Written By: Lindsay Charles and Aidan Vining, Student-at-Law
If you or a loved one have been hit by a car while walking as a pedestrian, you likely have many questions about what you should do next. We are here to help. Below are some important steps that you should consider taking, as well as some general information to help you move forward.
One of the most important things to know is that you are entitled to commence a lawsuit against the driver that hit you, and you are likely able to receive accident benefits from your insurer or theirs right away. We recommend you contact one of our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers for a free consultation to discuss the following steps.
Call an Ambulance and/or 911
If you have just been hit by a car as a pedestrian, or if you have witnessed a pedestrian being hit by a car, one of the first things you should do is call an ambulance to make sure any injuries are properly assessed and dealt with by medical professionals.
Another step to immediately take after being struck by a car is to begin the process of gathering evidence.
If you are able, it is a good idea to take photos of anything related to the collision. This includes photos of the vehicle, license plate, area of the collision, the weather, any injuries, and any damage to the vehicles involved. Consider asking a witness or bystander to take photos for you if you are unable.
Get a Copy of the Police or Accident Report
If the police or ambulance arrive at the scene, make sure you cooperate with their investigation and obtain a copy of the police or accident report. This report will contain important information about the other driver and details about the police`s findings in respect to the collision.
If you believe someone witnessed the collision, consider asking them for their name and contact information so that they can provide a statement about what they saw. If possible, ask them to write down a quick summary of what they witnessed. It is likely that the police will obtain a statement from them at the scene, but it is helpful for you to have that information yourself.
Additionally, try to keep a written diary of your own recollection of the collision. If you do not have a piece of paper to write down your thoughts, consider using the notes feature in your phone to help you remember details in the future.
Keep All Medical Records
If you are taken to the hospital, or if you attend a walk-in clinic or your family doctor’s office, make sure to keep any documentation they provide. You should also do your best to accurately describe any and all injuries and pain that you are experiencing.
You Are Entitled to Accident Benefits
In Ontario, if you are injured in a collision involving a motor vehicle, you are entitled to No-Fault Statutory Accident Benefits. These benefits apply to pedestrians. This means that if you are injured by a car as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to start receiving the following benefits right away:
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits
- Income Replacement Benefits
- Attendant Care Benefits
- Caregiver Benefits
If you have your own auto insurance policy, you can make a claim for these benefits through your own insurer. If you do not have auto insurance, you can make a claim through the policy of the driver that hit you.
Jaywalking Can be Legal
If you were jaywalking when you were hit by a car, you might think that you are responsible for the collision because jaywalking is illegal. This is not the case. Regardless of where you are crossing a street, drivers need to be diligent and ensure they are keeping an eye out for pedestrians. According to Toronto bylaws, it is legal to jaywalk, unless you interfere with traffic. Pedestrians must also yield to the right-of-way traffic.
Sometimes when a pedestrian is hit while jaywalking, the police charge the pedestrian under section 144(2) of the Highway Traffic Act. Under section 144(2), if a street has a marked pedestrian crossing, it is illegal to cross at any other point; however, this section does not stipulate how far from the nearest marked pedestrian crossing a pedestrian must be in order to legally cross mid-block. The Toronto Police Service has said that, as a rule of thumb, if a pedestrian is over 30 meters away from the nearest marked pedestrian crossing, then they may cross mid-block.
If you were hit by a car while jaywalking, it is important to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer to address these issues and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Drivers Have a Reverse Onus for Striking a Pedestrian
When a driver injures a pedestrian on a public roadway, section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act imposes a reverse onus on the driver. This means that in a civil lawsuit against that driver, the driver is presumed to have been negligent in causing the injuries unless they can prove otherwise. The driver must provide evidence to prove that they were acting reasonably and properly in the circumstances. This provision ensures that drivers proceed with caution around vulnerable pedestrians.
When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the damages and injuries can be significant and life-altering. It is important to take all of the proper steps to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. This begins with obtaining the best legal representation for your case. Our personal injury lawyers have decades of experience helping pedestrians that have been hit by a car. Contact our office today for a free consultation with one of our experienced pedestrian accident lawyers to discuss your next steps.