Motor Vehicle Accidents

Although many accidents involve cars, we also deal with accidents involving motorcycles, trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles and public transportation. We also deal with injuries caused by motor vehicles in the broader sense, including ATVs and snowmobiles. Each requires familiarity with different aspects of injury law, and a different approach.

Our lawyers are familiar with not just the physical but the legal implications of a variety of motor vehicle injuries, including those that are the result of being hit by a drunk or distracted driver or being struck as a pedestrian or a cyclist.

Car accidents are fairly straightforward, although how the accident happens, and whether the driver is distracted or intoxicated can affect your injuries and your case. Sometimes the vehicles we deal with require more experience and specialized knowledge – and we have it.

Motorcycle Accidents

Under the law motorcycles are considered the same as other motor vehicles. Motorcyclists have the same rights and obligations as any other driver on the road.

Practically speaking however, when there is an accident, motorcyclists often fare very differently, and may be treated very differently by insurance companies or a judge and jury. This is in part because of the injuries and the seriousness of the accidents usually involved, and in part because of attitudes toward motorcycles.  Because of this, a motorcycle accident requires a different approach from a personal injury lawyer.

Our team of personal injury lawyers are sensitive to the need for this alternate approach, and can help if you were injured in a motorcycle accident.

Trucks and Other Commercial Vehicles

Large size plus high speed equals dangerous and often deadly accidents. The physics involved can get complicated when we try to figure out the combination of speeds, loads, and events that came together during the accident, which usually takes only seconds.

Questions of fault may also be tricky to resolve, since truck accidents can be caused by driver error, fatigue, improper loading of the truck, improper maintenance and other factors. Guilty parties may include the driver, the maintenance or loading crews, or the trucking company — especially if there are issues with scheduling, training or maintenance standards. Often there are numerous insurance companies involved, and each one is pointing the finger at someone else.

As well, issues of compliance with safety legislation may arise, especially if the trucking company or driver is not based in Ontario.

Other commercial vehicles, such as delivery vans and construction equipment, have many of the same issues as trucks do, but since commercial vehicles can be of any size and purpose, the details may be different.

Public Transportation

Buses, trains, streetcars and other public transportation pose challenges as well, including:

  • Number of victims: A bus crash or train derailment may result in dozens of victims, both on the vehicle and outside of it. This may result in a class action.
  • Type of injury: We see regular crash injuries but also slip-and-falls at stations.
  • Restrictions: Sometimes public transportation has limits on how much compensation may be sought, or protection against being held responsible for certain kinds of wrongdoing.

There may also be strict time limits on how long you have to put in a claim, especially if your accident happens on public property.

Snowmobiles and ATVs

Snowmobiles, ATVs and RTVs are supposed to be fun. Unfortunately, when they cause injury, the effects can be incredibly destructive, and the good times end abruptly.  Insurance coverage can also be hard to find and can be incredibly complicated after a recreational vehicle accident. Our lawyers can help you access health benefits and income replacement coverage after an accident.

Snowmobiles are usually used for recreation in Ontario, but their speed and their use in the cold and ice can make them incredibly dangerous if anything goes wrong, even if the driver wears a helmet. Traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries and broken bones are not uncommon.

There may also be issues of fault, if the snowmobile is defective, improperly maintained, or you or somebody else did not have enough training to drive it properly.  Sadly people are often injured on recreational vehicles when they are intoxicated, stunt driving, speeding, or driving without a license or insurance.  Even in these difficult circumstances our lawyers can often help people access insurance and obtain positive results in and out of court.

RTVs and ATVs can also be dangerous, whether used for recreation or transportation. This is in part because, like snowmobiles, they are often used in remote locations where it may be difficult to get to emergency medical care if anything goes wrong.

If you have an injury caused by an ATV, snowmobile or RTV accident, we can help you get the resources and compensation you require to regain as much quality of life as possible.

