I was hit by a car on my bike: what happens next?

Broken Bicycle on the side of a road

Cyclists, like drivers, are expected to obey the rules of the road including signalling, obeying traffic lights, and not riding in pedestrian crosswalks. When sharing a road with cars, cyclists run a risk of being struck by a vehicle and injured even when wearing the appropriate safety gear. However, unlike drivers, cyclists are not required to have insurance.

Despite this, you are not without legal recourse in the event of injury while cycling. In fact, in the event of a crash with a car, a cyclist is given significant legal protection and multiple avenues to ensure they can seek appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Each person’s situation is unique, but generally in a crash with a car, an injured cyclist can receive compensation from one of the following means:

  • the insurance of the car involved in the crash;
  • the cyclist’s own car insurance, or the car insurance of their spouse, or someone on whom they are dependent; or,
  • the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.

Claim for Compensation

When a vehicle hits and injures a cyclist, the cyclist can sue the driver and owner of the vehicle for compensation in the form of monetary damages.

In a typical claim, it is the injured person’s responsibility to demonstrate that someone else is responsible for their injury. However, when a cyclist is hit by a car, it is the driver of the car that must first prove that the collision did not arise from the driver’s negligence or improper conduct. In putting the responsibility on the driver to disprove improper conduct, the cyclist is given a significant legal advantage when seeking compensation for their injuries.

Once your claim against the driver is commenced, their insurance company will respond and cover the driver up to the policy limit. If a crash occurs and the at-fault driver did not have insurance, or left the scene and cannot be located, your damages can be covered by your own auto insurance or the car insurance of your spouse (or parents if you are a dependent), if that insurance includes the standard Family Protection Coverage OPCF-44R provision.

Should you not have access to personal or family insurance, the Ontario government would cover the damages as a last resort through the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund, but only to a maximum of $200,000.00 in compensation.

Insurance Benefits

A claim for insurance benefits is different than a claim for damages (compensation). When a rider is struck and injured by a car, regardless of fault, the rider is entitled to make a claim for automobile insurance benefits, including benefits for medical care, rehabilitation, lost income, or attendant care. Who pays the benefits depends on the circumstances of the accident.

Your own insurance has the responsibility of funding your benefits if you are injured in an accident. If you do not have personal car insurance, then any policy of auto insurance under which you are a listed driver would respond to the benefits claim. If you are not a listed driver, then your spouse’s insurance, or the insurance of anyone the cyclist might be dependent on would respond to the claim. If those options are not available, the insurance of the at-fault driver would be compelled to fund the benefits.

Finally, if the at-fault driver is not insured, or has driven away and their insurance information cannot be identified, the Ontario government would be the last resort for a claim, and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund would take over administration of the accident benefits claim.

Conclusion

Despite requirements to follow similar rules of the road, but not having to be insured, cyclists are given significant legal protection if they are struck by a car, and are provided with multiple avenues to ensure they can seek appropriate compensation for their injuries.

Maciek Piekosz
Written by

As an associate and civil litigator with Siskinds’ personal injury law group, Maciek aims to provide high quality legal services and focuses on making himself available and accessible to his clients. With a primary focus on personal injury cases and insurance disputes, his practice includes motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, injuries at work, assaults, tavern negligence, and long term disability benefit and pension disputes.

Prior to obtaining his Bachelor of Laws and his Honours Bachelor of Arts in history from Western University, Maciek was actively involved in practical dispute resolution exercises, advocacy skills training, and competing in appellate moots and mock trials. During his time at Western, Maciek was also a committed student orientation program volunteer and a relentless intramural sport participant.

Maciek moved to London, Ontario, in 1989 from Krasnik, Poland, and has since become a lifetime Londoner, developing strong ties to the City of London and Southwestern Ontario.