Calgary is a beautiful city featuring many great places to walk downtown and throughout the city. As a bustling urban centre, thousands of Calgarians are crossing street corners and busy roads every day, especially in the downtown core. Many of Calgary’s sidewalks run parallel to busy streets with multi-lane roads and marked crosswalks can be difficult to find. While walking is arguably one of the safest modes of transportation, accidents do still happen. And when they do, it is often the result of negligent drivers. Whether a pedestrian accident is a result of a speeding driver, poor signage, or distracted or careless driving, we will investigate thoroughly and determine where the negligence lies. We believe in balancing the power by getting on the side of injury victims against insurance companies who will try to persuade you to settle for less than you deserve. At Litwiniuk & Company, we work tirelessly to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable and your settlement is fair and what you deserve.
Insurance Companies – A Word of Caution
Is the driver always at fault in a pedestrian accident? In many cases, yes. But not always. Fault is a tricky subject, and Alberta Courts have held that fault – and negligence – can be assigned proportionally to drivers and pedestrians. In an accident where a pedestrian is hit by a driver, this means that the pedestrian and driver can share in the blame depending on how the accident happened. For example, the pedestrian might bear 0% of the fault and the driver 100%, or they each may share 50% of the fault, or any other proportion that fits the facts of the case. Although drivers are at least partially to blame for most accidents involving pedestrians, insurance companies will lead victims to believe otherwise.
If you are a pedestrian injured in an accident, something you did or failed to do might have contributed to the accident happening – this is known as Contributory Negligence. Examples of Contributory Negligence by a pedestrian might include jaywalking or crossing outside of a crosswalk; you might have done something wrong but that doesn’t mean you’re entirely to blame. Because Contributory Negligence is recognized by Alberta Courts, insurance companies may use this concept to suggest that a greater portion of blame for the accident rests on you, or claim you were partially or entirely at fault. Insurance companies benefit if they can increase your percentage of fault. And they may try to blame the accident on you, even if you are not at fault, especially if the driver they represent says you caused the accident. But remember: even if you were jaywalking or crossing against a red light, you may not be held entirely at fault for a pedestrian accident. It all depends on the facts.
The greater your percentage of fault, the less the insurance company working for the person who injured you, has to pay you. And that difference can represent thousands of dollars and much more. For example, if your claim is worth $200,000, and you are found to be 50% at fault, you would only be entitled to $100,000. (Want to know how much you claim is worth or learn more about Contributory Negligence? Click here). Determining fault is a difficult task that requires investigation, gathering and reviewing evidence, reviewing and applying the law, and in many cases hiring experts such as engineers or accident reconstruction specialists. An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can not only help with all of this, but protect your rights, prevent you from being blamed for an accident you didn’t cause, and ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
Pedestrian Injury – Gathering Evidence
The procedure for auto-on-auto accidents is well understood by the public. Both drivers will usually exchange insurance information, take photographs, talk to witnesses, and file a police report when necessary. Sadly, pedestrians involved in an accident are often seriously injured or in such shock at the time of the accident that they are unable to take these steps, gather this important information or even act as a witness to their own case, leading to loss or lack of evidence about how the accident happened. An experienced Pedestrian Injury lawyer is skilled at gathering evidence after the fact and determining what really happened at the scene of an accident. The sooner you can get in touch with a Personal Injury lawyer, the better, to ensure that all witness accounts are accurately collected while memories are fresh and witnesses can be located. The further in time you get from the accident, the more difficult it may become to accurately reconstruct what happened at the scene. At Litwiniuk & Company, we will do everything possible to collect all the evidence needed to build a strong case on your behalf. We’ll be in your corner, guiding you every step of the way, advocating for you to ensure you get the best possible result.
Pedestrian Injury and Section B Benefits
It will come as no surprise that pedestrian injuries tend to be more severe and lead to more deaths. While pedestrian accidents made up only about 6.8% of all road injury accidents in 2015 according to Alberta Transportation, they accounted for a significantly higher number of fatal accidents at about 10.9%. Pedestrians are vulnerable and no match for the size and speed of a vehicle. If a pedestrian survives an accident, the injuries are often life-changing. Drivers have a duty to watch for pedestrians, but pedestrians also need to be alert and aware of their surroundings. Here are some things you can do to keep you and your family safe while walking in the city. Common injuries that result from a car hitting a pedestrian include:
- Cuts and bruises;
- Facial injuries;
- Neck injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Concussions and head injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Orthopaedic injuries;
- Psychological injuries; or
- Loss of life.
