Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Hamilton, Ontario
Experienced Hamilton Auto Accident Law Firm
A Bicycle Is A Vehicle
Just like a car or truck, a bike is considered a vehicle under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
As you can imagine, when there is a vehicle accident that involves a car and a cyclist, it’s the cyclist who will most often be more severely injured. Cyclists in Canada die every year and the majority of them involve a collision with a motor vehicle.
Bicycle accidents can result in significant pain and suffering loss for the cyclists, and also for their loved ones. Other types of injuries that could be sustained are head injuries or concussions, catastrophic injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures and other serious orthopedic injuries, internal injuries, abrasions (road rash) and lacerations as well as psychological trauma and despair.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle motor vehicle accidents can be caused by distracted driving, speeding, hit and run or drunk drivers. Aggressive drivers may try to run cyclists off the road or turn in front of them. Bikers are frequently injured when drivers of parked vehicles open a door in front of a cyclist or pull away from the curb and into an oncoming cyclist’s path.
Common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Poor Raod Conditions
- Disobeying Road Safety Rules
- Time of Day
This is when a motor vehicle’s door is improperly opened (for both a driver and passenger) into the lanes of another road user (pedestrians or cyclists) which can potentially cause a serious cycling injury or a pedestrian injury. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has set penalties for dooring offences of $300 upon conviction and three demerit points.
Poor Road Conditions
Your town or city has the responsibility to maintain safe road conditions. Unsafe road conditions such as uneven pavement, improperly installed or maintained sewer covers, pot holes and ice on the road can put the cyclist at risk of sustaining serious injury.
Disobeying Road Safety Rules
Both car and cyclists must follow the rules of the road, which are set out and enforced by the Ministry of Transportation through local police forces. Common offences that result in injuries include speeding, distracted driving, not maintaining a one-meter passing distance when passing a cyclist, failing to obey stop or yield signs or failing to look before making turns.
Time of Day
Many injuries happen during the late afternoon and evening when commuter traffic is heavier by both vehicles and cyclists. This is also a time when visibility is reduced as it’s getting darker outside resulting in increased cycling accidents.
Derek Wilson is a Bike Accident Injury Lawyer Who Can Help You Seek Compensation
Those injured in a cycling accident could be entitled to accident benefits, and as an experienced personal injury firm I can help you with your claim under your own insurance plan or the driver’s insurance plan.
Accident benefits are meant to provide an immediate source of relief and recovery available for those involved in any type of motor vehicle accident regardless of fault and includes compensation for:
- Home attendant and nursing care benefits;
- Medical and rehabilitation care and services, including physical therapy and other types of therapy, equipment and vocational training;
- Home accessibility modifications and vehicle modifications;
- Income replacement benefits (IRB) if you are unable to work;
- Non-earner benefits;
- Housekeeping, home maintenance and caregiver expenses if you sustained catastrophic injuries or you have purchased this coverage;
- Funeral and death benefits.
If your accident was not your fault, as a bicycle accident law firm can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and financial losses from at-fault parties, including:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses not covered by your own insurance;
- Financial losses such as lost income and benefits, lost earning capacity and loss of opportunity;
- Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Compensation for family members affected by your injuries.
My priority is to ensure that you get the proper medical treatment necessary to recover after the accident and I pursue fair compensation for my clients’ damages.
Information to Obtain After a Bicycle Accident
Many cyclists in accidents don’t end up getting the information they need to either file an insurance claim or a lawsuit. So first off, if there are any injuries (even minor ones), call the police. You are more likely to get all the necessary information about the driver of the vehicle if the police attend.
For minor collisions, the police may instruct you to report to a collision reporting centre (CRC), rather than attending the scene themselves. This makes it even more important to record all the necessary information.
Get the Necessary Accident Information from the driver:
- Full name and driver’s license number.
- Telephone number for the driver.
- Driver’s insurance company and policy number – if you don’t have car insurance of your own, any injury claims for accident benefits might be filed under the driver’s policy.
- Witness information. This one is particularly important. If someone saw what happened, get their name and phone number in the event that follow up interviews will be needed with police or your bike accident lawyer.
If you have a phone, photograph the documents and the scene and jot down any details that you might forget. If you have been involved in a hit and run, and the driver is leaving the scene, get their license plate number.
