Written By: Patrick Brown and Lori Khaouli
During the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, more and more people in Ontario are taking to cycling and enjoying the freedom that cycling brings. Unfortunately, infrastructure and traffic laws have failed to protect cyclists and ensure their safe passage on roadways. As a result, far too many of us are injured in collisions involving cars. It is important to know that you have rights to benefits that are there to help you and your family when recovering from personal injuries due to a motor vehicle crash.
In Ontario, if you are injured in a crash involving a motor vehicle, you are entitled to No-Fault Benefits (Statutory Accident Benefits). As the name suggests, you may receive these benefits even if you are at fault. Many cyclists and pedestrians don’t realize that they are entitled to these benefits whenever a vehicle is involved in the crash, including doorings. If a car is involved and no contact is made, you may still be entitled to benefits.
Which Benefits are Available to You?
There are several key benefits available to injured crash victims under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule:
- Medical Benefits: To help you pay for expenses arising from the crash, including medical treatment, required medications, dental, ambulance, and other treatment as necessary.
- Rehabilitation Benefits: To aid in reducing the effects of the injury, such as home modification, physiotherapy, and chiropractic care.
- Income Replacement Benefits: To replace your lost income from being unable to return to work.
- Attendant Care Benefits: If you require assistance after the crash, this benefit will compensate for an attendant, aide, or long-term care facility.
- Caregiver Benefit: If you are a primary caregiver in your household and are injured, this benefit compensates for the cost of hiring someone to help.
Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to other benefits including housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, death and funeral benefits, and even lost educational expenses.
How Can You Make a Claim for Accident Benefits?
As a cyclist or pedestrian injured in an accident involving a car, you can make a claim for benefits through your auto insurance policy. If you do not have auto insurance, a claim can be made through the policy of the driver involved in the collision.
When making a claim for accident benefits, the insurance company must be notified within 7 days of the crash in question. The insurance company will provide an Application for Accident Benefits package which must be completed and returned within 30 days.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
As vulnerable road users, it is important for cyclists and pedestrians to be aware of their rights when they are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Consulting a lawyer is not necessary to make an application for benefits, it can be made by you. However, if you suffer serious injuries, we do recommend that you consult a personal injury lawyer as you may have additional rights, and you may need to consider a lawsuit against the driver for additional compensation due to the harm they caused you. If you are not sure, feel free to give us a call. Our advice is free.