Car accidents involving pedestrians do happen in Alberta and due to the intense impact between human and metal, they are more likely to be serious (or fatal). In 2021, there were 280 pedestrian fatalaties as reported by Transport Canada. This is due to the obvious reason that cars are a lot heavier and faster than people and are able to do a lot of significant damage.
If you are a pedestrian in Alberta and are hit by a car, here are some things you should know.
You Can Be At Fault
While drivers are usually the ones who are at fault in accidents involving pedestrians, it’s possible for the pedestrian to be at fault. Whether you are walking or driving, you are expected to take reasonable care.
What does this mean exactly?
If the court finds that you did not act with reasonable care (“duty of care”), your behaviour could be found negligent, and you might be at fault. One such example is if you, the pedestrian, are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and stumbled onto the highway. Or you were wearing all black at night and are walking on the side of a road. These scenarios could mean that you, not the driver, caused the accident.
However, don’t assume that you are to blame for an accident. Some pedestrians might assume that they’re to blame because they did something they shouldn’t have been doing when they were hit by the car(ie. jaywalking).
Jaywalking in Edmonton, for example, can result in a fine of up to $250.00. However, jaywalking doesn’t automatically put you at fault. A lawyer will still need to take a look at your specific, unique case. Things they may look at include if the driver was speeding, if you were paying attention to traffic when you crossed the street, and so on.
If you’ve been hit or you hit a pedestrian, your next steps are similar to what you would do if you were a driver in an accident with another driver.
If it’s safe for you to move, get out of the road. If you think you could hurt yourself more by moving, don’t move! Wait for paramedics to arrive. See if there is someone nearby who could help direct traffic away from you.
Call 911 if you’re hurt at all (even if you think your injuries aren’t that serious). The police need to be your first point of contact. As you wait for them to arrive, try to make sure nobody who was involved leaves.
It’s easier to remember details and to avoid having to try to hunt down those involved if everyone sticks around until emergency responders arrive. While you all wait, fight the urge to downplay the situation by assuring everyone you’re OK and they can leave.
Ask everyone to please stay with you, and if anyone fights you on waiting for the police, don’t be too shy to let them know that leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious offence under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act.
The more details you can get, the better! You can never have too much information or evidence. Ensure that you either write down or take pictures of the following:
We are so used to hopping onto social media right away to share what we just experienced. Even if your profiles are set to private, or you’re just sharing on your private, personal WhatsApp status (or anywhere!), please fight the urge.
This can compromise your case, and insurance companies can use anything that you post against you. Read our blog post on What NOT to post on social media after a car accident.
So many accident victims ignore this step if they feel their injuries aren’t serious enough. The issue with this is that some accident injuries can be overlooked, and signs and symptoms don’t show themselves until some time has passed. Something as serious as internal bleeding might present itself as “just a headache.”
If you feel stressed, don’t hesitate to see a therapist for your emotional injuries, as well.
Another significant reason why immediately seeking medical care is so important is for evidence. Should you end up filing a claim, not having medical reports to include in your claim can be a significant setback.
Last But Not Least
Another vital step is to connect with a personal injury lawyer. At McGuiness Law, we offer free, no-obligation consultations. This means that you call us, give us the details of your case, and we will let you know if we think that you would benefit from working with us. If we don’t believe that you need us, we will tell you exactly that.
While optimism is generally the best route to take, it’s unfortunately wiser to assume the worst after you’ve been in an accident. This is because you don’t yet know what other issues might come up after your accident, how your injuries will develop, what other expenses might be involved in the future, and so on.
So, assume the worst (for now) and prepare for it, by partnering up with experienced and passionate experts who will ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve.
And if you need an example of why it’s a bad idea to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, you can view our Instagram post on what happened when our client, Ryan, tried to do so (and the massive difference it made when he hired McGuiness Law!).
To get in touch with us, please use our toll-free number at 1-833-585-4145 or use the contact form on our website.