What to do if you were injured in a pedestrian accident?

According to the Transport Canada, more than 300 people get killed and more than 23,000 injured in pedestrian accidents in Canada in 2012. Pedestrian is any person walking along a road or in a developed area.

Main Pedestrian Accidents Causes

In most hit by car cases, fault tends to be placed onto negligent drivers, which often is the case. However, occasionally pedestrians can cause accidents as well. We categorized most common causes below:

Caused by motorist

  • Distracted driving (using mobile devices, eating, putting on makeup, etc.)
  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Car malfunction (brakes failure, tires, etc.)

Caused by pedestrian

  • Ignoring traffic light signals
  • Walking outside of a crosswalk
  • Walking outside of a sidewalk
  • Walking along a highway
  • Jaywalking
  • Intoxication

Typical pedestrian injuries

  • Scalp lacerations (cuts)
  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Other lacerations
  • Abrasions (scrapes)
  • Brain concussions
  • Brain swelling
  • Hemorrhages
  • Hematomas (blood clots)
  • Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions on the hands and face
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Torn and sprained ligaments
  • Fractures to the leg bones (tibia, fibula and femur), hip, pelvis, arms, ribs

What is secondary injuries

Most injuries occur at the primary impact point, but additional injuries may occur secondarily, when the impact force pushes a person into some other solid object. That’s called a secondary injury. One of examples can be the primary impact broke the person’s leg, then the pedestrian pushed against a concrete fence, fracturing the skull.

Useful tips for injured pedestrians

Evidences play the key role in pedestrian injury claim cases, exactly the same way as they do in all other personal injury claims.

Firstly, you need to get in this type of accidents is driver’s name, personal and insurance company’s contact information. In case injuries are serious and you are not able to get the information, you should ask your friend, a person you know or one of the police officers at the scene to get it for you.

Secondly, contact the driver’s insurance company to report the accident and file a claim. Then you should inform your insurance company about the claim too.

After that, you would need to prove that it was driver’s negligence that caused the accident which ensued your injuries. Liability is very important factor in any claim. Here is a list of questions which will help:

  • Did the driver violate his duty of obligation to me, or I did to him?
  • Were the driver’s actions direct and legally acceptable cause of my injuries?
  • Was the driver negligent?
  • Were any intervening forces involved, and do they relieve any of us from fault?

How to build your pedestrian accident claim

Obligation, legally acceptable cause and negligence

All drivers have an obligation to drive safely and obey traffic laws. In case traffic laws can’t be applied, a driver must use common sense and act reasonably under the circumstances. Failure to do it is called negligence. Exactly the same applies to not drivers (pedestrians).

In order to succeed in your pedestrian injury claim, you need evidence proving the driver violated obligation to you, and that violation was the direct and legally acceptable cause of injuries you got. Where can you find evidence? See the list below:

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Sources of Evidence

Your Province’s driver’s handbook

Your Province’s transportation laws govern both pedestrians and motorists. Many Provinces have them accessible online so it will be easy to find one. What you need to do first is check to see whether the driver broke any traffic laws or whether you did. If you find something print the section of law applicable to your case.

Police, fire and ambulance report

If you got serious injuries and police, fire and ambulance were called to the scene, the police will write a police report. You need to get a copy of it as soon as you have a chance to do that. Usually you can get it at your local police division (department) or municipal records building. Usually a police report is the main source which contains strong evidence. Police officers typically draw a scheme of an accident scene, and also include their own impressions of the causes and responsible parties. Witnesses’ names and contact information is also listed in a police report.

If police issued any tickets, they note that in a police report as well. A ticket is irresistible evidence against the person who it’s issued to. For example, if you received a ticket for intoxication, it will definitely affect your claim negatively. If a driver got a ticket, the effect will be in your benefit.

Witnesses

Witnesses’ statements are very important evidence, whether the witnesses are from a police report or from your investigations. Witnesses often hear and see something you could have missed after a car hits you.

