In a typical Ontario car, bus or truck accident claim, the injured driver or passenger has the burden to prove the following in order to recover damages from the at fault driver:
- the motor vehicle accident happened due to another driver’s negligence, in other words, the other driver was at fault;
- the injured driver or passenger sustained damages and injuries recoverable under Ontario car accident law; and
- the car accident was the cause of the injured driver or passenger’s injuries.
Ontario Pedestrian-Car Accident Law
However, in an Ontario pedestrian-car accident case, this burden is reversed, and the driver who hits the pedestrian has the burden to disprove his/her negligence. This is called “reverse onus” pursuant to section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, which provides:
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.
This provision is favorable for pedestrians because it presumes that the driver is at fault for hitting the pedestrian until the driver proves otherwise. Therefore, an injured pedestrian only needs to prove the following:
- the car accident occurred, and
- the car accident caused injuries/damages to the pedestrian.
Proving the Occurrence of a Pedestrian-Car Accident
The burden of proof to win an Ontario pedestrian-car accident claim or lawsuit is not very high. Proving that a pedestrian-car accident happened is not complicated, and there are a few ways it can be proven. If there is a police report that describes the accident, then the pedestrian met his burden. If there is no police report, statements of witnesses to the accident can prove that the accident happened. Even medical records or ambulance records which state that the pedestrian was transported to a hospital or is in a hospital because he was hit by a car can establish that a pedestrian-car accident happened.
That is not to say a pedestrian will win a pedestrian-car accident lawsuit every time. If the driver proves that the pedestrian was not acting reasonably when crossing the street, then the pedestrian may not prevail in his/her claim. For example, if the pedestrian ran into the street suddenly without keeping a proper lookout and was hit by a car, then the driver is probably not going to be found liable because the pedestrian was 100% at fault.
It is important to talk to an experienced pedestrian-car accident lawyer after an accident. An Ontario car accident injury lawyer can guide an injured pedestrian through the legal process. The lawyers at Bergeron Clifford have helped injured victims and their families for 40 years. Call today to schedule a free consultation. 1-866-384-5886.