What to do if I was hit by a car as a pedestrian

12 minute read Published on May 6, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Photo of woman's legs on the zebra crossing

If you’re hit by a car as a pedestrian, you might be wondering what happens next. For instance, after receiving the medical attention you require, you may want to know whether the losses you suffered are covered by car insurance. Below, we discuss all there is to know about car accidents involving pedestrians, including what types of car insurance cover them.

Pedestrian accidents

There are many types of common car accidents in Canada. Some of these car accidents stem from sharing the road with motorcycles, while others stem from sharing the road with bicycles. However, there are also cases where sharing the road with pedestrians results in an accident. A few of the leading causes of any type of accident, including pedestrian accidents, are as follows:

Reckless driving

Driving recklessly or ignoring the posted speed limit or other road signs significantly increases one’s odds of getting into an accident.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents across the country. Distracted driving counts as anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This could include texting, eating, drinking, or smoking. When your attention and gaze aren’t on the road, you are much more likely to collide with another vehicle, object, or pedestrian suddenly.

Impaired driving

Impaired driving, i.e. driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is another common cause of pedestrian car accidents. If you’ve been out drinking or have ingested any drugs that may delay your reaction time, call a friend or a taxi to drive you home. Your cognitive abilities are considerably diminished when drunk or high, and this can have a significant effect on your driving.

Fatigued driving

Driving while tired is all too common and yet it can be incredibly dangerous. If you’re falling asleep at the wheel, your chances of getting into a car accident go up. So do what you need to do in order to stay awake on the road, whether that means drinking a cup of coffee, pulling over and taking a power nap, eating a snack, chewing gum, singing along to music, or not getting behind the wheel at all.


Lastly, speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents. When you speed, your reaction time is reduced, which makes you more likely to get into a collision. Pay attention to all posted speed limits and adhere to them. Experts even recommend driving below the speed limit if you are driving at night, in inclement weather, through a construction zone, or on a street with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Common pedestrian car accident injuries

Getting injured in a car accident is all too common if the accident involves a pedestrian. A few of the most common types of injuries that pedestrians suffer from following car accidents are as follows:

  • Whiplash
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Burns
  • Psychological injuries, e.g. PTSD

What to do if you hit a pedestrian while driving

If you hit a pedestrian while driving, here is what you should do:

1. Remain calm

While this is probably easier said than done, do what you can to remain calm. Panicking won’t help. Take a deep breath and assess the situation. Once it is safe to do so, move your car to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.

2. Check for injuries

Step number two is to check for injuries. Whether or not you think you’ve been hurt, it’s always wise to call 9-1-1. Plus, if you hit a pedestrian with your car, then chances are they are injured and require medical assistance. If the pedestrian is injured, do not try to move them, as this could make the injury worse. Instead, wait for emergency services to arrive on the scene. Please note that even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s smart to get checked out by a medical professional anyway. There are many types of injuries that aren’t obvious or don’t present themselves right away.

3. Gather information

The next step is to gather information about the accident. If possible, get the contact information of the pedestrian and anyone else involved in the accident, whether that includes another driver or even witnesses. If there is another driver involved, get their insurance company’s informationand their licence plate number as well.

4. Take photos and videos

Once you have exchanged information with the involved parties, take photos and videos of the scene. You should take photos of the scene, the damage done to your vehicle, and any visible injuries.

5. File a police record

If you called 9-1-1 in step number two, then chances are the police have arrived on the scene. If they haven’t, call your local police department so that a law enforcement officer can file an official record of the crash. A police report is often required for claims.

6. Call your insurance company

The sixth step is to call your insurance company. You will need to inform them about the accident. From there, they can walk you through the claims process and help you determine what type of claim to file, such as an accident benefits coverage claim or a third-party liability car insurance claim.

What to do if you get hit by a car as a pedestrian

If you’re walking or cycling and get hit by a motor vehicle, here is what you should do:

1. Call 9-1-1

If you are able to do so, call emergency services right away. Even if you only suspect a minor injury, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.

