Motor vehicle accidents resulting in deaths and hospitalizations are a significant concern in British Columbia and across Canada. Authorities say reducing speed can prevent most accidents. This is true in Canada and also south of the border from where many cross-border personal injury claims arise when British Columbia residents go on day trips to Seattle or other destinations in Washington state.
Many of the 1,841 fatalities and 9,960 hospitalizations that were recorded in 2017 involved pedestrians. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at 50 kmh is at a significantly higher risk of suffering fatal or severe injuries than someone who is struck by a vehicle travelling at 30 kmh. Safety authorities say driving at 30 kmh gives the driver more time to react and avoid a collision. Pedestrians also have more time to make safe decisions about crossing roads if approaching vehicles are not speeding.
Of course, cars travelling at higher speeds are more likely to strike pedestrians and cause severe or fatal injuries. Drivers are urged to remain calm when they come across zones with lower speed limits because there is a direct link between aggression and speeding. Authorities also remind drivers that speed limits are posted to slow traffic in areas known to have high levels of pedestrian traffic.
When a British Columbia pedestrian is struck by a car during a visit south of the border, there might be many questions about the victim’s right to recover damages. Dealing with laws and insurance claims of two different countries is challenging. Legal counsel with experience in cross-border personal injury claims can take over and deal with insurance adjusters or the legal proceedings of a civil lawsuit in pursuit of damage recovery.