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 Litco Law, 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 Litco Law, 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.