Toronto personal injury lawyer Michelle Arzaga: Thanks to today’s technology, cars have never been more enjoyable and convenient for drivers. GPS, video cameras, televisions, satellite radio, cell phone hook-ups, and more. The problem is, all of the gadgets lead to distracted drivers. This is bad news for pedestrians, whose chances of being involved in a pedestrian car accident are increasing:
In 2013, 40 pedestrians died in traffic collisions in Toronto, up from 24 killed in 2012 and 18 in 2011. By contrast, just seven drivers died in collisions last year, the same number as 2012.
The streets are scarier for people on foot than for people in cars. Pedestrians, says Const. Clinton Stibbe of Traffic Services, must not assume that a driver will stop when they press the crosswalk light.
“The amber light is no different than the amber light at an intersection,” he explains. “The car only has to stop when it it safe to do so.
“Some people aren’t paying attention. Drivers are on their cellphones or have dropped something in their lap. You can’t assume that people see you. Make eye contact. As a pedestrian you are always at the losing end of a collision.”
When loss or damage is sustained by any person by reason of a motor vehicle on a highway, the onus of proof that the loss or damage did not arise through the negligence or improper conduct of the owner, driver, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle is upon the owner, lessee or operator of the motor vehicle.
Under reverse onus, pedestrians are not required to prove their lack of negligence, or even prove that the motorist was negligent. That negligence is already presumed under the law. Injured pedestrians only need to prove that 1) they were injured by a motor vehicle and 2) the collision caused their injuries and any damages flowing from those injuries.Reverse onus does not mean that pedestrians can cross any roadway wherever and however they want, thereby assuming that the motorist who hits them will be found completely negligent. There are certainly cases where the courts have found some liability on the pedestrian for having some part in causing the collision.
If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian/motor vehicle accident, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Such cases can be complex. You will need guidance in order to secure the full compensation you deserve.Michelle Arzaga is a personal injury lawyer with Pace Law Firm in Toronto. You can contact her toll free at 1-844-PACE LAW. Pace’s personal injury lawyers have been helping accident victims since 1980.