As we share our roads, sidewalks, and crosswalks with one another collisions can, and do, happen. If you are a pedestrian or a cyclist who has been hit by a car, here are 4 things that you need to know:
1. The driver of the vehicle is presumed to be at fault.
Ordinarily, in car accident litigation, the injured party or “plaintiff” has the legal burden to prove that the driver of the other car was negligent or that their conduct was improper. However, this is not the case where the plaintiff was a pedestrian or cyclist who was hit by a car. In pedestrian and cyclist collisions, the driver of the vehicle is presumed to be negligent, unless the driver can demonstrate that their negligence was not the sole/only cause of the pedestrian or cyclist’s injuries or losses.
2. But they may argue that you were contributorily negligent.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, the driver is presumed to be at fault and to have been negligent, as described above. However, the driver (or their insurance company or lawyer) can still argue a concept known as contributory negligence. This means that even if the driver was negligent and their negligence caused the accident, the pedestrian or cyclist could still be held partially responsible for the collision if the pedestrian or cyclist failed to take reasonable steps to look out for their own safety. For example, a pedestrian could be held to be partly responsible and contributorily negligent for their own injuries if they were crossing the road in an unsafe and unreasonable manner, such as if they were unaware of their surroundings. Or for example, a court could rule that a cyclist is partly responsible for their own injuries and losses if they were not wearing a helmet and they suffered from a head injury that a helmet could have prevented.
3. You may be eligible for benefits and coverage for treatments through the vehicle owner’s insurance.
As a part of every car insurance policy in Alberta, there is a bit of coverage known as “Section B“. Ordinarily, Section B provides coverage for the driver and passengers in a vehicle in the form of coverage for medical treatments and disability benefits if an injured person is unable to work. Section B provides this coverage regardless of who caused the accident and is at fault (although there may be some potential exceptions). However, where a pedestrian or cyclist is hit by a car, the vehicle owner’s insurance will also usually extend Section B coverage to the injured pedestrian or cyclist. The pedestrian or cyclist would then be able to access the usual 21 treatments (plus possible extensions) and ability to make a claim for coverage for other medical expenses or disability benefits, as applicable.
4. You May Have a Claim for Compensation for the Injuries and Losses You Suffer as a Result of the Accident
In tort law, an injured person may have a “claim” or “cause of action” against an at-fault driver whose negligence causes an accident that injures them. Pedestrian and cyclist accidents and the injuries they may cause can greatly affect a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. The injured person may experience long term health issues and may require extensive medical treatment during their recovery. The injured person may also experience financial hardships as the injuries caused by an accident may render them unable to return to work or in need of workplace accommodations. As a result of these injuries/losses and the driver’s negligence (or presumed negligence) or wrongdoing, the injured pedestrian or cyclist may have a claim in law.
At Moustarah & Company, we understand the difficulties that such an accident and injuries caused by an accident can have on a person’s life. That is why we are committed to providing outstanding service that is tailored to our client’s needs, to help them during this difficult time. Our experienced lawyers have used their extensive knowledge of case law and exceptional negotiation skills to successfully settle numerous personal injury claims, including motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
If you have been involved in a pedestrian or cyclist accident, contact us for a free initial consultation.
The information provided on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. Moustarah & Company does not guarantee that this information is accurate or up to date. As a result, should you require legal advice, please contact a lawyer.