By Matt Lalande in Wrongful Death on August 23, 2020
Wrongful death accidents are a tragic, heartbreaking situation for any family to experience. When an individual is killed because of someone else’s mistake, the family is left to pick up those pieces and often succumbs to the financial burden of a lost source of income, as well as the emotional burden of losing a caregiver, loved one, or guardian.
No one wants to think about their loved one being involved in a fatal accident, but the reality is that these accidents do happen. While wrongful death could result from any negligent action, there are 5 common causes of wrongful death in Ontario that comprise a large percentage of accident fatalities. Understanding how these types of accidents cause wrongful death can be a helpful factor in preventative action or reparative justice, depending on the circumstances.
Remember – we are Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyers that service clients ALL OVER ONTARIO. If your family has lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, call us toll free no matter where you are in Canada at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the GTA / Hamilton are at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can fill out a contact form to schedule a consultation and we will get back to you promptly.
Traffic related pedestrian accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death in Ontario. When a pedestrian is struck by a motor vehicle, an unshielded human body is not a strong match for the sheer weight of the vehicle. A driver inside a vehicle is protected by reinforced steel and the frame of the vehicle, but a pedestrian is vulnerable and out in the open. This is an increased risk for fatalities or severe, life-changing injuries no matter how the accident is caused.
Pedestrians are also easy to miss if a driver is not paying full attention to their surroundings. Walking at night or early in the morning is particularly dangerous due to limited visibility for both the driver and the pedestrian. Children and senior citizens are the most at-risk groups of people for being hit by a car, as children are more unpredictable and less knowledgeable about road safety and elderly people generally take longer to cross the road.
Kids under 16 and seniors are the absolute most vulnerable to being struck by a vehicle in Ontario. Kids often lack the judgment to avoid oncoming traffic. Other behaviors, such as risky driving behaviors, drunk driving, speed and stunt driving, kids’ impulsivity and poor parenting foften occur simultaneously when there is a pediatric pedestrian collision. Seniors have often have limitations that make them susceptible to motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents – such as losses in hearing, vision, reflexes and flexibility put them at risk more than others.
Another leading cause of wrongful death in Ontario is motorcycle accidents. A collision between a motor vehicle and a motorcycle will almost always result in more severe damage to the motorcyclist than the driver. The CMAJ performed a study and found that motorcycle accidents account for approximately 10% of all motor vehicle deaths, despite the fact that motorcyclists make up only 2% of all road traffic.
The common injured part of the body in motorcycle accident victims are head injuries, followed by thoracic injuries and abdonimal injuries such as viceral injuries to the liver, kidney rupture, bowel and intestinal perforations . Most motorcycle accident victims in Ontario unfortunately die from intense craniocerebral injuries.
Motorcyclists are at a higher risk than vehicles because they are exposed to the elements instead of protected by the frame of their vehicle. When travelling at high speeds, such as on the highway, the force and impact of a collision is stronger and deadlier. Additionally, motorcyclists are more difficult for drivers to see due to the fact that they are not the same size as a car and a driver’s eyes are not inclined to look out for them. At night, or in low visibility circumstances, seeing a motorcyclist becomes even harder.
T-bone accidents often have fatal consequences. In a t-bone collision, the impact occurs directly on either the passenger or driver’s side of the vehicle, depending on which direction the at-fault driver came from. Also known as side impact collisions, these accidents are mostly caused by drivers cutting another driver off, disobeying traffic signs and signals, and distracted driving, among many other factors. This results in a direct impact to that individual, with only the door in between the incoming force.
A major factor in the mortality of t-bone collisions is the difference in vehicle size. When an SUV, truck, or van collides with a side impact into a smaller car, the individual in the smaller car faces a significant threat. Drivers of cars are therefore more often killed in t-bone collisions than the drivers of larger vehicles. They are also at an increased risk of rollover, which can lead to severe injuries if they survive the accident.
One of the most deadly types of car accidents is head-on collisions. In a head-on collision, a forceful impact comes from directly in front of the driver or passengers, as two cars driving toward one another collide. This leaves many vulnerable areas of the body exposed, with only the front of the car and the windshield for protection. External objects like poles can puncture the body through the windshield, while the force of impact can throw the vehicle’s occupants from their seats.
Head-on collisions are generally not as common as other types of car accidents, but they are by far the deadliest and most dangerous. Generally, a head-on collision is caused by driver negligence, such as disobeying road signs, speeding, driving distracted or under the influence, driving the wrong way, or some other type of impaired driving such as driving while fatigued.
Children are particularly succespitble in head-on crashes because of the extreme force of air bag deployment. Often times, frontal air bags also cause kids and other small occupants to die in low-speed crashes that likely would have no doubt resulted in minor injuries in the absence of an air bag. Most fatal head-on crashes in Ontario happen on speed limits of90 km/hr and with vehicles travelling the wrong way or losing control and moving into the oncoming lane. Cars were the most common vehicle types in head on crashes, followed by pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans
Cell phone and smartphone distraction rates are alarmingly high. These devices have made it easy for us to stay connected at all times – but unfortunately using a smartphone while driving has caused traffic accidents that have surpassed impaired driving crashes in Canada. While all types of distracted driving are dangerous, texting while driving gets the most attention because it involves a combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
Distracted driving is a serious and dangerous move that comprises a substantial amount of wrongful death claims. In Canada, approximately 80% of all vehicle collisions are caused by some form of distracted driving, and for the last few years it has been the number one cause of car accident fatalities in the province. When a driver takes their eyes off the road, even for one second, their chances of causing or being involved in an accident automatically double. Additionally, if a distracted driver causes wrongful death, they can be charged with careless driving and face up to 14 years in prison under the Highway Traffic Act.
Cell phone and smartphone distraction rates are alarmingly high. These devices have made it easy for us to stay connected at all times – but unfortunately using a smartphone while driving has caused traffic accidents that have surpassed impaired driving crashes in Canada. While all types of distracted driving are dangerous, texting while driving is the most dangerous because it involves a combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
Some of the ways that distracted driving can put the lives of motorcycles and other drivers at risk include:
An accident caused by distracted driving can be fatal because of the unexpected nature of the incident. When the driver is not paying attention, they could run off the road and hit a pedestrian or end up in a head-on collision with oncoming traffic. These types of accidents are extremely dangerous and devastating for the victim. The large number of accidents caused by distracted driving leads to a higher likelihood of wrongful death.
If your loved one has been tragically killed by another person’s negligence, you have the right to make a wrongful death claim and seek financial compensation. No amount of financial settlement is going to erase the pain you are experiencing or bring your loved one back, but it can help relieve the financial burden as you work through this devastating time.
As Hamilton wrongful death lawyers, our team has assisted families across Ontario in achieving a fair settlement or obtaining verdicts for the emotional and financial pain and suffering they have endured. Feel free to book a no-obligation consultation with our team to go over the legal options available to you with complete and total confidentiality. Call us toll-free no matter where you are in Canada at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the GTA / Hamilton area at 905-333-8888 for more information – and remember – talking to us is always free.