Halifax Bicycle Accident Lawyers Fighting for the Rights of People Injured on Bicycles
As avid cyclists and veteran bicycle accident lawyers, we know riding a bike is not just a fun way to get outside and be active; it’s also a great way to incorporate exercise into your daily commute. Plus, biking is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Also, with the current rules around social distancing, more people are using cycling as a way to get out of the house.
While it is a great low-impact activity, cycling is not without its risks. Some people find that the roads are not especially friendly to cyclists, whether that means careless motorists and pedestrians or poor networks of dedicated paths, trails, and bike lanes. And much like motorcyclists, the lack of protection offered to a cyclist by their vehicles can bring them into direct contact with the road and other vehicles during an accident, greatly increasing the cyclist’s risk for serious injuries or death.
Accidents happen. Local cyclist Jeff Mitchell of NOVA Injury Law is the bicycle accident lawyer who is uniquely equipped to help cyclists get fair compensation. Jeff and Dr. Laura Mitchell, Chief Medical Consultant, build air-tight cases from day 1. Our law firm helps victims of accidents and injuries resulting from collisions with cars or pedestrians, doors, and poor or faulty infrastructure such as potholes.
Our team works closely with Dr. Mitchell on injury cases and takes the time to gather, interpret, and present all relevant medical evidence pertaining to your case. They use that information to craft a specific strategy unique to every case. They detail the facts surrounding the bicycle accident and gather any eyewitness accounts. As with car accident and medical malpractice victims, Jeff, Laura, and the NOVA Injury Law team help all injured cyclists get access to medical and rehabilitative care to aid in their recovery.
As an experienced bicycle accident injury lawyer, Jeff Mitchell helps injured cyclists obtain the bicycle accident compensation they deserve in a quick and efficient manner. Contact NOVA Injury Law today for a free case review at 902-706-5205.
What Road Rules Apply to Me While Cycling?
According to the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists when riding on the road. When everyone fully follows the same set of rules and pays attention to their surroundings, the chance of a collision is greatly reduced.
Cyclists should always be clearly visible and predictable in their behavior. Ride on the right side of the road with the flow of traffic. Use as much of the lane as you need to be safe from roadside hazards. And remember, cyclists should always use hand signals to indicate a turn or a stop.
Drivers must watch for cyclists and adequately make room for them. Bicyclists need to ride at least 1 metre away from parked cars to avoid being hit if a door suddenly opens. Bicyclists also need to avoid potholes and debris and pass double-parked cars. Bicyclists may occupy as much of the lane as their safety requires.
What Are Some Tips for Avoiding Bicycle Accidents?
Just like motor vehicle operators, cyclists are expected to follow the rules of the road, be alert to their surroundings, and communicate their intentions to other motorists. A cyclist can help remain in compliance with these rules by wearing proper safety gear and reflective clothing while also considering the following:
Ride a Straight Course – Don’t weave between parked or stalled cars and remain in a place that is visible. Otherwise, a motorist may lose sight of you, and there could be a collision if you suddenly pop out into traffic again. Stay at least one metre from parked cars to avoid suddenly opening doors.
Look Behind You – Learn to scan the traffic behind you without swerving quickly. A rear-view mirror for your bike helps to view traffic. However, a lane change still requires a look behind, which also signals your intention to motorists.
Be Careful at Intersections – Intersections can be dangerous for cyclists. At a four-way stop, it is important for cyclists to remain in line with the flow of traffic and to wait their turn. Right-turn lanes are for traffic that is making a turn; don’t go into a turn lane if you are going to travel straight ahead. At intersections, cyclists should signal their intent to turn or stop to other motorists with hand signals.
What Factors Could Affect My Bicycle Accident Claim?
As with any injury case, the final settlement amount is tied to the nature and severity of the injuries and the impact on the victim’s life, along with several other factors related to the nature of the accident itself.
In some cases, the at-fault driver may argue that the cyclist shares the blame for their own injuries if the cyclist failed to take reasonable steps to look out for their own safety. If the cyclist is found to have contributed to the accident, the court can reduce the damages awarded. Some questions the driver’s lawyer will try to answer are:
- Were you wearing a helmet? Would it have made any difference in preventing your injury?
- Were you “distracted riding” or wearing earbuds while riding so that you couldn’t hear traffic horns?
- Did you break the law while riding? For example, blow through a stop sign or red light?
- Were you adequately visible to drivers?
If you have been injured on a bicycle, it’s important to talk to a bicycle accident lawyer right away. If you are contacted by the other party’s lawyer, it is recommended that you refrain from speaking with them without legal representation present. If you have already retained the legal services of a bicycle accident lawyer, you may tell the other party that they may speak with your Halifax personal injury lawyer if they have questions.
What Do I Do if I’m Involved in a Bicycle Accident?
If you’re involved in an accident on your bike, try to stay calm and gather as much information as you can from the driver who hit you and any witnesses. Be sure to collect their name whole name, their phone number, and their insurance information if they were involved in the accident. If you are seriously injured, don’t worry about this step. The priority is always to attend to your injuries. Always seek immediate medical attention if you feel you have been injured during an accident.
- If an ambulance takes you to the hospital, focus on your recovery while you’re there.
- If your injuries are not serious enough to go to the hospital, don’t offer an apology to the driver, and don’t discuss who was “at fault.” Any statements made like this could affect your claim.
