Every day, millions of people in Ontario walk on sidewalks, streets, foot paths and trails. Some people do it for leisure or to exercise. Others walk to get to their place of work or school, to shop, or as part of their jobs. Even though most people are not thinking about getting injured while walking, thousands of pedestrians are injured every year.
Whether their accident is the result of a trip, slip or fall, a collision with a vehicle, or a falling object, pedestrian injuries can be seriously debilitating or even fatal. Tragically, statistics suggest the rate of pedestrian accidents in Canada is actually increasing over time.
While there are many precautions you can take to better protect your safety while out on a walk, some of these accidents cannot be avoided. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious pedestrian injury while on public or private property, you may be eligible to receive accident benefits or compensation for the damage that a negligent person has caused or contributed to.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, Gluckstein Lawyers can help. Our ontario pedestrian injury lawyers have the knowledge, experience, skills, and legal advice you need to get the financial assistance you deserve. We are here to help with your recovery and to ensure that you receive what you are owed for your pain and suffering.
How do pedestrian accidents occur?
Common types of pedestrian accidents.
A pedestrian accident can happen at any point when someone is walking (or using an assisted movement device such as a wheelchair) while out and about. The majority of the most serious pedestrian accidents and fatalities, however, occur due to motor vehicles. In the most recent Ontario road report statistics (from 2018), 134 pedestrian fatalities accounted for 22 percent of all auto accident-related fatalities.
Common pedestrian-related motor vehicle accidents occur when:
- Cars turn or merge while pedestrians cross the street, often at crosswalks.
- Pedestrians dart or dash out onto the street.
- Passengers exit a bus, light rail vehicle or streetcar and are hit by passing cars.
- Cars back up into pedestrians (particularly smaller children or people in wheelchairs who may be less visible).
- Children are playing in the street.
- Beyond collisions with motor vehicles, pedestrian accidents also commonly occur when:
- A pedestrian is hit by a person riding a bicycle, e-bike, e-scooter or other non-motorized vehicle.
- A pedestrian slips on an icy or wet surface.
- A pedestrian trips over a hazard or due to uneven surfaces or sudden changes in surface heights.
- A pedestrian falls down a stairwell.
- An object from above falls or is carried by wind and strikes them.
Common pedestrian injuries.
Depending on the type of accident that occurs, pedestrians can suffer a variety of injuries that range from minor cuts and bruising to catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and paralysis. Some of the more frequent injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries - blunt force trauma to the head from a fall to the ground, being hit by a vehicle, being struck by an object, or having the skull punctured by a sharp object can lead to concussions, cognitive impairment, altered personality, long term disability and death.
- Spinal cord injuries - trauma to the spinal column and surrounding nerves can result in severe pain, loss of sensation, and/or paralysis.
- Soft tissue, muscular and/or organ damage - in addition to lacerations, bruising and scarring of the skin, a forceful blow to the body can cause serious internal injuries. These include internal bleeding, torn ligaments, nerve damage, organ puncture or rupture, complications from internal scar tissue, and infection from foreign objects lodged in the body.
- Fractures and broken bones - although any kind of broken bone or fracture can occur in a pedestrian accident, collisions from motor vehicles result in high rates of complications from pelvic fractures and the risk of collapsed lungs from broken ribs.
- Amputations and disfigurement - trauma to limbs, hands and feet can sometimes be so great that an amputation is required to protect a person from severe complications. In other cases, scarring of the body, and especially the face, can lead to significant emotional suffering in addition to the physical injury.
Protecting yourself from injury.
While we can’t entirely eliminate risk of a personal injury while walking, there are ways to reduce your risk of suffering a devastating injury. Some helpful tips include:
- Avoiding distractions such as your phone or listening to music so you can be better aware of your surroundings.
- Watching your step in unfamiliar areas or areas where there are known or marked hazards.
- Wearing appropriate footwear, including good treads when surfaces are slippery.
- Waiting for vehicles to come to a complete stop before entering a crosswalk.
- Making eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you if you are about to cross a street.
- Wearing bright clothing or reflective material, especially if walking when there is poor visibility due to lighting or weather conditions.
- Avoid walking if possible when there are high winds, heavy or freezing rain, and snow that obstructs your view.
What to do when injured.
If you or a family member has been seriously injured while out walking, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Seeking prompt medical assessment and treatment is incredibly important - especially if the accident resulted in trauma to your head, neck, spine, or may have caused internal bleeding.
- Calling an emergency responder, going to an emergency ward or visiting your regular medical provider will help ensure there is a record of your injury, necessary treatment and proper instruction for follow-up care.
- If you or a loved one is able, you can help protect your ability to seek benefits and/or compensation for your injuries by:
- Taking photos or video of your injuries and the scene of the accident.
- Recording the contact information of anyone involved or any witnesses. You should also record the insurance information of any driver involved in the accident.
- Taking note of anything that might be relevant for a subsequent investigation.
- Limiting what you say to anyone at the scene of the accident and never admitting fault.
- Contacting an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer before calling any insurance providers.
The type of pedestrian accident you experience and where it occurs will have important bearing on whether you are eligible for accident benefits or damages from a tort or pedestrian accident claim. If a motor vehicle was involved in your accident, even if the driver was not at fault, you would be eligible to apply for the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, also known as ("SABS").
These payments cover medical and attendant care expenses, lost income, and other benefits. Even if the driver of the vehicle was uninsured or it was a hit and run, you may be able to make a claim for SABS through Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Accidents Claim Fund. The insurance provider must be notified within seven days of the accident, or as soon after as reasonably possible, and a complete application must be returned within 30 days of receiving the forms.
For motor vehicle-related accidents and all other types of pedestrian accidents, if you have private medical insurance or benefits through an employer-paid program, you may also be eligible to receive benefits according to your policy.
If you were not at fault in the accident or only partly at fault, you may be able to file a tort claim for damages against another person for negligence that caused or contributed to your injuries. These claims can:
- Help you recover money spent on expenses related to your injury, disability and/or recovery.
- Award for the pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life that resulted from the accident.
Insurance companies may unfairly deny or delay benefits claims or offer you a lowball offer to settle quickly in hopes that you won’t want to make the effort to access all the benefits and damages you may be owed.
Moreover, there can be complicated legal issues you may need to be aware of. For example, pedestrian accidents occurring on municipal properties have different deadlines for filing claims. Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers’ pedestrian accident team can help you as you seek what you truly deserve.
The Gluckstein commitment.
As one of the country’s top personal injury law firms, we have the knowledge, experience and skill to represent you in the aftermath of a terrible personal tragedy. With a track record for getting our clients results and a reputation among our peers for our professionalism and ability to handle even the most complex and challenging cases, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers are ready to help in any way we can.
When you contact our pedestrian injuries team for a no obligation, free consultation, we will listen to your story attentively and with empathy. As we explain your rights and options, we will be sure to use understandable, plain language and take as much time as you need to feel comfortable about making an informed choice. If we believe we can help you make a successful claim for benefits or compensation, we will offer to be your trusted legal advocate.
Our Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, and Barrie are committed to full-circle client care. That means we see you as much more than a case. We see you as a person experiencing what could be one of the most difficult periods in your life. You deserve a fierce advocate who cares about your complete well-being and who will be there to support you even when your legal case concludes.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, contact our office to learn more about how we can help you in your time of need.
Podcasts & Videos.
Tell us about your accident or injury. We can help.
At Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers, the initial meeting is free and without obligation on your part – and we never charge you legal fees until your claim is settled.