When a negligent driver fatally strikes a pedestrian with their vehicle, in a flash, the lives of the accident victim’s family members are changed forever. They will always have one seat empty at the dinner table, all because of a stranger’s recklessness behind the wheel.
The family members of people killed in pedestrian accidents can often endure emotional distress, mental anguish, and possibly even financial hardships as the result of their loved one’s unexpected, violent death. Unfortunately, this scenario in Nova Scotia is all too common. Throughout the province, fatalities resulting from pedestrian accidents are on the rise.
Most pedestrian accidents take place at crosswalks and intersections. When high-speed vehicles disregard traffic signals and carelessly coast through stop signs or red lights, pedestrians crossing the street can be tragically killed. These accidents occur more frequently in the evenings, and in winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.
However, pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere people walk in close proximity to commercial or transport vehicles, including parking lots, sidewalks, and rural roads. Whenever a driver does not practice caution and responsible behaviour behind the wheel, their carelessness can have life-altering consequences.
Public safety advocates throughout Nova Scotia have been calling on local municipal and provincial governments to implement new measures to reduce the rate of pedestrian accidents in the province. However, the long-term trend of province-wide collisions suggests that the number of wrongful deaths resulting from pedestrian accidents will only continue to rise.
If you have lost a family member as the result of a pedestrian accident, a Nova Scotia wrongful death lawyer may be able to provide you with compassionate advice, and useful legal assistance.
Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents in Nova Scotia
According to the province’s Insurance Act, all drivers in Nova Scotia have a legal obligation to provide a reasonable duty of care to other road-users. This means that every motor vehicle operator must always practice reasonable caution on the road. When people violate traffic laws, they fail to provide a reasonable duty of care to their fellow road-users, including pedestrians. Violating traffic laws puts drivers, their passengers, and everyone else around them at risk of injury or death.
Unlawful behaviour behind the wheel can cause otherwise preventable pedestrian accidents, many of which have fatal consequences. By failing to provide a reasonable duty of care for other road-users by breaking traffic laws, drivers might be considered negligent.
Some examples of common unlawful, negligent behaviours that can cause a fatal pedestrian accident include:
- Speeding: Driving above the speed limit can cost lives. In Nova Scotia, speeding is responsible for nearly 30% of the province’s fatal collisions.
- Distracted driving: In Nova Scotia, driver distraction is estimated to be a contributing factor in 8 out of every 10 collisions reported to the police. Cell-phone use behind the wheel (even in hands-free mode) is a common driver distraction, but a myriad of other diversions can steal a driver’s focus from the road. Looking away from the road for even the briefest of moments can cause fatal collisions.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs: Mind-altering substances can cause drivers to experience blurred vision, loss of judgment, and even loss of consciousness behind the wheel. Alcohol and/or drugs could also impair a driver’s response time to changing road conditions. In Canada, every day on average, four people are killed as the result of impaired driving.
- And more
These examples of negligence on the road are all too common in Nova Scotia. Families who lose loved ones because of a driver’s carelessness, recklessness, and disregard for other road-users’ safety often find their lives permanently altered. It can be hard to find comfort and restitution after experiencing a senseless and tragic loss, all because of a stranger’s irresponsible behaviour.
How a Lawyer Can Help When Negligence Causes Wrongful Deaths
The premature loss of a loved one is never easy to withstand. No amount of money can fully compensate you for the loss of a family member who died as the result of another person’s negligence. However, if their death caused you to incur financial losses, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation from the at-fault driver.
If you have lost a child, spouse, sibling, parent, or grandparent because of another party’s negligence behind the wheel, a wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover the costs of financial losses you have experienced as a result of their tragic passing.
In order to recover financial compensation through a wrongful death claim, a Nova Scotia lawyer may be able to gather and present various forms of evidence to prove the following:
- The at-fault driver’s actions or inactions behind the wheel contributed to your family member’s death.
- The accident victim’s death was caused by driver negligence.
- As a result of your family member’s death, you have sustained damages.
Some expenses a wrongful death lawyer may be able to help you recover include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of guidance or companionship
- Loss of future earnings anticipated over your loved one’s lifetime
- Medical costs incurred prior to your loved one’s death
- And possibly more, if eligible
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
In accordance with Nova Scotia’s Fatal Injuries Act, eligible family members have only one year to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Although the rest of the country’s province’s and most of its territories have a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, bereaved Nova Scotians have a much shorter time frame to pursue legal action against the driver whose negligence caused them to lose their loved ones. If eligible family members do not act within this mandated time limit, they will most likely lose their opportunity to pursue financial compensation for costs they have incurred.
Mourning the death of a close relative is a singular process, unique to every person. The grieving process can take a long time, especially when your loved one’s death was sudden and accidental. Because of the province’s short statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, family members who wish to seek financial compensation for their losses need to act quickly. For many people, this means starting legal proceedings at the height of their grief.
The assistance of a compassionate wrongful death lawyer can help make the emotionally difficult process somewhat easier to endure.
Because of this narrow window of opportunity available to bereaved relatives, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as you feel able. Evidence required to bring forth a viable wrongful death claim might disappear over time. By discussing the conditions of your family member’s death as close to the date of their accident as possible, a lawyer will be able to determine if you are eligible to seek compensation. If you are, they will be able to begin the process of gathering evidence and working on your behalf to help recover a fair settlement.
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers Today
If you lost a family member in a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. However, you have only a very short time in which to act.
To learn if you are eligible to pursue damages, contact us today. For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.