September 25, 2023, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
Cycling is a popular mode of transportation and recreation in Ontario, known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant cities. However, when cyclists are involved in motor vehicle accidents, understanding their rights to compensation is crucial. In this article, we will explore the avenues available to cyclists in Ontario for seeking compensation after a motor vehicle accident, including accident benefits claims, tort claims, and other legal options.
Accident Benefits Claim
Ontario's legislation mandates that every automobile insurance policy includes accident benefits coverage, regulated by the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. What's significant for cyclists is that they can claim these benefits even if they weren't using their car at the time of the accident. If the injured cyclist does not have auto insurance, they can make a claim with the automobile insurance company of the driver at fault. In cases where none of the parties involved have auto insurance, the claim can be directed to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims (MVAC) Fund, administered by the provincial government.
The range of benefits that injured cyclists can claim includes:
1. Income Replacement Benefits:If you are unable to work due to your injuries.
2. Non-Earner Benefits: If you're not employed or self-employed, you may still be eligible.
3. Caregiver Benefits: If you were the primary caregiver for someone before the accident.
4. Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits: Covering expenses not included in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
5. Attendant Care Benefits: To assist with daily activities.
6. Expenses of Visitors* For those who come to help you during recovery.
7. Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits: To help maintain your home during your recovery.
When making a claim, it is crucial to notify your automobile insurance company within seven days of the accident. They will send you an application package, which must be completed and filed within 30 days of receipt. However, if you cannot meet these timelines, it's essential to have a valid reason for the delay.
In cases where a claim is denied, cyclists have several options. They can file for mediation at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario within two years of the denial. If mediation does not result in a resolution, an application for arbitration can be filed with the Commission within two years of the benefit denial or within 90 days of the mediator's report. Alternatively, a cyclist can choose to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
In addition to the mandatory accident benefits, an injured cyclist also has the option to sue the driver at fault through a tort claim. This lawsuit can seek damages for:
1. Pain and Suffering: Compensating for physical and emotional distress.
2.Loss of Enjoyment of Life and Amenities: Reflecting the impact on your quality of life.
3. Past and Future Loss of Income: Covering lost wages and future earning capacity.
4. Loss of Household and Handyperson Capacity: If you can no longer perform tasks you used to.
5. Future Cost of Care: Anticipated expenses for medical care and support.
To initiate a tort claim, the injured cyclist must notify the at-fault driver of their intent to file a claim within 120 days of the accident. After this notification, there is a two-year window to formally file the lawsuit.
Family Law Act
Close family members of the injured cyclist also have the option to file a claim under the Family Law Act. They can seek compensation for:
1. Loss of Guidance, Care, and Companionship: Reflecting the emotional and familial impact.
2. Value of Nursing, Housekeeping, and Other Services: Compensation for services provided or to be provided on behalf of the injured person.
3. Loss of Income: Covering income that would have been shared with the family member.
4. Reasonable Expenses: Expenses incurred on behalf of the injured person.
In the tragic event of a cyclist's death due to the accident, their family can file a claim for:
1. Loss of Guidance, Care, and Companionship: Reflecting the emotional loss.
2. Loss of Shared Family Income: Compensating for the financial impact on the family.
3. Value of Household and Handyman Services: Reflecting the tasks the deceased performed.
4. Funeral Expenses: Covering the costs of laying their loved one to rest.
5. Other Related Expenses: Expenses directly related to the death.
If you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident while cycling in Ontario, it's crucial to act promptly to secure the compensation you deserve. Consulting with legal experts, such as those at Deutschmann Law, is essential. They can guide you through the process, explaining your rights and helping you determine the best course of action. Remember, whether through accident benefits claims, tort claims, or other legal avenues, cyclists have options for seeking compensation to aid in their recovery and ensure justice is served.