Regardless of the kind and level of injuries, if you are a pedestrian and have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the most important thing is your health; get medical treatment right away and follow the advice of your doctor and other medical specialists and treatment providers. In Alberta, all vehicle insurance policies offer no-fault accident benefits known as Section B benefits. If you have been hit by a car while you were walking, and you were injured, you are entitled to have a portion of certain medical treatments paid for through Section B benefits, regardless of who was at fault, provided that the driver of the car had valid Alberta insurance. If the driver was uninsured, you may still be able to get Section B coverage in another way; call or email us for help and details. You can download Section B forms here. The sooner you access Section B benefits, the sooner you get back on the road to better health. If you need any help accessing or filling out the forms, or if you have questions about Section B benefits, please call or email us and we’ll be happy to help you.
Hit and Run Accidents and Uninsured Drivers
Drivers are more likely to panic after hitting a pedestrian, at times resulting in hit and runs. If you were struck by a vehicle and the driver fled the scene, you may be wondering if it’s possible to even make a claim to receive compensation for your injuries. If this has happened to you, get in touch with an experienced Personal Injury lawyer right away because there are important deadlines and as time goes on it can be more difficult to gather the evidence needed to track down the driver. At Litwiniuk & Company, we will do everything we can to find the responsible party. If the at-fault driver cannot be identified, or does not have insurance, you may still be compensated through Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, also known as MVAC. Our Calgary Pedestrian Accident lawyers know the ins and outs of dealing with hit and run accidents and uninsured drivers; if there’s a way to get you compensation for your injuries, we will find it. We will pursue legal action on your behalf and file a claim for your injuries.
What is my settlement worth?
Rule #1. Do NOT sign anything or accept a settlement offer before you speak to an experienced Pedestrian Accident lawyer.
Rule #2: Do NOT settle your claim before you have an idea of the long-term effects of your injuries on your health and life.
Watch out for insurance companies asking you to sign documents or waivers stating that you will not hold another party liable. Insurance companies are quick to offer settlements to pedestrian injury victims in the hope that they can resolve the claim quickly for the lowest amount possible. These offers come from insurers early and often in the hopes that you will not hire a lawyer, realize the full amount you are entitled to, or before you realize the full extent of your injuries and possible long-term implications from the accident. It is important to consult a Personal Injury lawyer to understand the compensation you deserve. The value of your claim depends on several factors including the severity of your injuries, how your injuries impact your ability to work, daily life, and various other factors unique to the individual. Our Calgary Accident lawyers will pursue the maximum compensation for your claim. And it won’t cost you a thing to hire us because we don’t get paid until you get paid.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of the accident to make a claim in court or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines, or other circumstances that may affect this deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Pedestrian Accident lawyers today.
Our Calgary Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Are Here For You.
We hope this article has given you some useful information about pedestrian injury claims in Alberta, but no article is ever a substitute for personalized legal advice from an experienced Pedestrian Injury lawyer. And the best news is that you can speak to one absolutely free just by calling or emailing us now. As Alberta’s Personal Injury law firm for over 44 years, voted Calgary’s Top Choice Personal Injury Law Firm by our clients for six years in a row, we have an outstanding track record of bringing negligent drivers to justice and getting injured Albertans the compensation they deserve. You don’t have to go through this alone. Our Calgary Personal Injury lawyers are experienced in representing clients with all types of injuries including the very severe, life-altering, or catastrophic injuries that may occur in a pedestrian accident. We have represented injured pedestrians, as well as the families of pedestrians who suffered fatal injuries in accidents, in Calgary and throughout Alberta since 1976. Let our firm work to get you the maximum compensation for your claim and the benefits and treatment you’re entitled to. We deal with the insurance companies and the law, while you focus on getting back to a normal life. If you or a loved one are looking for a Calgary Pedestrian Accident lawyer contact Litwiniuk & Company today for a free consultation. It won’t cost you anything out of pocket to get an experienced Pedestrian Injury lawyer on your side, because we don’t get paid until you get paid.