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Pedestrian Accidents – Contributory Negligence

A pedestrian who sustains injuries as a result of a slip and fall, trip and fall or motor vehicle accident and commences litigation must first contend with the issue of liability, or why the accident happened and whose fault it was.   If the defendant is found liable, be it a municipality, homeowner or private property owner or motor vehicle operator, the next hurdle is determining if the pedestrian in any way caused or contributed to the accident.

Should the matter move to mediation, the Defendant will seek a discount or a percentage in the reduction of settlement figure to account for the pedestrian’s part in causing the accident.  If the matter proceeds to trial, the Court will also contemplate what role the pedestrian had in causing or contributing to the accident.

Contributory negligence discounts vary based on the facts of the case.  The Court will look to many factors including what type and the condition of the footwear worn at the time of the accident, whether corrective lenses were required and were worn, whether the pedestrian was carrying anything which may have caused an imbalance, whether the pedestrian was running or walking, familiarity of the pedestrian to the accident site and whether there was anything impeding the pedestrian’s view.  Contributory negligence is fact specific.

In the case of Lopez v. Toronto (City) 2013, the Court found that the pedestrian in this case had ample time to see and avoid the patch of ice he slipped on.  The Court found he ought to have seen the ice.  The Court apportioned the liability between the pedestrian and the Municipality at 50/50%.  In the case of Billings v. Mississauga (City) 2010, the Court reduced the pedestrian’s award by 25% as a result of his cavalier and unreasonable attitude in walking to the corner store for a lottery ticket in a very bad snow storm.

What you need to take from these cases is the knowledge that if there are facts about your accident that lead you to believe that the fall was somehow your fault this does not mean you should not litigate.  Speak to a lawyer.  There is a high probability you have a claim and perhaps there will a discount for contributory negligence as low as 5% or no deduction at all.

At Himelfarb Proszanski, we are on top of the law to ensure that our clients maximize their settlement, just part of the Himelfarb Proszanski Advantage.


For assistance with a personal injury and/or insurance claim, please email David Himelfarb at or call 1-855-446-7765, for a free case evaluation.

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