On April 2, 2020, Thomson Rogers lawyer Lucy Jackson discussed “How cell phones could weaken personal injury claims” with David Kitai of the Law Times.
Lucy explained that pedestrians who are distracted by their phones are subject to the “reverse onus” in Ontario, where the driver needs to prove they were driving with due care and attention, their distraction could be treated like a cyclist not wearing their helmet, or passengers not wearing their seatbelts, resulting in a reduction to their damages.
“The big impact that distracted walking could have is in providing the at-fault driver with some evidence to minimize the amount of damages that they would be responsible to pay,” Jackson says. “Defence lawyers would use the distraction as evidence of ‘contributory negligence,’ which we see most often with respect to seatbelt use. In those cases, defence counsel for the defendant argues that the plaintiff sustained their extensive injuries because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt. And therefore, the plaintiffs, say, 50 per cent responsible for the injuries. The defendant, then, is only responsible to pay for 50 per cent of the damages.”
Jackson continues to say that the first step to preventing distracted walking from weakening personal injury claims comes with public outreach.
Continue reading the full article on Law Times here.
Read more about distracted walking in Lucy’s article here.