Hit By Drunk or Distracted Drivers

Drunk driving is a known problem, with laws in place to deal with it and decades of public education campaigns against it. Distracted driving is quickly becoming just as important, especially as we see how deadly it can be.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident while texting and driving. It’s like having a blood alcohol content of 0.08. In recent year there have been more deaths in Ontario from distracted driving than from drunk driving.

Unfortunately, police, courts and society haven’t yet caught up in taking distracted driving seriously in all jurisdictions. Depending on where your accident happens and who investigates it, a texting driver may not even be charged.

Taking It Seriously

Happily, the overall trend in Ontario is a move toward a zero-tolerance attitude in this area. Fines and penalties for drivers using handheld devices are increasing, and hopefully someday it will be seen as just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

If you were hit by a drunk or distracted driver, our lawyers will ensure that this factor is used to your benefit in obtaining you compensation either in or out of court.

Bicycle Accidents

As a bicyclist, in many ways you are considered to be just another vehicle on the road, and expected to follow the same rules as any other vehicle in Ontario. In other ways however, cyclists are treated as pedestrians under the law – this contrast makes a car vs. bike accident a legal challenge, but our lawyers have tons of experience in these claims.  

Unfortunately when a cyclist is injured in an accident, you are in a far worse position than most. Not only are you more vulnerable to physical harm than someone in a vehicle, but you travel on roads, in close proximity to high-speed vehicles. As such, your injuries are likely to be different from those we see with motor vehicle accident victims.

You may be more at risk for:

  • Brain injury and concussion
  • Spinal injury
  • Broken bones
  • Unusual accidents such as ‘dooring’, being run off the road by drivers who do not see you, or having your tires caught in grates or other road hazards.

You may also have a lack of understanding of your own rights as a person on the road. Ignorance about the practical realities of bicycling and cyclists’ legal rights – and the occasional attitude that bikes shouldn’t even be on the road – sometimes causes police and insurance companies to not take bicycle accidents seriously.

But we do.

Cycling Should Not Be Hazardous To Your Health

Many bicycle accident victims are relatively young and healthy, and may need long-term care and compensation for lifelong injuries. Our lawyers will give your case the care it deserves. This includes:

  • Ensuring that your case is looked at with an understanding of your rights as a bicyclist
  • Ensuring that you are not blamed unreasonably and that the person who harmed you is held accountable — instead of you being blamed for being careless around parked cars
  • Helping you with insurance issues, if you have no coverage of your own
  • Sending you to the right professionals for evaluation as well as care
  • Helping you get whatever help you may be entitled to, even if you are at fault, have no insurance, or are harmed by a hit-and-run driver

Pedestrians Accidents

Being injured as a pedestrian is markedly different than being injured as the driver of a motor vehicle. The most obvious difference is the lack of protection against whatever might hit you – and hit you at high speeds. Your chances of sustaining serious injuries, including brain and spinal injuries, increases.

Walking With You

Our pedestrian accident lawyers are extremely familiar with these issues. There are a number of causes for pedestrian accidents, including:

  • Intoxicated or distracted drivers (including texting drivers)
  • Speeding in residential areas
  • Careless or reckless driving through parking lots, crosswalks and other areas where pedestrians and cars must use the same area
  • Pedestrian inattention, jaywalking and intoxication

Pedestrian cases can involve be tricky insurance issues, especially if you have no insurance and are involved in a hit-and-run, or if you are partially or wholly at fault.

We can help you know your rights and pursue compensation in or out of court.

Contact Bergeron | Clifford LLP

Contact us if you have suffered a motor vehicle injury in Eastern Ontario. Call us at 866-384-5886 or fill out our online form. We can meet you in Kingston, Ottawa, Whitby, Carleton Place, Perth or wherever is most convenient for you.

Find a Location
ccla-abcc
murney-tower
northumberland-county-law-association
the-advocates-society
ontario-trial-lawyers-association