2. Obtain the driver’s contact information

The second step is to gather the contact information of the driver who hit you. This includes their name, phone number, home address, licence plate, and the name of their insurance company and their policy number. The other driver’s insurance information is critical as you will need it to file a claim under your personal injury coverage.

3. Take photos of the scene

Next, take photos and videos of the scene. Specifically, take photos of any visible injuries on your body, as well as any damage done to your personal property.

4. Go to the doctor for a full medical evaluation

The fourth step is to make an appointment with your doctor and receive a full medical evaluation. There are many kinds of injuries that don’t present themselves immediately, which is why a follow-up appointment is a must. When at this appointment, make sure that you receive copies of all medical records and treatments that you receive. This documentation will be needed if you file a claim.

5. Inform your insurance company of the pedestrian accident

The fifth step is to contact your insurance provider and let them know that you were hit by a car. Your insurer will provide you with all sorts of important information, such as how to file a personal injury claim, how a personal injury claim can affect your insurance, and how to cancel a personal injury claim if necessary.

Who is liable in a pedestrian accident?

Generally speaking, the driver is usually held liable in a pedestrian car accident. For this reason, the driver’s liability car insurance may be what covers the victim’s losses. Please note that in Ontario, pedestrian-car accident laws stipulate that a pedestrian injured in an accident may be able to claim damages from the at-fault driver. That said, pedestrians are not automatically allowed to do this. Rather, their injuries must meet the threshold set by the Ontario Insurance Act. You can learn more about this by contacting BrokerLink today.

How insurance company payouts are determined for pedestrians

There are a number of factors that an insurance company will consider when deciding what a payout will be. When it comes to pedestrian-car accidents, the following factors will be assessed:

The extent of the injuries

The severity of the pedestrian’s injuries is the first factor to consider. The pedestrian must provide all medical expenses, records, and any lost wages, if applicable. Remember that in Ontario, a pedestrian cannot sue a driver for personal injury unless their injuries reach the threshold set by the Ontario Insurance Act.

Who was at fault

Whether or not the driver was at fault for the accident is a second factor that will come into play. You can only receive compensation from the other driver and their insurance company if they are found to be at fault for the accident. For instance, if the at-fault driver was speeding or driving recklessly at the time of the accident, they will most likely be found liable.

If the pedestrian contributed to the accident

If the pedestrian contributed to the accident in any way, it will also be considered by the insurance company. For example, if the pedestrian was illegally jaywalking at the time of the accident, then the driver might not be the only one to blame.

Top mistakes people make after being hit by a car

There are a few mistakes that are all too common after being hit by a car as a pedestrian. Do not fall into this trap. Instead, follow the steps below to ensure that you get what you deserve:

Not seeking medical attention

Failing to seek medical attention is one of the most common mistakes that pedestrians make after being involved in a car accident. Delaying treatment can only make injuries worse, so get yourself checked out as soon as possible.

Not calling a personal injury attorney

A personal injury attorney is a great resource if you recently got hit by a car in Canada. Plus, many personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so if you have basic questions, such as whether your accident qualifies you to take legal action in Ontario, it doesn’t hurt to give an attorney a call.

Accepting the first payout offer made by the insurance company

We typically don’t recommend accepting the first offer made by the insurance company. Given that an insurance company’s goal is to minimize how much they pay out to victims and policyholders, it’s possible that the insurer’s first offer isn’t actually their best offer. When evaluating a payout offer from an insurance company, review all expenses incurred, from medical fees to lost wages, and come up with an estimate as to what payout amount you should receive. Compare any payout offers to that amount to make sure that you’re getting the amount you deserve.

Waiting too long to file a personal injury claim

Waiting too long to file a personal injury claim is another mistake that pedestrians make. In Ontario, pedestrians only have two years from the date of the accident to submit a legal claim if they choose to go this route. If you wait any longer than this, your lawsuit will likely be thrown out.

