It’s hot. That means more people are outside doing “outdoorsey” stuff like hiking, cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding.
The activities are suppose to be fun and safe. But sometimes things can go wrong. And when they do, our law firm usually hears about it.
Accidents whereby skateboarders, cyclists and rollerbladers are hit by cars are usually very serious. Want to know why?
The average weight of a large car is over 4,000 pounds! The average weight of a Canadian male is 177 pounds.
So if a 4,000 pound car strikes a 177 pound man, who do you think is going to come out of that collision worse for wear? The human body isn’t equipped to take on hits from thousands of pounds car. Injuries will ensue. And very serious injuries at that.
Here’s what a few people don’t know about these sort of cases:
- The cyclist, skateboarder or rollerblader is able to make a claim for accident benefits through car insurance after they’ve been involved in a collision with a car or motorcycle.
- Those accident benefits are payable by your own car insurance company. This seems totally unfair because your own car was NOT involved in the accident, and you aren’t at fault. Then why should your own car insurer have to pay for the damages caused by another driver!?!?! Unfortunately, that’s just the way our backward system of no fault accident benefit insurance works in Ontario.
- In the event the cyclist, rollerblader or skateboarder had no car insurance at the time of the motor vehicle accident, then the at fault driver’s car insurance company has to pay for those no fault accident benefits.
- In the event that the cyclist, rollerblader or skateboarder had no car insurance at the time of the motor vehicle accident, AND the at fault driver was driving illegally without car insurance, AND there is no other source of car insurance available to either the Plaintiff or Defendant; then the Ontario Government will intervene through the Motor Vehicle Accidents Claims Fund (“The Fund“).
- Standard auto insurance policy limits in Ontario are $1,000,000. Optional insurance can be purchased to increase those limits. But, when there is no car insurance and the Ontario Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund needs to get involved, those limits decrease dramatically to just $200,000. I’m surprised that the Ford Government has not taken the initiative to reduce those limits as they’ve done unilaterally without consultation as they have with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board when limits were reduced from $25,000 down to just $5,000. Because this is what “The People” wanted. Reducing the rights of the most seriously injured accident victims and victims of crime became a priority.
- Failure to make an accident benefit claim within 30 days from the date of the car accident may result in benefits getting denied. Although failure to make or the report a claim is not an absolute bar to recovering accident benefits.
- Accident Benefits will cover such things as physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic care, psychological counselling, occupational therapy, and any other reasonable and necessary treatment which is not covered by OHIP
- Accident Benefits can pay for your out of pocket expenses, prescription medication and in some cases, may even extend for medicinal cannabis costs which aren’t covered by OHIP or by a private insurance plan.
- Accident Benefits can also pay up to $400/week in an Income Replacement Benefit or up to $185/week in a Non Earner Benefit
- You will NOT receive any accident benefits, if you don’t claim them. If you do nothing, you will get nothing. Insurance companies bank on you not knowing how the laws work, or how the system works to minimize their exposure in paying out the benefits you deserve.
Here are some other observations which our lawyers at Goldfinger Injury Lawyers have noticed over the years:
- The police don’t like skateboarders. I know this is a gross generalization, but from what we’ve seen, it’s true. We just had a case where a skateboarder was run off the road and broke his leg, and the police didn’t even interview any of the witnesses to the accident! On what planet does this happen. Had the same thing happen to an 80 year old woman, the police work would have been different. But because the accident happened to a teenage male riding his skateboard, it would seem like good police work goes out the door. Ageism along with anti-skateboard mentality at work.
- In many cases, the police won’t share the name, contact information or insurance information of the at fault motorist with you, unless you specifically ask for it! This is wrong. Because as discussed, in order to claim accident benefits if you have no car insurance, you need the at fault party’s car insurance information. What this does is slow down your access to accident benefits which are most important immediately following a serious car accident. In some cases you have to almost beg the police officer for this information. It can be like pulling teeth. Other times, the police insist that you make a Freedom of Information Request. This can take many weeks (or months) to process. In that wait period, you are NOT receiving accident benefits and thereby NOT getting the treatment you need to recover. This is wrong, but it’s a very common practice among police officers and police forces. Believe it or not, the Toronto Police Force along with York Regional Police actually do a very good job compared to some forces in Southwestern and Eastern Ontario at providing this information in very brief one page summary. This is NOT the same as an accident report. It’s merely a one page occurrence report of the parties involved, the makes and models of the vehicles, charges laid, along with the insurance information of the parties involved. In the case of York Regional Police, that information is contained on a three fold leaflet and also contains the business card or contact information of the investigating officer in case you need to reach him or her regarding the car accident. This is a fantastic idea and all of our personal injuries lawyers wish this system were more widely adopted by other police forces across Ontario.