Imagine crossing the street and suddenly being hit by a motor vehicle accident. The negligent act of a driver may lead to your being injured. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, but there are several things that need to be taken into account.

Motor vehicle drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws. Some of these laws include requirements regarding pedestrian safety. There are duties for pedestrians as well. In the above example, one needs to show how the driver disobeyed the law while driving and you, as the pedestrian, did not.

Definition: a duty of care is a legal obligation which is imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeable harm others. It is the first element that must be established to proceed with an action in negligence.

A driver owes a duty of care to a pedestrian. If the driver did not uphold that duty, and a pedestrian sustained injury as a result, that pedestrian may receive compensation for the injuries.

Proving that a driver did not uphold their duty may not be clear, but there are a number of items that can help a pedestrian’s case.

  • Eyewitness testimony – a witness to the accident can help explain the events that occurred and in what order.
  • Accident report – regardless as to how you feel after an incident, make sure an accident report is completed by the police.
  • Photo evidence – if you are able, taking pictures or video at the scene of the accident is always beneficial to the case. Many streets have video surveillance at traffic lights. Nearby buildings may also have security cameras that recorded the accident.

Pedestrians also have a duty of care. If a pedestrian violates that duty, they may not be able to receive compensation for their injuries. Examples include:

  • Jaywalking or crossing outside of a crosswalk
  • Crossing against a traffic signal (Do not walk sign)
  • Entering a street while intoxicated
  • Walking along roadways where pedestrian access is prohibited