- If you’ve got your phone, take a photo of the driver’s license plate, the car, the damage to your bike, the accident scene, and your injuries.
- Don’t leave the scene until the police arrive. Get the accident report number.
Remember to get some legal advice before you talk to your insurance company. Most personal injury law firms, including NOVA Injury Law, offer a free consultation. You should take advantage of that. It is recommended that you do not speak with the insurance representative or lawyer for the other party involved if they contact you. You are not required to speak with them. If you have retained a lawyer at this stage, you may tell them to speak with your lawyer.
What is a Fair Settlement Amount for My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
To get a good idea of the compensation that might be available to you, it is best to take a step back and consider all the ways your injury has affected you and those around you physically, mentally, and logistically. Factors to consider include:
- The nature and severity of your injury
- Who was at fault in the bicycle accident
- What treatment have you received and will need in the future
- The impact that injury has on your ability to work
- The impact the injury has on your daily activities such as housework or hobbies
- The ways friends and family support you in your injury
After considering these factors, you can begin to calculate damages. Damages are essentially the quantification of the harm caused by your injury. Damages are intended to compensate you such that you are put back into your original position had the injury not occurred. Bicycle accidents will vary widely due to how exposed the bike rider is to the road and other vehicles.
An injury of any kind can affect your life in all sorts of ways beyond the pain and discomfort from the injury itself. Physical symptoms associated with bicycle accident injuries could range in severity and impact from something as small as a cut or scrape to broken bones to a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) or even death. Even if a cyclist has worn a helmet, they can still sustain a serious brain injury if they strike their head against the ground or a stationary object. Psychological and emotional injuries could include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a change in overall personality, or increased fear of cycling around other vehicles.
If the victim has suffered a serious injury, the effects of this may also be felt by their families or caregivers. People with severe bodily injuries or brain injuries may need additional assistance planning their day or completing day-to-day tasks, and this may affect their ability to continue working, placing potential financial strain on the family. It is recommended that you do not accept a settlement amount before first speaking with a legal professional, so you can be certain you’re getting the compensation you deserve.
What if I’ve Been Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
This scenario is one that many people worry about and is an example of an accident where people may not know what sort of compensation they would be able to access. In the event of a collision with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run, a cyclist’s own car insurance provider is required to step in with the benefits that the rider would have been able to receive from the negligent driver’s insurance (were it accessible). If you have been injured by an uninsured or absent driver and are unsure of how to go about securing benefits from your insurance company, a bike accident lawyer may be able to help.
But, even without any insurance, a cyclist can make a claim to Nova Scotia’s Facility Association. It exists to make sure nobody is left without compensation. While the Facility Association is a valuable safety net, there are some specific factors to consider when making a claim to this particular insurance provider. An experienced bicycle accident lawyer will be able to help you navigate applying for coverage via the Facility Association for your personal injury claim.
Other Common Questions About Local Bicycle Law
Is it illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk in Nova Scotia?
Under Nova Scotia law, cyclists are not permitted to ride on the sidewalks, and they must dismount when using marked pedestrian crosswalks. It is the law that all cyclists, regardless of age, wear a helmet in Nova Scotia. Drivers must leave at least one metre of space when passing a cyclist.
Is it illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in Nova Scotia?
Under Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act, it is mandatory for people of all ages to wear a helmet while cycling, skateboarding, scootering, in-line skating, or roller skating. Riding without a helmet risks a fine of $151.25 for a first offence. Parents can also risk fines if they allow their children under 16 to do ride without a helmet.
In addition to giving you a ticket, police have the power to seize your bike, skateboard, scooter, or in-line or roller skates, and keep them for up to 30 days.
Helmets must have an approved standards label- see the Motor Vehicle Acts helmet regulations for more info. The helmet must fit properly and have a securely fastened chin strap. People who can’t wear a helmet for medical or religious reasons can apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for a certificate of exemption, and should be able to produce the certificate if stopped by police.
Are you allowed to bike on the highway Nova Scotia?
Bicycles are permitted on 100-series highways unless the highway has posted signs reading “no bikes or slow moving vehicles”. Restricted highways include stretches of 111, 102, 103, and the Bedford Bypass. We recommend getting off the highway and onto the quieter roads whenever possible.
Call Our Halifax Office Today for Your Bicycle Injury Claim!
Aside from the free case review, the no-obligation consultation, and contingency fee agreement available for many types of claims, NOVA Injury Law is a proudly Nova Scotian law firm that offers something that other Atlantic Canadian firms do not – we are the only bicycle injury lawyers in Atlantic Canada with a doctor on the team.
Dr. Laura Mitchell is a practicing emergency room physician with special training in occupational medicine. Working directly with a knowledgeable medical professional allows the brain injury lawyers at NOVA Injury Law to properly support brain injury claims with the most complete, accurate, and convincing medical evidence that is gathered by a reputable consulting expert.
We understand how devastating it can be for you or a loved one to suffer a serious injury. Traumatic brain injuries and other severe injuries are serious conditions that can dramatically impact one’s ability to move, speak, work, and perform daily tasks without assistance. This can be devastating, both for the brain injury victim and their loved ones.
If you or one of your loved ones has been the victim of an accident while cycling, contact the veteran bicycle injury lawyers of NOVA Injury Law today. For more information or to set up an initial consultation, you can reach us by calling 902-706-5205. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to support you and your loved ones via email, text, Facebook messenger, and more.