Pedestrian-Car Accidents: Civil vs. Criminal Consequences

Injured Person on a Gurney - Vehicle Accidents

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Vehicle Accidents

Traffic collisions between vehicles and pedestrians are common occurrences. In the event of a car-pedestrian collision, an at-fault driver may face a number of civil and criminal consequences.

If you or anyone you know has been injured and is considering filing a Pedestrian Accident related lawsuit, it is important to understand the differences between civil and criminal law. While a civil claim may be possible, the evidence in a particular case may not support a criminal charge, trial or conviction. This is because the burden of proof is much higher in a criminal trial (which is between the Crown and the at-fault driver) than it is in a civil case (between the injured pedestrian and the at-fault driver).

The result of a successful civil claim will almost invariably be limited to a monetary award, whereas with criminal charges, if convicted a defendant could face a driving suspension, fine, probation or even jail time.

Civil Penalties

A driver who hits and injures a pedestrian may face a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim filed by the injured pedestrian, seeking to recover compensation for their losses caused by the accident. The first step is to establish the driver’s fault (or, liability) for the accident. This can be done by taking statements from witnesses and the parties involved in the accident and examining any police report, perhaps including an accident reconstruction, prepared after the accident.

Next, the injured pedestrian will claim for all injuries and damages associated with the accident from the at-fault driver, or most likely, their insurance company. These claims could include compensation for medical treatment, time missed at work, pain and suffering caused by the crash, and any other relevant losses from the collision. Most injury-related insurance claims and lawsuits are resolved through the settlement process.

Criminal Penalties

When a driver accidentally strikes a pedestrian or is involved in any collision involving an injury or property damage, it is important that he or she remain at the scene of the accident, and report it to police. If a driver strikes a pedestrian and then flees, he or she could face criminal charges for leaving the scene, in addition to other serious traffic or criminal charges.

An injured pedestrian would likely be called as a witness at a Highway Traffic Act or criminal trial to give evidence about how the collision happened, and the injuries that they sustained.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a serious car accident, whether as a pedestrian, cyclist, passenger or driver because of the negligence of someone else, consult with Mackesy Smye, Hamilton’s renowned legal team to understand your legal options and the difference between a criminal trial and a civil case.

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