Doored? Cyclists Injured by Cars can access Benefits and Compensation

Cycling in the city can be great. It’s often faster than public transit or driving, environmentally friendly, and it can do wonders for your fitness. Unfortunately, when it comes to navigating traffic and parked cars, it can also be very dangerous.

In Hamilton, cyclist-car collisions have hovered around an annual average of 160 for a decade.1 This number includes incident with no injuries. In Toronto the statistics are even more grim. Between 2008 and 2018, there were an average of 52 serious or fatal collisions involving cyclists per year.2

While collisions between cyclists and cars are unfortunately common, what’s not commonly known is that cyclists can access car insurance benefits regardless of who is at fault for the collision. These benefits are no-fault car insurance benefits, called Accident Benefits. They provide coverage for medical and rehabilitation treatments and services not covered by OHIP, such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, concussion rehabilitation, and prescription medications. If you can’t work as a result of your collision-related injuries, there may also be an income replacement benefit available to partially cover your lost wages.

Accident Benefits are provincially mandated so that anyone injured by a car, including cyclists who don’t have their own auto insurance policy, have access to coverage. The insurance company that will be responsible for paying your Accident Benefits will depend your particular situation. For example, if you or your spouse has car insurance, then even though your vehicle wasn’t involved in the incident, your Accident Benefits would be handled by your own insurer. On the other hand, if you don’t have access to any other car insurance policy, then your Accident Benefits file would be the responsibility of the auto insurer for the car that was involved in your incident. If you’re not sure what insurance company to contact, don’t worry about it. If you reach out to any car insurer related to you or the incident, they should open your file, and then sort out behind the scenes which is the proper insurance company responsible for your claim.

In addition to Accident Benefits, depending on how your incident occurred and the severity of your injuries, you may also be able to get compensation through a lawsuit against the driver of the car involved in the collision. Hopefully, if you are a pedestrian or a cyclist injured by a car, the law presumes that it was the car’s fault. For example, this means that if your injured by someone opening a car door directly in your path without warning, it would be responsibility of the driver of the car to prove that they acted reasonably in the circumstances, while you would only have to prove that the collision occurred and what your injuries are. Unfortunately, not as helpful, are other laws often referred to as the Threshold and Deductible. Without getting into the nitty gritty, these laws make it can make it difficulty for all those, except those with the most serious injuries, to get significant compensation from car collisions. Read more about the Threshold and Deductible.

Overall, the important take away for cyclists is that if you are injured by a car, there are benefits available to you. If you are unsure of the next steps to access those benefits or if you have questions about whether you can pursue a lawsuit in your circumstances, reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

Written by

Andrew is a lawyer with Findlay Lawyers practicing in Hamilton and Brantford. He is committed to advocating on behalf of individuals who have been injured or otherwise harmed. At Findlay Lawyers he loves being part of a team that focuses not just on his clients’ lawsuits but also on maximizing their medical recovery. Andrew takes pride in getting to know his clients and securing them the compensation they deserve.

Andrew attended law school at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law. In addition to his law degree, Andrew hold an Honours Degree in History from the University of Toronto, where he graduated with High Distinction. Andrew was called to the Bar in 2014 and is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and the Hamilton Law Association.