Warm weather is back in the Maritimes and bicycles are back out on the roads. As avid cyclists, we couldn’t be happier that so many people are enjoying their bikes, but sharing the road with cars can be risky.
Every car has blind spots that make seeing a cyclist more difficult.
Many drivers aren’t looking for cyclists in the roadway, nor are many drivers prepared for bike lanes or hazards that cyclists may experience on their route. Potholes or illegally parked cars may require a cyclist to weave their bicycle closer to the middle of the road.
No matter where you drive your car or ride your bicycle, you’re bound to share the road with other road users – each one with their vulnerabilities. If you’re riding your bike and you’re injured in an accident with a car, call an experienced bicycle accident lawyer.
According to Halifax Regional Police, there have already been three crashes involving bicycles and cars in Halifax this year.
Sadly, in most collisions between a bike and a car it is the cyclist who most often sustains the most serious injuries regardless of who was at fault.
Whether or not you have a personal injury claim following a bicycle accident depends on who was at fault for the collision.
When assessing fault for the accident, an experienced bicycle accident lawyer will consider the legislation governing the rules of the road. Remember, fault determination rules used to determine property damage for motor vehicle accidents are not used to decide who can bring a personal injury claim. It’s always a good idea to consult a personal injury lawyer with experience doing bicycle accident claims before deciding how to proceed.
Available Sources of Compensation
The biggest question in an accident like this is, who pays for damage or personal injury? In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI all motor vehicles must be insured. The purpose of car insurance is to protect drivers against claims brought against them due to their negligence. Cyclists, on the other hand, are not legally obligated to have insurance to use the road. This does not however, excuse cyclists from following the rules of the road.
No matter who is at fault for the collision, both drivers and cyclists are covered under a ‘no-fault’ insurance scheme when there is a collision. no-fault benefits, also known as Accident Benefits, provide coverage for medical and rehabilitative benefits. The no-fault benefits provider will be the car insurer who insured the vehicle involved in the accident. The coverage is limited and only intended to help you recover from your injuries – not to compensate you for your pain and suffering, economic loss, or long-term medical care costs.
Protect Your Bicycle Accident Claim
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident where there is any injury (even small cuts and bruises), or damage to property, you should call the police. Often, injury victims do not realize the severity of their injuries until hours or even days have passed following the collision. It’s important to get a police report as it will include the officer’s comments about the accident along with information about the vehicle involved in the accident. The police report may also include information from one or more witnesses. Remember that it is the responsibility of the injury victim to gather evidence to support their claim. The police report, along with witness statements, photos, and other information about the collision can make all the difference when it comes time to have an insurance company consider your demand for compensation.
In the event of a bicycle collision with a motor vehicle, the cyclist can advance a claim for the damage to their bicycle, along with damage to any equipment and clothing. The main claim advanced will be the personal injury claim. A personal injury claim will consider the damages and losses experienced by the person following an accident. It must consider the short and long term consequences of the accident on the person. For example, if you are riding your bike and a car hits you from behind, you can proceed with a claim against that driver through their insurer.
What if the driver of the car doesn’t have insurance?
If the driver is uninsured, or if the accident is a hit and run, there is no insurance company to contact. This situation will generate additional challenges for the injury victim. It is best to contact the police right away to report the accident. The police will investigate the accident and may be able to locate the at-fault driver. It may be that the driver was insured and was attempting to escape responsibility for the accident. If the police find the driver, you will be provided with the car’s insurance information. In either case, a claim can be made to the company that insured the vehicle at the time of the accident.
In the case that the driver cannot be found or the car is truly uninsured, a claim can be brought to the insurer of last resort; the Facility Association. The Facility Association will assume the position of the uninsured driver. Once the claim is settled or an award is made at trial, the Facility Association will attempt to recoup the money they paid from the uninsured driver.
Why Hire A Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Filing a claim for personal injuries after a bicycle accident can be complex and intimidating. Don’t expect them to just cut you a check. They have the resources to fight and will likely try to pay you as little money as possible.
In addition to being a personal injury lawyer, Jeff Mitchell is an avid cyclist and triathlete. He knows the real-world factors that lead to a bicycle accident. Jeff’s approach ensures that injury victims’ rights are respected and their claims for compensation are advanced with precision.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, call NOVA Injury Law to arrange your free case review today! During the free case review process, you’ll learn about the law that applies to your case, how much your claim may be worth, and how a bicycle accident lawyer can work with you to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.