Avoid Filing Your Own Insurance Claims
Filing an insurance claim for injuries is not an easy thing at the best of times, particularly as a cyclist. Under Ontario’s no-fault insurance system, if you have car insurance, you will claim first under that. If you don’t, you can claim under the insurance policy of the driver who hit you.
It gets more complicated if you have no car insurance and the driver doesn’t remain at the scene and is not discovered later. A hit and run, or a collision where there is no available insurance means you may have recourse for injury claims to the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVACF), but there is a cap on these claims. As such, the more information you have about the accident and the driver of the vehicle, the better.
Road Rules for Cyclists
People of all ages can ride a bike, and bikes do no require a driver’s license or insurance to operate them. However, as a cyclist you do need to be aware of some of the cycling law. For instance you must share the road with others (e.g., cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, etc.). Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a bicycle is a vehicle, just like a car or truck and cyclists must obey all traffic laws and you have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers.
Helmets can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide. By law:
- Every cyclist under the age of 18 must wear an approved safety helmet;
- Riders under the age of 16, a parent or guardian must make sure their child wears a helmet;
- Adults over 18 years of age, helmets are not compulsory
Tips for Cyclists on Staying Safe
The Ontario Cycling Association wrote an article on How to Stay Safe As Daylight Dwindles. This article speaks in depth about some common sense tips that you can put into place to reduce your risk of an injury. These include:
- Plan the safest route / trail
- Get a front light and a rear light
- Wear reflective items
- Make a route plan and stick to it
- Share your location permanently
- Bring the right gear
- Be aware of the street and vehicles around you
Motor-Assisted Bikes: Electric Bicycles, Scooters and Mopeds
An electric bicycle, known as an e-bike, is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery.
What’s the difference between an e-bike and an electric scooter or a moped? E-bikes, like mopeds and electric scooters, provide economical transportation. But, e-bikes require you to pedal. In Ontario, an e-bike can not have an electric motor exceeding 500 Watts, a maximum speed of 32 km/hour, a maximum weight of 120 kg.
In Ontario, it’s illegal to modify your e-bike’s motor to make it more powerful or to increase its speed. You do not need a license or vehicle permit to ride an e-bike, but you must be 16 years or older, wear an approved bicycle or motorcycle helmet and keep your e-bike in good repair. You also need to follow the same rules of the road as cyclists.
Scooters and Mopeds in Ontario are classified as Limited-Speed Motorcycles which will require you to have a driver’s license and insurance to drive them.
Does a cyclist need vehicle insurance to sue for injuries?
No, if you do no have vehicle insurance then under Ontario’s insurance system you can sue for benefits and compensation under the insurance policy of the driver who hit you.
What is Ontario’s statue of limitations for bike accidents?
Ontario has a two-year statute of limitations for bicycle injuries. This is the time in which your case must filed in court. Even though you may have plenty of time before your time limit is up, it’s important to speak to personal injury lawyers who can help guide you through the process from day one; helping to insure that the proper groundwork is laid out for your claim.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured or seriously injured in a bicycle accident, due to a motorist’s negligence by car, truck, bus, or motorcycle, etc. you may be entitled to fair compensation. For a consultation with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Hamilton, call Derek Wilson Personal Injury Law at 905-769-0418 or fill out a freeConsultation Form.
As an established accident lawyer with a dedicated legal team whose focus is to help you and your family recover fair compensation. I will always have your best interest in mind. We will work hard so you and your family members can receive the help you need. Our practice focuses only on injury claims including slip and falls, car accident including accident benefits, brain injury / concussions, pedestrian accidents, spinal cord injuries, wrongful death, dog attacks and denied long-term disability claims.
At my law office, I can help you navigate your injury case with the insurance company because it’s all I do. My personal injury practice truly cares about your well-being and I understand that the road to recovery is often long and filled with pain and suffering. Insurance companies in Canada can be difficult to deal with on your own, which is why my bicycle injury law firm is prepared to take all reasonable steps to proceed with your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
My team and I are passionate about what we do and have assisted many individuals across Ontario in recovering fair settlements.
Don’t suffer in silence – call my law office today for your free consultation.
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