According to a report by the OECD’s International Transport Forum, Canada is among only seven industrialized nations where pedestrian injuries and deaths are on the increase. Pedestrian cases often result in very substantial injuries.
Common errors among drivers involved in pedestrian collisions include: failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians; distraction and inattention; and, speeding.
The higher the speed, the more serious the injuries are. When pedestrians are struck at 50 km/h, they are 8 times more likely to be killed than if they are struck at 30 km/h. It’s a sad fact that pedestrians generally have a 50% chance of survival at speeds of 40-45 km/h, hence the move in several jurisdictions to reduce speeds on urban roads to 40 km/h.
Furthermore, speeding is a major factor in many road crashes, especially among young drivers. In fact, 18% of drivers who kill a pedestrian are aged between 16-24 and are likely speeding. Young drivers have slower reaction times and their hazard perception skills are not well-developed. It’s more difficult for them to detect hazards as opposed to mature drivers.
The Highway Traffic Act imposes a reverse onus on a driver who impacts a pedestrian on a public roadway. The duty of care is outlined in section 193(1) of the Act, which states that when a 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 negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee, or operator, is upon the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle. Therefore, a driver is presumed negligent unless proven otherwise. The defendant must establish in court that they acted reasonably and properly in the circumstances.
MG Law represents several injured pedestrians and even though the onus is on the defendant to establish that they acted reasonably, these types of cases are not that simple.
For example, we recently represented the plaintiff who was crossing the street in front of a fully-stopped vehicle. As our client attempted to cross the street, the vehicle that came to a stop was rear-ended by another vehicle and pushed towards our client. Our client sustained a number of serious injuries from the accident that prevented him from pursuing his career and he lost the ability to care for himself. Even though it was a reversed onus claim, the liability portion of the case was not that simple.
We obtained a Human Factors Assessment from a forensic engineering group and the assessor concluded that the rear-ending defendant started to move forward and stopped again when the pedestrians were on the roadway, which would have been a visual indication that the defendant was intending to delay his forward motion until the pedestrians had cleared the southbound lane. The assessor ultimately concluded that the defendant did not behave as expected of a typically attentive driver. The claim successfully settled at the mediation.
Despite the reverse onus case, pedestrian cases can be complicated and require expertise.
Why should I choose MG Law to help me?
Getting the compensation you deserve can be a big challenge, unless you have an experienced law firm at your side like MG Law. At MG Law, our auto accident law firm will work on your behalf to get results for you. We work hard to provide you with all the details, so you can make informed decisions going forward. In fact, our team provides legal services in French, English, all Arabic dialects, Mandarin, and Russian to serve you better.
Call 613-730-8460 to get your free consultation. This meeting will allow us to get to know you and learn more about your accident, while at the same time allowing you to have your questions answered. You don’t have to face these unknown hurdles alone with MG Law at your side.
 R. Robertson, “Pedestrians, what do we know?”, https://tirf.ca/wpcontent/uploads/2017/01/TIRF_Toolkit_Factsheets_Pedestrian-Issue.pdf