrian accident lawyer in Oshawa working for the driver. If it is, a judge may assign the pedestrian a percentage of blame. This is called contributory negligence. The compensation the injured party receives will then be reduced by that percentage.
Oshawa Pedestrian Accidents Lawyer Near Me (416) 364-2000
New Laws in Ontario
The laws have changed recently in Ontario surrounding pedestrians and certain types of crosswalks. While it used to be that drivers could start to proceed after a pedestrian had cleared their side of the crosswalk, that is no longer the case. When a pedestrian is crossing a road using a crosswalk, crossover, or school crossing, drivers must wait until the pedestrian has cleared the entire walkway before they can begin to proceed. Because drivers are often in a hurry, many still are not adhering to this new law.
The new laws have caused some confusion as to the differences between the different pedestrian walkways. A crosswalk is any marked area on the road, typically at intersections and traffic lights that are designed to allow pedestrians to cross safely. Crossovers are also marked areas, but they differ in that they have flashing lights over top of the crosswalk.
School crossings are any crosswalks that use a school crossing guard to stop traffic, and contrary to popular belief, they do not always have to be within a school zone. When these new pedestrian crossing laws were first introduced in 2016, the province also announced heftier fines and punishments for drivers that chose to disregard them. While this will not likely increase the amount of the injured person’s compensation, it can certainly strengthen their case in court.
How an Oshawa Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Can Help
Speaking to a qualified lawyer is of utmost importance after a pedestrian is hit by a car. The lawyers for the defendant will likely try to place blame on the pedestrian, saying they were either jaywalking or they were distracted, such as texting while they walked.
An experienced Oshawa pedestrian accident lawyer knows that these arguments do not excuse a driver for hitting a pedestrian. They will work hard to show that the driver should have shown a greater duty of care to everyone on the road, and will help the injured party get the most amount of compensation available to them.