Pedestrians hit by cars or trucks often suffer serious or even fatal injuries. The reason for these serious injuries is that pedestrians come in direct contact with the vehicles. After impact, pedestrians are often thrown to the ground and sustain serious injuries such as:
- traumatic brain injury,
- multiple fractures throughout the body, and
- internal bleeding.
Last month, there were a few serious and fatal pedestrian accidents in Ottawa and Whitby, Ontario.
Ottawa Pedestrian Killed After Hit by Pick-Up Truck
In mid-April, a 66 year old woman crossing Ogilvie Road was hit by a pick-up truck. When the paramedics arrived, they treated the woman for life-threatening head injuries. She was unconscious and never regained consciousness.
The woman was walking in the crossing area when the pick-up truck hit her while attempting to make a turn.
Ottawa Pedestrian in Serious Condition After Hit by a Car
A pedestrian was seriously injured after a hit and run accident at the intersection of Cumberland Street and Murray Street in Ottawa’s Byward Market on April 30, 2015.
According to a witness, a car hit the pedestrian who hit the windshield, did a somersault and landed on his head.
The driver of the car has since been found and charged. The pedestrian remains in serious, but stable medical condition.
Pedestrians’ Legal Rights
Pedestrians who are seriously injured in car crashes may have the right to financial compensation from at-fault drivers. In a car accident lawsuit where a pedestrian is hurt, drivers must show they are NOT negligent. This is the opposite of the normal rule for car accidents. This rule is called the reverse onus. Car drivers are presumedto be negligent when they hit pedestrians. Injured pedestrians do not have to prove negligence; car drivers who injure pedestrians must show that they are NOT negligent.
In a car accident involving two cars, the injured person must prove negligence against the other driver. This can be done by showing that the other driver was driving while distracted, either texting or talking on the phone, speeding while driving, driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs or just not paying attention to the road. The reverse onus means that drivers must show that they are not negligent. Even showing that a pedestrian is partly at fault for a crash is not enough for drivers to escape responsibility. Pedestrians who are partly responsible may have their compensation reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. Drivers who hit pedestrians are rarely able to escape significant responsibility for pedestrians who suffer serious injury.
Consider the following: a car hits a pedestrian crossing Princess Street in downtown Kingston and the pedestrian is seriously injured. The pedestrian files a claim for injury against the driver. The driver is deemed to be at fault and legally responsible for the injuries; that’s the starting point. As a general rule, drivers who are not distracted by texting or talking on their phones or who are not driving too fast on a downtown street, don’t run over pedestrians. Drivers must show that the crash and the injuries occurred for some reason OTHER than their negligence. Let’s change the scenario slightly and have our pedestrian running across the middle of Princess Street (not at a crosswalk) at night in dark clothing, emerging from between parked cars. In this case, the driver is still deemed to be negligent. Princess Street is straight, wide and well lit in the downtown core. Even a ninja entering the roadway from the edge can be seen and avoided by the reasonably attentive driver. The pedestrian may also bear some responsibility in this scenario. If the pedestrian is awarded $120,000 for compensation and is found to be 10% at fault for the accident, instead of recovering $120,000, the award is reduced by $12,000 (10%) to $108,000.
Help After a Car, Truck or Pedestrian Accident in Ottawa, Ontario
If you were injured in an Ottawa auto accident and want to explore your legal rights and/or have questions about Statutory Accident Benefits, call the lawyers at Bergeron Clifford to schedule a FREE consultation. 866-384-5886