Rushing to get back to “normal”

Rushing to get back to “normal” life after an accident is the final mistake that people often make. There is a lot of healing that must be done - mentally, psychologically, and physically - after a car accident. Give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get back to normal life, especially since this undue strain could actually make things worse.

Car insurance coverage for pedestrians

Now that you know a little bit more about the insurance claims process if you are struck by a car as a pedestrian, let’s dive into the types of car insurance that may cover you.

Not all types of auto insurance will apply, such as accident forgiveness coverage and comprehensive car coverage. However, there are a few other types of car insurance that will. For example, if you suffer an injury in a car accident, you might be covered by the other driver’s liability car insurance. Liability car insurance, also known as third-party liability coverage, is a type of insurance that is mandatory for all drivers. It is designed to cover the costs of an at-fault accident, including medical, repair, or legal fees. Thus, if a driver hits you and that driver is deemed to be at fault for the accident, your medical expenses might be covered under the at-fault driver’s third-party liability coverage.

Another possible scenario is if you are injured after someone hits you without insurance. If you are walking and are struck by a driver who is uninsured, underinsured, or who flees the scene of the accident after hitting you, then it is uninsured automobile insurance that might come into play.

Accident benefits coverage is one other type of car insurance coverage that can pay for personal injury expenses. This type of coverage, which is also mandatory across Canada, can pay for medical expenses incurred by the policyholder, a passenger, a pedestrian, or anyone else injured in the accident. It can also cover funeral fees if someone passes away in an accident, lost income if someone is unable to work temporarily due to their health, and rehabilitative care.

If you have more questions about what to do if you get hit by a car as a pedestrian, contact BrokerLink today. We can explain how car insurance works, what types of coverage will cover you, and how to file a claim and receive a payout from your insurance company.

Reach out to BrokerLink for more information on what to do if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian

It is every pedestrian’s worst nightmare to get hit by a car. This is an incredibly dangerous and scary situation. The reality is that a vehicle striking a pedestrian can cause serious injury and even death. If you were recently the victim of a pedestrian car accident, reach out to BrokerLink today. One of our licensed insurance advisors would be pleased to discuss your options and explain how insurance may cover you.

For instance, one of our experienced brokers can outline what types of insurance cover personal injury, how you can file a claim to seek compensation, and whether or not you are eligible to sue the at-fault driver if this is something you are interested in doing.

Plus, as a full-service auto insurance brokerage, we can also take a look at your car insurance plan to ensure you have the best coverage possible. We can offer a professional opinion on what coverages make sense for your needs and even shop around on your behalf to make sure that you’re getting the best price for your policy.

To find out more, including if insurance settlements are taxable and how much car insurance costs, give BrokerLink a call today. We can be reached over the phone, in person, or online. You can also use the online quote tool on our website to request a free auto insurance quote today!

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FAQs about pedestrian car accidents

What should I do if I get hit by a car while walking?

If you get hit by a car while walking, you should call 9-1-1 right away. Next, you should move to a safe place out of the way of traffic if it is safe to do so. Once emergency services arrive, get yourself checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. Then, call the police to file a police record, and finally, inform your insurance company about the accident.

Do pedestrians have the right of way in Canada?

No, pedestrians do not automatically have the right of way in Canada. It depends on the situation. For example, pedestrians do have the right of way when walking on a crosswalk. However, they will not have the right of way when illegally jaywalking across a road or crossing on a road light.

Who is at fault if a driver hits a jaywalker in Canada?

It depends. Generally speaking, both parties will be held liable if a jaywalker is hit. This is due to the fact that in most pedestrian car accidents, the driver is found to be at fault. If it can be proven that the pedestrian was doing something illegal, like jaywalking, at the time of the accident, then they will also be held liable. Still, usually, they won’t solely be held liable.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.