Pedestrian accident is the type of vehicular accident where, any person standing or walking or crossing the road and suddenly a negligent driver lose their control due to high speed. From such collision the accidents are known as pedestrian accident. Pedestrians getting into an accident has sadly turned into a casual thing to us due to the increase of accidents of such kind. In most cases, these accidents occur due to the lack of attention to traffic rules and regulations; people driving while texting or over the phone, driving over the speed limit, jaywalking, etc., can lead to such accidents.
This article aims to focus on different aspects of pedestrian accidents. It will try to answer your questions like, what is a pedestrian accident? How do pedestrian accidents occur? What are the types of pedestrian accident injuries? What is the timeframe for submitting a claim application after a pedestrian accident? What happens if you hit a pedestrian in Canada? All these questions, we will be answering based on the laws of different states of Canada.
What is a Pedestrian Accident?
By definition, a pedestrian accident is any accident in which an automobile hits a person who is not in an automobile or someone who is walking. In simple terms, a pedestrian accident meaning a person walking on the street gets into an accident with a person driving.
How do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
According to Transport Canada, an inquiry of pedestrian accidents has shown that 60% of pedestrians died in traffic crashes while trying to cross the road. Since 2009, the number of deaths due to pedestrian accidents is a little over 300 pedestrians each year.
These accidents cover more than 15% of all road fatalities. Besides, according to Transport Canada (2015), approximately 14% of all serious road accident injuries victimize pedestrians.
Usual mistakes by the drivers involved in an auto-pedestrian collision consist of failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, distraction and inattention and, speeding.
The automobile speed of the time when pedestrians are struck is a defining factor in the urgency of injuries they will go through. When pedestrians are hit at 50 km per hour, they are 8 times more likely to die than if they are hit at 30 km per hour.
Pedestrians generally have a 50% chance of surviving at speeds of 40-45 km per hour. Therefore in several jurisdictions, the standard speed limit is reduced to speeds of 40 km per hour on urban roads.
Speeding is a specific issue between young drivers as 18% of drivers who were involved in a pedestrian accident that ended with a pedestrian dying are aged 16-24 and were speeding in most cases. Young drivers tend to be slower when it comes to reacting to sudden actions, and their hazard awareness skills are not well-developed.
In most cases, young drivers tend to scan the road less, are less likely to sense dangers, and take longer to react properly to them or react at all which can lead to pedestrians hit by cars.
A recent review of pedestrian deaths in Ontario by the Office of the Chief Coroner in 2010 showed that just four pedestrian situations are responsible for 70% of deaths. They are
- Pedestrian at a mid-way location while crossing
- Pedestrian getting hit on the pavement and/or shoulder of the road,
- The vehicle going straight through the intersection while the pedestrian crossing without the right-of-way,
- Vehicle turning left while the pedestrian crossed with the right-of-way at the intersection and vice versa.
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How Common are Pedestrian Accidents?
The pedestrian accident statistics between the time frame of 1989 and 2009 show approximately 9,000 pedestrians were dead, and hundreds of thousands were severely wounded on the roads of Canada. The number of deaths in auto-pedestrian collisions is around 300 pedestrians each year since 2009. So it is fair to say that pedestrian accidents are pretty common in Canada.
While the total figure of pedestrians dying during an auto-pedestrian collision on Canada’s roadways seems to be decreasing each year, the ratio of deaths among these victims as a part of all road accident deaths does not show a decrease of the same kind.
This means that while a smaller number of Canadians are dying on the roadways overall, it is drivers and passengers of vehicles who are relishing the most from progress in road safety. This gives very little assurance to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.
What is the Timeframe for Submitting Claim Application after a Pedestrian Accident?
The act of limitations puts a certain time limit on the timeframe for you to file a claim. Attempts to file a claim after that time limit has passed can and will be prohibited. This answers the common question, “Is there a time limit to file an insurance claim?”
In most states of Canada, all individual injuries have a two-year statute of limitations. By this act, you will have two years from the day of the accident to file a claim for compensation for your injuries. That being said, it is better to file the claim as soon as possible as the longer you wait, the chances of crucial evidence disappearing increases.
If you were a driver involved in an auto-pedestrian collision, you need to submit a report with your agent or insurance company within seven days or as soon as possible after that. If you failed to report within an appropriate amount of time, your claim might not be honored.
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Once the claim is filed, you will be contacted by a claims adjuster and ask for a complete Proof of Loss form. After that, the amount of how much of your claim your insurer will cover is going to be determined.
Pedestrian at-fault of the Car Accident
Drivers are usually at fault in collisions with pedestrians, although the otherwise can happen. According to Transport Canada’s national data, 33% of critically injured pedestrians were hit by a driver who had committed a traffic violation before the crash. That being said, Transport Canada’s research of 2011 claims that pedestrian accident statistics show 33% of critically injured pedestrians were at-fault for the crash.
In other words, both drivers and pedestrians are sometimes at fault in pedestrian collisions. That being said, there are few cases where we find pedestrian at-fault of car accidents.
