In both big cities and smaller communities, whenever individuals decide to travel by foot in Nova Scotia, they are vulnerable to accidents with motor vehicles. Pedestrian accidents commonly occur at intersections and crosswalks when negligent drivers ignore traffic signals and strike individuals who are lawfully crossing the street. But these accidents can also occur in parking lots, on sidewalks, on rural sideroads without clearly demarcated traffic lanes, and any other location where individuals traveling on foot are close to individuals traveling behind the wheel of a car.
While a driver involved in a collision with a pedestrian may walk away from the accident without any noticeable injury, the unprotected individual struck by their vehicle may face catastrophic consequences, including severe injuries and death. Fatalities resulting from pedestrian accidents in Nova Scotia are, unfortunately, on the rise. In just one year, the number of annual pedestrian deaths in the province has almost doubled.
In Nova Scotia, when a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, there is a reverse onus of proof on the driver involved in the accident. This means that, in a pedestrian injury claim, the defendant driver is automatically presumed to be at fault for the accident. However, through the legal process, a driver may try and prove that they were not solely responsible for the collision with a pedestrian.
If a driver’s negligence caused you to sustain serious injuries while you were walking outdoors, a Nova Scotia pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to help you navigate the legal process, and assist in your pursuit of financial compensation.
Pedestrian Accidents in the Province are On the Rise
Despite calls from public safety advocates for immediate action to stem the tide of pedestrian accidents in Nova Scotia, the long-term trend of province-wide collisions suggests that the number of severe injuries resulting from negligent driving will only continue to rise.
In major cities like Halifax, a high proportion of pedestrian accidents occur at crosswalks. Many of these accidents occur in the evenings, and in winter months when visibility is relatively low. Regardless of external conditions such as poor visibility or inclement weather, if a driver is not cautious behind the wheel at all times, their irresponsibility can have life-altering consequences. When high-speed vehicles disregard traffic signals and carelessly coast through intersections, pedestrians crossing the street can sustain severe, potentially catastrophic injuries.
Some common injuries pedestrians may sustain in collisions with motor vehicles include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Internal organ damage
- Concussions / Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Psychological injuries
- And possibly more
Individuals who sustain serious injuries in pedestrian accidents can face long recovery periods, and incur financial losses as a result. If an injury sustained in a car accident prevents a victim from returning to work, they may face financial uncertainty and instability. When pedestrians sustain permanent, catastrophic injuries as the result of another driver’s negligence, their lives and the lives of their loved ones could be impacted forever.
Recovering Damages for Injuries Caused by a Pedestrian Accident
When an unsuspecting pedestrian’s life is disrupted by a motorist’s injury-causing negligence, they may be eligible to recover damages for losses they incur as a result of their injuries.
Drivers in the province owe a duty of reasonable care to everyone who shares the road with them, including other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. Collisions with pedestrians are often the result of a negligent driver shirking that duty of care by engaging in irresponsible behaviour behind the wheel. Impaired driving, distracted driving, and other violations of traffic laws that lead to another individual’s injury may, therefore, be considered negligence.
According to Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act, in cases of pedestrian accidents, there is a reverse onus of proof on the responsible driver. Whereas, in certain jurisdictions, an injured pedestrian might be required to prove a driver’s negligence in order to receive financial compensation for damages they’ve incurred as a result of their accident, in the province of Nova Scotia, drivers involved in a collision with a pedestrian have a legal presumption of fault.
This means that pedestrians pursuing financial compensation for costs they’ve incurred as a result of their injuries may not be required to prove in court that the at-fault driver’s behaviour on the road was negligent.
However, in civil litigation, a defendant driver may attempt to prove that the injured pedestrian was partially responsible for causing their accident. Even in cases where the circumstances of the collision are clearly apparent, drivers may try presenting evidence to prove that the injured pedestrian engaged in illegal behaviour, such as jay-walking or ignoring traffic signals at an intersection. Drivers often put forth these claims of contributory negligence in order to reduce their level of responsibility for the accident, and therefore, reduce the amount of damages they may be required to pay.
If you were injured in a collision with a motorist while you were traveling by foot, the assistance of a Nova Scotia pedestrian accident lawyer may be beneficial when pursuing damages for your losses and refuting claims of contributory negligence.
A lawyer may also be able to determine the total cost of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages an injured pedestrian may have incurred as a result of their accident.
Economic damages are calculable financial costs incurred by an injured accident victim as a result of their injuries. These damages are often easily quantifiable, so long as the injured party maintains accurate records of invoices or receipts for their costs of care. Some examples of economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
If a pedestrian sustains catastrophic injuries as the result of a driver’s recklessness, in addition to their physical pain, they may endure emotional trauma and a diminished quality of life. When permanent, debilitating injuries prevent accident victims from performing the same activities they enjoyed before their collision, a pedestrian accident lawyer may be able to help them pursue non-pecuniary damages. Examples of these damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And possibly more
Filing a Claim for Pedestrian Accidents Resulting in Wrongful Deaths
Unlike individuals behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, pedestrians do not have the protection of steel frames, airbags, seatbelts, and other safety features. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable, and when they are struck by motor vehicles, the consequences can be tragically fatal.
Although no amount of money can fully compensate you for the loss of a loved one who was senselessly killed as the result of an irresponsible driver’s negligence, if their passing caused you to incur financial losses, you may be eligible to recover damages from the at-fault driver.
If you’ve lost a family member as the result of a pedestrian accident caused by a driver’s negligence, a Nova Scotia wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover damages for financial losses you’ve incurred as a result of their tragic passing. Some damages a lawyer may be able to help you recover include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of guidance or companionship
- Medical costs incurred prior to your loved one’s death
- And possibly more, if eligible
Call Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, or have tragically lost a family member as the result of a negligent driver’s reckless behaviour, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to provide you with useful legal assistance. To discuss the circumstances of the accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.