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Pedestrians and cyclists are particularly vulnerable when travelling on busy streets. This is especially so in the City of Hamilton. According to new data from the Social Planning and Research Council, Hamilton is the second most dangerous City in Ontario to be a pedestrian. As a resident of this city, you might be shocked to know that Hamilton is second only to Windsor in terms of the number of pedestrians who die while walking, usually by getting hit by vehicles.
Last Month Was Particularly Rough for Pedestrians in Hamilton
If you have been paying attention to the local news, you will know that last month was a particularly rough one for pedestrians in Hamilton. There were many collisions involving pedestrians and several people were seriously injured. City Council is currently reviewing the conversion of one-way streets in light of the situation.
Many People Don’t Know Their Rights
Have you been hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling? Many people do not know their rights when this happens. Getting to a lawyer in a timely fashion after a pedestrian accident is especially important.
Your Auto Insurance Company & Accident Benefits
Did you know that your own auto insurance company is required to provide you with accident benefits (no-fault benefits) when you are injured in an accident, whether you are in a car, on a bike or on foot?
Even if you do not have your own insurance coverage, you will still be eligible for accident benefits, and we can tell you how to access them. If accident benefits are not payable by your own insurer, another insurer may pay, or you can receive benefits through a fund set up by the Ontario government.
You may also be entitled to sue the at-fault driver and receive compensation from that driver’s insurance policy (what we lawyers call “the tort action”).
If a hit-and-run driver or an uninsured motorist hits you, you still have options for the tort action. We will make a claim on your behalf against the uninsured/underinsured motorist provision of your own insurance policy or the fund set up by the Ontario Government (Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund).
When you sue the at-fault driver, you should also be aware that the provisions of the Insurance Act apply to pedestrians injured in car accidents in the same way as they do for occupants of motor vehicles. Therefore a pedestrian will only be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering if he or she has met “the threshold,” which means that he or she has died or has sustained a permanent serious disfigurement or permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.
Provincial Legislation Places a High Level of Responsibility on Motorists
Our Provincial legislation has placed a high level of responsibility on motorists to take precautions to avoid colliding with a pedestrian. When a lawsuit is brought by a pedestrian against a motorist, there is a “reverse onus” of proof. This means that the driver has to prove that they were not negligent, rather than the pedestrian proving that the driver was negligent.
Cases Involving Pedestrians Are Complicated
As you can see, cases involving pedestrians are complicated, and that is why it is essential to get professional help by obtaining legal representation in a timely fashion.
You May Have a Right to Compensation
Regardless of the circumstances of the collision, you may have a right to compensation, and we are here to help you determine how and how much you are entitled to receive.
Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on Google+ and LinkedIn or directly through this website