Pedestrian Accidents & Liability

Pedestrian crossing sign - pedestrian accidents

In most cities all over Canada, there are numerous precautions in place to protect pedestrians, including designated footpaths, well lit crosswalks, and flashing crossing signals.

But over the past decade, pedestrian fatalities and injuries throughout Ontario have risen to record highs. While the first concern after a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident is the health, well-being, and recovery of the injured, this is not the only thing to be considered, particularly when it comes to determining damages. So how does Ontario determine who is at fault in such accidents?

The first thing to realize is that, despite the fact that the person inside the car will invariably fair better than the pedestrian, this does not always mean that the vehicle operator is at fault. In fact, contesting liability often comes down to a matter of percentages. This means that a court must often determine what percentage of the blame for the accident lies with the driver, and what percentage with the pedestrian. However, pedestrians are protected through Section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, which is often called the “reverse onus” clause, which states:

“When 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 the negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle is upon the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle.”

This means that after an accident in which a pedestrian has been injured, the driver of the involved vehicle is initially considered at fault, and must demonstrate his lack of liability, rather than the other way around. The pedestrian, on the other hand, must only prove that they were involved in and negatively affected by the accident.

However, it is not always the case that the driver is entirely at fault for the accident. While they will have to prove that they were driving safely and in accordance with all laws, they may also be able to demonstrate that the pedestrian was jaywalking, crossing under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even failing to look both ways and be aware of their surroundings.

Proving this does not necessarily mean that the driver’s liability is nil. But in cases where the pedestrian is found to be partially at fault, any damages being awarded to the pedestrian will be split in kind. So, if the judge has awarded the plaintiff $50,000 in damages, but finds them 50% to blame, the amount of damages actually received would be only $25,000. As a result, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of skilled and experienced personal injury lawyers, who will examine the facts of your case and recommend whether seeking damages from the driver is viable.

If you have been involved in an accident and need legal assistance, contact Mackesy Smye for a free personal injury consultation.

Call 1-905-525-2341 or use our secure online contact form today.

Related Articles

personal injury law contributory negligence

Contributory Negligence & Personal Injuries

In this post, we tackle the thorny issue of contributory negligence in Ontario personal injury law. If the defence says you are partially liable, what are the chances they are right? And if so, how could that affect the damages awarded?

Read Article
personal injuries and tort law in ontario

Personal Injury: What Are Intentional Torts?

A victim should never have to incur the financial stress caused by an injury due to the actions of another person. If you were injured by another party or parties, then you might have a case. Read this post to learn more about tort laws and how to proceed with filing a case.

Read Article
personal injury lawyer education, background, experience

Personal Injury Lawyers - Education, Background & Experience

Do you have a personal injury claim? Then don’t just settle for any attorney. You need accident lawyers with the right education, background, and experience who know your rights, the process for reaching a settlement, and getting the compensation you deserve. Read this post to learn more.

Read Article
Women with contract in hands - help by a lawyer

How to Help a Lawyer Help You

Many people are injured in accidents in Ontario every day. Often, the cause is a mistake on someone else's part. And when the injury is serious, filing a personal injury claim may seem like the right thing to do but it can get challenging as the rules and regulations governing injury claims are complicated.

Read Article
Police officer taking notes - working with the police and heath experts

Working with Police & Health Experts

It is true that no man is an island, and even the experience and skilled lawyers at Mackesy Smye must work closely with police, healthcare experts, and forensic experts to build your case.

Read Article
Laywer and clients in meeting - personal lawyer

Why do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you’ve been in an accident or experienced harassment or discrimination you may be wondering if a lawyer is necessary.

Read Article
Templates Library
Loading, Please wait...
The Library cannot be open, please try it again later.
This field is required.
Invalid email format.
Some of the fields are not filled or invalid.
Form Template
Select a Form Template
Available fields in the selected template: