Injured as a pedestrian in a car accident in Ottawa or in Ontario? Did you know that pedestrians are presumed not at fault in pedestrian-car accidents?
Motor vehicle drivers have a duty to drive diligently. When two vehicles collide, the plaintiff often has the duty to prove the defendant driver was driving negligently to prove his case; in other words, the plaintiff has the onus of proving his case. However, if a motor vehicle hits a pedestrian, the driver must prove he was not driving negligently; a driver is presumed negligent until he proves otherwise.
This shift in the onus of proof is codified in section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, RSO 1990, c H.8 and it applies to all highways. In a case of pedestrian versus car, the pedestrian’s injuries are often very severe. It is therefore good news that the pedestrian need only prove that the accident happened and that it caused his injuries.
What happens if the pedestrian-car accident happens in a private parking lot?
Then section 193(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, RSO 1990, c H.8 does not apply. The pedestrian will need to prove that the driver was operating his car negligently.
Duty of Pedestrians
Pedestrians are assumed to act in due care for their own safety. It is presumed that a pedestrian was acting diligently and without reproach unless a motorist can show that the pedestrian’s behavior was erratic, or completely irrational and irresponsible, or that the pedestrian’s actions were unforeseen and unexpected. On the other hand, here are examples where pedestrians were found at fault: a pedestrian did not use a designated crosswalk, a pedestrian was intoxicated and walking on the roadway, a pedestrian was wearing dark clothing at night and wasn’t visible to the driver, etc.
Duty of Drivers
Drivers must maintain a proper lookout. They must also be able to avoid a collision if they see a pedestrian crossing, drive according to the weather conditions and keep their windows unobstructed. Further, they must pay attention to their surroundings at all times, and they must drive cautiously in areas where pedestrians are to be expected (e.g. a shopping district, downtown, near schools, etc.) Conclusion
In pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents, pedestrians are presumed to have acted diligently unless the motorist can prove otherwise.
Our Ottawa personal injury and accident lawyers are experienced negotiators. They will work hard to get you the highest possible damages awards.
If you or someone you care about was injured in an accident, please contact one of our lawyers for a free consultation. We work on a no-fee-until-you-win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878. Marc Quinn, Car Accidents and Pedestrians Injury Lawyer