Pedestrian accidents are unfortunate events that occur far too often in Canada. These incidents can result in severe injuries or even fatalities, leaving victims and their families facing physical, emotional, and financial challenges. If you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian accident, understanding the common causes and how personal injury lawyers can help is important.
In this blog, we’ll learn what you need to know about pedestrian accidents and how a personal injury lawyer in Calgary can help you.
Overview of Pedestrian Accidents in Canada
Pedestrian accidents are a significant concern in Canada, causing many injuries and fatalities on the roads. The BC Coroners Service (BCCS) report summarizes all unintentional pedestrian deaths resulting from traffic accidents between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2021.
Over this period, the average annual pedestrian death toll was 55, with the rate of pedestrian deaths in the province varying from 0.7 to 1.4 per 100,000 people. The fall and winter months saw a higher frequency of pedestrian fatalities, with November having the highest average of 7.7 deaths and December with 6.7. Vancouver and Surrey recorded the highest number of deaths among the townships, with 81 and 77 fatalities, respectively.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents
Distracted driving is the main reason for most pedestrian accidents. When drivers are focused on their phones, GPS devices, or other activities while behind the wheel, their attention is diverted from the road, this distraction can lead to them not noticing pedestrians crossing the street or stepping into the path of their vehicle.
Failure to Yield
Pedestrian accidents often happen when drivers don’t give pedestrians the right of way, especially at crosswalks or intersections. Drivers not giving pedestrians the proper space and time to cross safely can result in devastating accidents.
Excessive speed is a significant factor in pedestrian accidents. When drivers travel at high speeds, their reaction time is reduced, making it difficult for them to stop when encountering pedestrians on the road.
Driving under alcohol or drugs significantly increases the risk of pedestrian accidents. Impaired drivers may have impaired judgment, reduced coordination, and slower reaction times. Thus, making it dangerous for pedestrians sharing the road.
Pedestrians crossing the road illegally, outside designated crosswalks, or against traffic signals put themselves at risk of getting hit by vehicles. Jaywalking can catch drivers off guard and lead to unexpected accidents.
Low light conditions, bad weather, and inadequate street lighting can reduce visibility for both drivers and pedestrians. In such circumstances, it becomes harder for drivers to spot pedestrians on the road, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
Since Calgary is a bustling city with significant pedestrian traffic, drivers and pedestrians must be vigilant and adhere to traffic rules and regulations.
Determining Liability in Pedestrian Accidents
Some states allow the injured pedestrian to sue for negligence. However, not all states accept this rule of negligence. In the states that accept it, the injured pedestrian can claim negligence if they can prove that the driver violated a safety law meant to protect them and that violation caused the accident.
According to the Highway Traffic Act in Canada, a “pedestrian” is someone walking and includes people riding bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, or non-motorized electric or power-assisted bicycles. It also includes individuals using wheelchairs, especially in cases relevant to personal injury.
Under section 193 of the Highway Traffic Act, a rule puts the burden of proof on the defendant (the person driving the vehicle) instead of the plaintiff (the injured person) in cases involving pedestrians. This means the defendant has to prove that they were not at fault for the accident, rather than the plaintiff having to prove the defendant’s fault.
However, this rule does not apply in certain areas like parking lots and public parks. The change in the burden of proof affects the order of evidence presentation in the trial and the timing of expert reports’ delivery before the trial.
Importance of Legal Representation
Legal representation by personal injury lawyers is crucial for pedestrian accident victims. These attorneys take on the complex legal aspects of the case, allowing victims to focus on their recovery and well-being. Here’s how they provide invaluable assistance:
Personal injury lawyers are skilled at collecting essential evidence related to the accident. This evidence may include photographs, videos, police reports, medical records, and other important documentation that can help build a strong case against the at-fault party.
Witness testimonies can be important in determining liability in a pedestrian accident. Attorneys are responsible for interviewing witnesses to gather firsthand accounts of what happened. This information helps reconstruct the events leading up to the accident and establish fault.
In some cases, personal injury lawyers may collaborate with accident reconstruction experts. These experts use their expertise to recreate the accident scene, assess the physics of the collision, and find out the factors that contributed to the accident. This reconstruction helps paint a clearer picture of the accident, supporting the victim’s claim.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Talking with insurance companies can be overwhelming and daunting for accident victims. Personal injury lawyers take on this responsibility, protecting the victim’s rights. They assure that they get fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Attorneys have experience handling insurance companies and are skilled at presenting the necessary evidence to secure maximum compensation.
Exploring The Legal Process of Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Pedestrian Accident
This follows several essential steps. It begins with a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, where you discuss the specifics of the accident and determine if you have a valid claim.
The attorney then starts the investigation phase, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses to establish who is at fault for the accident. Next, your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company for a fair settlement.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the attorney may proceed to file a lawsuit and represent you in court. They help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Types of Compensation Available
Pedestrian accident victims have the utmost right to receive different compensation to help them recover from their injuries and losses. These compensations include:
Victims can receive compensation for the medical expenses incurred due to the accident. This includes the costs of immediate medical treatment, ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, therapy, and any future medical expenses that may be necessary for their recovery.
If the pedestrian accident has caused the victim to miss work, they can be reimbursed for the wages they have lost during their recovery period. Additionally, if the injuries result in a reduced ability to earn a living in the future, they may also be compensated for the decrease in earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
Pedestrian accident victims can receive compensation for the physical and emotional damages they have experienced due to the incident. This includes the suffering caused by the injuries themselves, the stress and trauma of the accident, and any ongoing pain and emotional distress experienced during the recovery process.
Future Rehabilitation Costs
In cases where the injuries are severe and require long-term care or rehabilitation, victims can receive compensation to cover the costs of ongoing rehabilitation and support needed for their recovery and to cope with any lasting disabilities or impairments.
Hire Personal Injury Attorney Calgary
Pedestrian accidents are unfortunate incidents that can lead to devastating consequences. If you have been involved in such an accident, having legal representation from a personal injury attorney is the first thing you should do.
They help you get through the legal process involving pedestrian accidents. Remember to choose a reputable and experienced attorney, like Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary, who can guide you through the process and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call us today for a more comprehensive talk about your concerns.