For example, alcohol consumption by pedestrians is the main cause of a large number of pedestrian death rates. In 2010, nearly 46% of fatally injured pedestrians tested positive for alcohol. According to Vanlaar, in 2013, among critically injured pedestrians who had been drinking, 87.7% had over the illegal limit of .08 blood alcohol concentration, and 67.6% had twice the illegal limit.
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Drug abuse among pedestrians is another source of concern in cases of pedestrian accidents. 37% of pedestrians who died in auto-pedestrian collisions are tested for drugs compared to a testing rate of 65% for alcohol.
Among critically injured pedestrians who were tested for drugs, 39% of pedestrians tested positive. Data shows that between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of critically injured pedestrians testing positive for drugs increased from 37.5% to 40.7%.
Types of Pedestrian Accident Injuries
In most pedestrian accidents, victims often get cuts, bruises, lacerations, and road rash. As there are more chances of facing accidents as a pedestrian because pedestrians are more vulnerable than drivers. A few of the serious injuries include:
- Blood clots
- Injuries to the back and spine that can cause partial or full paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury (Brain concussions, brain swelling, hemorrhages)
- Cuts, bruises, and scrapes, fractures, and disfigurement
- Injuries on the spinal cord
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Ligaments being torn and sprained
- Fractures to the leg bones, hip, pelvis, arms, ribs
- Broken bones and fractures
While these injuries can still be treated, many pedestrian accidents also result in death.
What Happens if You Accidentally Hit a Pedestrian?
There are few different consequences of hitting pedestrians by car based on the context. A few of the consequences can be as follows.
- When a driver accidentally hits a pedestrian and follows appropriate post-accident procedure, the consequences will be an individual injury claim and a higher insurance claim.
- When a driver hits a pedestrian but escapes the scene of the accident, the consequences will be criminal charges, a probable felony arrest for not following proper procedures, and a probable prison sentence.
- When the driver is found consuming alcohol or drugs or found with more alcohol or drugs in the body than the recommended level, the driver will probably be arrested for DUI.
Subsequently, hitting and damaging pedestrians while being drunk is considered a kind of provoking circumstance; it is likely to add to the severity of any sentence. The driver will probably get jail time, more fines, and stricter driver’s license charges than those following a non-injury DUI.
- If a pedestrian passes away as a result of a traffic accident in which the driver is at fault, that driver may be charged with criminal charges. That being said, the charges will be pressed under particular conditions. If the driver was driving an automobile in a very reckless way at the time of the accident, then any pedestrian death causing by the crash may be considered a criminal charge of involuntary or vehicular manslaughter.
- When a driver hits and injures a pedestrian, the driver may face an individual injury lawsuit filed by the victim of the accident. In this case, the accused has to pay the victim to recover reimbursements and compensate for losses instigated by accident.
FAQs: Pedestrian Accident
Question-01: What Are the Main Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?
In most cases when the accident is caused by the driver, it is usually because of distracted driving where the driver is found to be using mobile, eating, putting on makeup; sometimes the driver fails to yield to a pedestrian; sometimes it happens because the driver is driving over the speed limit or under the external influence (DUI). Sometimes it can be caused by a vehicle malfunction, in which case the driver is held accountable. On the other hand, when a pedestrian causes the accident, it is usually because the pedestrian was ignoring traffic light signals, walking outside of a crosswalk or along a highway, jaywalking, or crossing a road under intoxication.
Question-02: Can You Go to Jail for Accidentally Hitting a Pedestrian?
What happens if you hit a pedestrian in Canada largely depends on how you react afterward. If you face the consequences with the proper procedure, you will only be charged to pay the damages of the victim. That being said, if you flee the accident or if the accident falls within the act of involuntary manslaughter, you may have to face some jail time.
Question-03: Is It Always Your Fault If You Hit a Pedestrian?
According to Transport Canada’s research of 2011, in 1/3rd of all the pedestrian cases of critically injured pedestrians, the pedestrians were found at fault at-fault for the crash. That being said, to be sure if you were a fault or not, you need to make sure you were following all the traffic rules, and you were not distracted, going over the speed limit, drinking while driving, and also you yielded to the pedestrian properly. It is also very important that your vehicle was functioning properly. If all these issues were factored in and you were not found driving irresponsibly, you will not be found at fault for hitting the pedestrian. To ensure that, make sure to follow proper post-accident procedures.
Question-04: How Long After an Accident Can You Put in a Claim?
Usually, in cases of auto-pedestrian collision, the claim can be made within 2 years of the accident – by the pedestrian hit by a car for coverage settlement in Canada. That being said, it is better, safer, and more sensible to file the claim as soon as possible. In most cases like a pedestrian accident, the longer you wait to report, the harder it gets to collect evidence.
Accidents happen under different circumstances but how we react to them plays a vital role in the consequences. In cases of auto-pedestrian collisions, it is very important to understand the depth of the damages the accident cost and ack accordingly.
Knowing and following the traffic rules both as a driver as well as a pedestrian can definitely help, but accidents are called accidents for a reason. They occur without warning. That being said, it is always safe to understand how pedestrian accident settlements work in order to deal with such situations.
Despite the myth that it is always the driver’s fault in pedestrian accidents, both parties have certain responsibilities and certain rules to obey in order to play the blame game.