A recent decision in Ontario will help injured cyclists obtain insurance benefits when they crash due to parked cars.
Marilena DiMarco was riding her bicycle in a town that had closed its main street for a festival. She was forced onto a sidewalk, which was partially blocked by a parked van. DiMarco tried to avoid the van, lost her balance and fell, hitting the van with her hand in the process. She was seeking auto insurance benefits to help her in her recovery. The auto insurer was denying entitlement because the crash was not connected to an automobile.
In the decision DiMarco and Chubb Insurance Company, arbitrator Deborah Pressman accepted that the incident arose directly from the “use or operation” of an automobile as defined in the Insurance Act and Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS). This allowed Ms. Di Marco to claim benefits for her injuries.
Arbitrator Pressman stated “This automobile set in motion a chain of events directly resulting in Ms. DiMarco’s fall from the bicycle. There was no intervening act that caused Ms. DiMarco to fall. There were no other impediments around the automobile or near Ms. DiMarco.”
“Therefore, there was a direct and proximate cause between the ‘use or operation’ of the automobile and Ms. DiMarco’s injuries.”