Pedestrian Injuries at Crosswalks

Pedestrian accidents happen throughout the year, even during broad daylight and sunny weather conditions. But now the nights are drawing in, the risks to pedestrians grow even greater.

Pedestrian accidents

Sadly, pedestrians are injured in British Columbia all too often. Earlier this year, an article in the Times Colonist stated that in BC’s Lower Mainland, traffic incidents involving at least one pedestrian rose from 1,700 in 2012 to 2,300 in 2016 – a 35% increase.

Some say this rise is due to the fact there is more traffic on the roads, while others point towards our ageing population, suggesting older pedestrians cannot hear and see oncoming traffic as well. There is also no doubt that distracted driving is becoming more and more problematic, with drivers checking devices such cells phones and GPS maps while operating a vehicle.

Pedestrians injured at crosswalk

Pedestrian accidents can happen anywhere, but are particularly common at crosswalks – even though pedestrians actually have right of way.

Often what happens is that a driver will turn left or right at an intersection, straight into the path of a pedestrian crossing the road. Other times a driver will not see the pedestrian because it is dark, there are adverse weather conditions, or simply because he/she was distracted. Or a driver may skip a red light or pull out unexpectedly from a side street or parking lot.

Whatever the circumstances, such accidents are usually extremely serious. Pedestrians are very vulnerable road users, and even low-impact collisions can cause devastating injuries.

Who is at fault for pedestrian crosswalk accidents?

But who, if anyone, is to blame for a pedestrian crosswalk accident?

You might think that it is an open and shut case, seeing as pedestrians have right of way at crosswalks. This means that if a crosswalk is managed by lights, drivers must stop while the ‘walk’ sign is on and allow pedestrians to cross. If there are no lights, drivers must stop of their own volition when they see a pedestrian waiting to cross the road.

Yet pedestrians, too, have their own responsibilities at crosswalks. Just because they have right of way does not mean they can run out into the road as they wish. They should not cross until they believe it is safe to do so, and should give any oncoming vehicles a reasonable amount of time to stop.

Pedestrians should also consider other factors that might impair a driver’s ability to see them, such as dark clothing, poor visibility and bad weather conditions. If a pedestrian fails to pay due care and attention while using a crosswalk, it could be said that he/she contributed towards the accident in some way. This is called contributory negligence.

All of these things must be weighed up when establishing who is responsible for a pedestrian accident at a crosswalk. However, when it comes to these kinds of accidents, the driver is almost always held accountable – at least in part.

What can you do as an injured pedestrian?

If you have been injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle in British Columbia, you will be entitled to claim Part 7 benefits from ICBC. This is true even if the driver fled the scene, otherwise known as a hit and run accident.

In addition to Part 7 benefits, you may also be able to make a personal injury claim for compensation. This will see that you are compensated over and above your medical and wage loss benefits. Although this will not undo the damage that has been caused, it will attempt to compensate for the pain and suffering you have experienced – which in the case of a pedestrian crosswalk accident, can be great. A claim will also allow you to recover out-of-pocket expenses.

Contact us now

If you wish to make an ICBC claim as a pedestrian, it is recommended that you ask an ICBC claims lawyer to help you. This will mean that you do not have to deal with ICBC directly, and will guarantee that you get both the compensation and the benefits you rightfully deserve.

If you have been injured as a pedestrian at a crosswalk, or your loved one has, please do not hesitate to contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation. Either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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