Warmer weather means that more people are taking to the streets – walking to and from work, taking lunch time strolls and generally enjoying the outdoors. College and university students have finished their winter terms and school age children will soon be out of school for their summer vacation.
Ferguson Barristers would like to remind both pedestrians and motorists to take a moment and remember that there are steps they can each take to help avoid accidents. Collisions with pedestrians can often have tragic consequences and may include injuries to the head, neck and spine.
Avoiding pedestrian accidents
Here are some tips from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario regarding pedestrian and motorist safety:
- Cross at marked crosswalks or traffic lights – not in the middle of the block or between parked cars;
- Be sure drivers see you before you cross;
- At a traffic light, only cross when you have the walk sign, not when the “Don’t Walk” sign is flashing or the light is yellow or red;
- Watch for turning traffic at intersections or entering and leaving driveways;
- Wear bright or reflective clothing when walking at dusk or in darkness.
- Be patient, especially with older pedestrians;
- Always watch for pedestrians, especially when turning;
- Slow down on residential streets and through school zones.
Who is liable?
Despite taking precautions, accidents can and do still happen. If you are an injured pedestrian, you are entitled to apply for no-fault Accident Benefits. As well, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may also be entitled to recover damages in a civil lawsuit (a tort action) against the driver of the vehicle.
In order to recover any type of damages in a civil lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident, a person must first prove that the other party was negligent. In the case of an injured pedestrian, there is what is known as the “reverse onus provision” to help establish fault or liability on the part of the driver. This provision of the Highway Traffic Act states that if a pedestrian is struck and injured by a motorist, the driver is presumed to be negligent unless he or she can prove otherwise. This is a very helpful provision for any pedestrian trying to recover damages against the driver of the car.
If you have been involved in a car accident involving a pedestrian, one of our experienced Ontario personal injury lawyers would be happy to speak with you regarding your rights and potential remedies. Contact Ferguson Barristers by filling out our contact form or call toll free 1-800-563-6348.