During the summer, many cyclists share the roadways with drivers in Kingston, Ottawa and Whitby. More people on the roadways also means more accidents. One type of motor vehicle accident that is more common in the summer is a bicycle-car or bicycle-truck accident.
Cyclists involved in motor vehicle accidents are often seriously injured. The only protection they have if they are hit by motor vehicles is their helmets. Therefore, cyclists may sustain serious orthopedic injuries. Even with helmets, they may still suffer permanent brain injuries, i.e., mild traumatic brain injury or traumatic brain injury.
What are Injured Cyclists' Legal Rights?
A. Filing Accident Benefits Claims with the Cyclists' Own Auto Insurance Companies
Injured cyclists in Kingston, Ottawa and Whitby may file accident benefits claims with their own car insurance companies. Many cyclists are surprised about this, and rightfully so. Why would their car insurance policies have anything to do with their bicycle accidents?
Ontario auto insurance law is very complex, and it requires that auto insurance policies provide accident benefits to insured drivers, even if they were pedestrians or cyclists at the time of the motor vehicle accidents.
For a discussion of injured pedestrians' legal rights after motor vehicle accidents, see Ontario Pedestrian-Car Accident Law: Rights of Injured Pedestrians.
Insured drivers who are injured while walking or riding their bikes may receive the following accident benefits pursuant to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) under the Ontario Insurance Act:
• medical and rehabilitation care benefits,
• income replacement benefits,
• caregiver benefits,
• reimbursement for housekeeping and home maintenance, and
• in the event of death, death and funeral benefits.
B. Filing Accident Benefits Claims with the At-Fault Drivers' Auto Insurance Companies
If injured cyclists do not have their own auto insurance policies or are not covered by any other applicable car insurance policies, they may receive accident benefits from the at-fault drivers' car insurance companies.
C. Filing Injury Lawsuits Against the At-Fault Drivers
Like drivers injured in Ontario auto accidents, injured cyclists may also file lawsuits or tort claims against the at-fault drivers, in addition to filing for accident benefits.
Some of the damages injured cyclists may recover in tort claims are:
• pain and suffering,
• loss of enjoyment of life,
• loss of income,
• medical and rehabilitation expenses not covered under SABS, and/or
• other expenses, such as home maintenance expenses not covered under SABS.
Hit by a Car or Truck While Riding a Bicycle in Kingston, Ottawa or Whitby?
If you were hit and injured by a car while riding your bicycle, you may want to explore your legal rights. Though you do not need a lawyer to file a claim for accident benefits with your own auto insurance company, it is best to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer to ensure you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to. Call the lawyers at Bergeron Clifford to schedule a FREE consultation. 866-384-5886.