Compensation for Cyclists Involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A cyclist who is involved in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to the same compensation that passengers injured in a car accident are eligible for. Compensation may be attained via the mandatory accident benefits claim or by filing a tort claim. Under the laws in Ontario, a cyclist can both claim the mandatory benefits and also sue the driver at fault to get compensation.
Accident Benefits Claim
Under the Ontario legislation, every automobile insurance policy is mandated to provide accident benefits coverage which is defined and regulated by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. This means that the cyclists can claim the mandatory accident benefits from their auto insurance company even if they weren’t using their car at the time of the accident. If the injured cyclists have no auto insurance, then they can make the claim at the automobile insurance company of the driver at fault. If none of those involved in the accident have an auto insurance policy, the claim can be made at the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Fund which is administered by the provincial government.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident, you may be able to claim income replacement benefits, non-earner benefits, caregiver benefits, medical and rehabilitation benefits not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), attendant care benefits, expenses of visitors, and housekeeping and home maintenance benefits.
In making a claim, the cyclist must inform the automobile insurance company within seven days from the date of the accident. They will send out an application package which the cyclist must complete and file within 30 days upon receipt of the forms. If the person injured on their bicycle cannot make a claim within this timeframe, he or she must have a valid reason.
Should the claim be denied, the cyclist may dispute it by filing an application for mediation at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario within two years from the date of refusal. Pending a resolution, the injured cyclist may file an application for arbitration with the Commission within two years of the refusal to pay the benefit or within 90 days of the date of the report of the mediator. Or, the cyclist can file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
On top of claiming the mandatory accident benefits, an injured cyclist can also sue the driver at fault. The lawsuit can claim damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities, past and future loss of income, loss of household and handyperson capacity and future cost of care.
The person who sustained injuries while riding their bicycle must notify the driver at fault that he or she intends to file a claim within 120 days from the date of the accident and then he or she has two years to file the lawsuit.
Family Law Act
The cyclist’s close family members can also file a claim through the Family Law Act. They can make a claim for loss of guidance, care and companionship; the value of nursing, housekeeping and other services the family member has performed or will perform for or on behalf of the injured person; loss of income and reasonable expenses incurred on behalf of the injured person.
If the cyclist was killed as a result of the accident, his or her family can file a claim for loss of guidance, care and companionship; loss of shared family income; loss of the value of household and handyman services the deceased performed; funeral expenses and other expenses related to the death.
If you have been injured in a car accident while riding your bicycle it is important to act quickly to ensure that time limitations do not prevent you from claiming the compensation you deserve. Contact us at Deutschmann Law, we can explain your rights in plain English and advise you on the best course to follow.