In spite of significant advances in bicycle safety initiatives – including everything from general awareness to specially demarcated lanes – cycling’s growing popularity has resulted in a spike in related injuries in recent years. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, bicycles were involved in 2,500-plus collisions resulting in personal injury in 2010, the last year such data was provided.* More people are now injured in bicycle related collisions than in those involving motorcycles and mopeds.
In any circumstance, financial compensation may be available to injured cyclists. The injured cyclist should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to help assess their claim, and to obtain financial compensation the cyclist would be legally entitled to. The specific claim to be pursued, and the role of a personal injury lawyer in pursuing the cyclist’s claim depend on several factors, some of which are discussed below.
Collisions between Cyclists and Motor Vehicles
Where a claim is pursued by an injured cyclist against a motor vehicle driver, the legal onus rests with the motor vehicle driver to prove that they were not in the wrong. In any case, including where the cyclist is 100% at fault, the cyclist will be entitled to compensation from either their own motor vehicle insurer or the insurer of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
What remains at issue in such claims however, is the amount of compensation available to the cyclist. An injured cyclist can retain an experienced personal injury lawyer in such circumstances to advocate on their behalf, and bolster their claim for maximum compensation.
Cases Involving Unidentified, Uninsured or Underinsured Motor Vehicles
There are legal remedies available to cyclists injured in instances involving unidentified, uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle drivers. Injured cyclists are entitled in many such circumstances to compensation from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. The final amount of compensation remains an issue however, with a not-at-fault cyclist being able to file tort and accident benefit claims against the Fund for compensation.
Cases Not Involving Other Motor Vehicles, Or Other Parties
A cyclist who is injured as a result of unsafe route conditions – unfinished surfaces, haphazardly placed obstacles – may have a legal claim for financial compensation against whomever is responsible for the state of that property. These are unique cases, often not obvious to the untrained eye.
Cyclists harmed in such situations are advised to immediately follow-up any medical treatment with a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to help them assess the situation, and where appropriate, to start building a case against those responsible.