Admissible facts, admitting fault, excited utterances

Sometimes after an accident, the responsible party may make a statement out of guilt or honor. Make sure you write down such statements as soon as you have a chance. This can be statements like I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you or I was switching music or I’ll pay for your treatment and rehabilitation are some of the res gestae (admissible facts), excited utterances (blurt outs) and admissions against interest (admitting fault). Courts have traditionally allowed these types of statements as strong evidence of liability.

Images

Any pictures taken at the scene of an accident are an excellent source of evidence. Such evidence will be useful to contradict another party’s assertions which may be used to fail your claim in a case where a pedestrian was hit by a car, e.g. it was too dark to see you, or any other incorrect statements. You should also take pictures of the impact point on the car – parts of your clothing may still there.

Clothing

Keep your clothing after the incident. Check if any of the car’s paint or other debris lodged in any of your clothing, shoes or accessories. Car paint can be very strong evidence in your case.

Weather reports

A police report will note the weather at the time of the accident, but it’s not redundant to have your own weather report provided by a 3rd-party service provider.

Medical records

Your medical records contain important evidence (emergency room admission chart is the most important one) which tie your injuries to the accident. Statements about the causes of the accident you made to the doctors and nurses at the hospital or ambulance are compelling.

Medical bills

Your medical bills fulfill two requirements:
They’re the source of documentary evidence of your injuries and treatment.
They will be added to your out-of-pocket expenses and lost wages (specials), and will be summed during calculating of your settlement demand.

Injury claim negotiation

Negotiations with a claims adjuster are always based on evidence you possess. The more evidence you have, the higher settlement you have chances for. Evidence will give a clear picture of all events happened moments before the accident, at the time of the accident and during treatment and recovery. Having perfectly prepared evidence gives you a chance of settling your claim successfully.

Here’re three examples illustrating different situations and how they affect final result

Driver’s negligence

The speed limit on a street is 50 kph. It was snowing and the roads were icy. Visibility was limited to 5 meters. A pedestrian was standing on the sidewalk while the car was driven at 50 kph which is within the speed limit. After the traffic light turned red, the driver applied emergency brake pedal. The car slid on the ice and jumped the sidewalk, hitting the pedestrian causing personal injuries.

The court decided although the driver was not speeding, he violated his duty of obligation by ignoring weather conditions and failing to reduce his speed accordingly. It constituted negligence which was the proximate cause of the pedestrian’s injuries. The pedestrian won the case.

Pedestrian’s negligence

It happened at 11:00 p.m., in poor visibility conditions (moonless night, no streetlights). A pedestrian wearing a black jacket and dark navy blue jeans entered a crosswalk. A driver was travelling within the speed limit allowed. The traffic light was green for the traffic. The motorist failed to notice the pedestrian, struck him causing death.

The court concluded that the pedestrian didn’t act reasonably and prudently under the circumstances. Wearing dark clothing in poor visibility conditions and entering the crosswalk while the light was red for him caused the tragedy to happen. The family of the pedestrian’s lost the case.

Driver’s and pedestrian’s negligence

A pedestrian was walking her dog on a local street. She was listening to music in her headphones. A driver was travelling down the street. The motorist clearly saw the pedestrian when suddenly she turned to cross the street. The motorist was not able to stop the vehicle, struck and seriously injured her.

The court agreed both that both parties, the driver and the pedestrian, failed to act reasonably and prudently under the circumstances. The court found that the driver should have anticipated the possibility of the pedestrian’s unexpected behavior. The court also found the pedestrian should have been reasonable and not have crossed the street without looking both ways. Another factor pointed is: the pedestrian might have heard the sound of the vehicle engine if her hearing hadn’t been impaired by music. Both parties were concluded negligent.

Personal injury lawyers and hit by car claims

Whether your injuries are minor, e.g. soft tissue injuries such as cuts, bruises, scrapes, sprained ligaments, or serious (broken bones, organ damage, scarring, or the wrongful death of a family member), the best option for you will be to find an experienced personal injury attorney. They don’t charge anything for an initial consultation and will be able to get the best of your accident by finding evidence and calculating a highest claim demand possible in your situation.

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