If you have been seriously hurt in a bicycle accident, a Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer can help. We have extensive experience in representing bicyclists that have been injured in bicycle accidents caused by the fault of other cars, taxis, trucks, vans or commercial vehicles. Bicyclists generally think of themselves as equal to other road traffic. However, that status is not usually assigned to them by other motorists.
People are on bikes are generally not considered a priority on the road. Bicycle accidents often lead to serious and catastrophic injuries – with a large percentage of injured victims being commuters and kids. From a fatality standpoint, not surprisingly, almost all riders killed in a bicycle accident (92%) happened as a result of crashes with a motor vehicle.
It is also not uncommon for cyclists to be injured in accidents involving street defects or other dangerous roadway circumstances such as uneven trip ledges, pot holes, negligently installed or missing manhole covers and sewer grates, temporary paving issues, or inadequately marked construction lanes and/or speed bumps.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bike accident in Hamilton and/or the surrounding areas, by a defective bicycle product, by another motorist, or by dangerous road conditions and would like to discuss your case with a Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer dedicated to protecting bicyclists’ rights, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.
It depends. If you have suffered a minor injury than probably not. We would recommend that you contact your insurance company and apply for no fault accident benefits. Your insurance company will provide you with medical and rehabilitation benefits to help you recover. However, if you have suffered a serious injury, or multiple injuries, then absolutely. It’s important that you contact a bicycle accident lawyer whose experience, who will be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of housekeeping capacity, cost for your care and medical bills as well as compensation for your family members.
Firstly, the unexpected and sudden loss of a loved one and a bicycle accident is brutally devastating. It’s important that you contact a bicycle accident lawyer who has expertise in wrongful death cases. Our bicycle accident lawyers will be able to recover out-of-pocket expenses and funeral costs immediately for you and your family to ease the financial burden. Then, we will obtain the compensation that you and your family deserve, including the lost wages of your loved one, dependent support, compensation for survivors and other economic and non-economic losses to help you and your family recover as best you are able.
The most common bicycle accident injury, by far, is brain trauma. Falls are a real hazard for bicyclists and you can reduce the potential for a traumatic brain injury if you wear a helmet. Other very common bicycle accident injuries are tibial plateau fractures, knee fractures, ankle fractures, spinal fractures, and hip fractures. Also, many bicycle accident victims often suffer lacerations, scarring and disfigurement.
You should contact a bicycle accident lawyer immediately. Is important to start the investigation early – but it’s also more important to hire a lawyer to help get insurance proceeds in place. The insurance scheme in Ontario is extremely complicated. It’s important that you hire a bicycle accident lawyer who has experience in representing bicycle accident victims, so that he or she could ensure that your discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation facility is properly funded, your home is ready for your arrival and the proper occupational therapists are in place, who will remain with you until the end of your case and longer. It’s absolutely crucial for many reasons that you hire a bicycle accident lawyer very early on in your case.
Compensation that you may be entitled to is dependent on the losses you have suffered. For example, if you have suffered very serious orthopedic injuries or head trauma, that prevents you from working, then your compensation would include past and future lost wages until your estimated statistical date of death. You can also claim damages for pain and suffering, loss of amenities, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to take care of your home, damages for health-care expenses not covered by OHIP, in damages for your family members whose relationship with you has been damaged because of your serious injuries.
Talking with our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers is always free. We never ask clients for money upfront, under any circumstances.
Bicycle accident lawyers charge what are called contingency fees – which means that fees that are charged are only based on a percentage of recovery.
In Ontario there are caps that are unfortunately placed on pain and suffering awards. A person who is injured can be awarded a current maximum of approximately $399,000.
Being hurt in a bike accident can no doubt lead to major life changes psychologically, physically and financially. Our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers have extensive experience representing victims who have hurt in cycling accidents. Although bike accidents are normally not the rider’s fault, cyclists in bicycle accidents do face an uphill battle and unique challenges under Ontario law, and more so with insurance companies. Over the past 15 years, our Hamilton bicycle accident injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for cyclists who have suffered serious injuries, from broken bones to catastrophic injuries.
Serious injuries in bicycle accidents are not uncommon. Being a smaller profile and riding unprotected, cyclists can be critically hurt if hit by any type of vehicle. Even if a car or truck is moving slowly and barely collides with a bicycle, the impact can still cause very serious and/or catastrophic injuries to the bicyclist. If a cyclist survives a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, it is not uncommon for cyclists to suffer serious injuries. Common bicycle accident injuries include:
It is very common for cycling victims to be unable to return to work following a serious bicycle accident. Although many working people have allocated time off with employer-paid sick days or vacation days, this is often not enough. A cyclist is entitled to income replacement benefits at a rate of up to $400.00 a week through his or her own insurance company (or the insurance company of the driver that hit them). However, again, this is not enough.
Some injured victims are lucky enough the be a part of a group plan or carry private short-term disability insurance. This may also help bridge the gap until they can apply for long-term disability, but again it may not be enough for a seriously hurt victim that faces the prospect of never returning to work.
A Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer can help you recover your lost income from the date of your accident to the date of your settlement or court verdict. This also includes your lost income to your expected retirement date.
Lost wages can also be framed as:
This is an answer often asked by many of our clients. The answer can be quite complicated. Personal injury damages that are awarded by trial or settlement are normally not claimed in a “lump sum” amount. When you make a bicycle accident injury claim against the driver that hit you or caused you harm, the damages paid to you are compensatory. This means that the damages (or money paid to you) is to financially compensate you, as the bicycle accident victim, for the losses you sustained. When you make a financial claim for personal injury compensation, the amount of money you claim is normally broken down into different claims to compensate your losses.
Compensation is divided into two major claims: economic and non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages are damages that compensate you for anything but your loss of wages. For example, non-economic damages would compensate you for your pain and suffering if you are hurt, for your loss of enjoyment of life, loss of life expectancy and/or loss of amenities.
There is no fixed standard in Canada for deciding the value of non-economic damages. In 2004, The British Columbia Court of Appeal released a case that gave us a clear breakdown of how an injury lawyer should calculate non-economic damages. The Court noted that:
The court also ruled that there are common factors that influence a victim’s awards. These are:
Economic damages are financial losses or expenses that you have suffered as a direct result of your bicycle accident and injuries. For example, you would be able to claim an economic loss if you are no longer able to work, you suffer a loss of income because you had to change jobs, or you were no longer able to apply for a certain promotion.
There is no doubt that helmets reduce the incidence of bicycle accident related brain injury. Twenty years ago, helmet use was much less common than it is today. For example, only 19% of riders wore helmets compared to overwhelming helmet use today. Bicycle helmets, however, do not guarantee that cyclists will survive a crash. They also do not guarantee that riders will not suffer a brain injury if involved in a very high impact collision.
In very serious accidents there is still the possibility of major stress transmission to the brain from substantial impact on the head. For example, if a cyclist is hit at high speed by a car, this can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of high impact trauma to the brain can which can result in a major concussion or open skull fracture. A jarring motion, such as a hard impact between the head and the pavement, or head and a vehicle, could also cause this. When this happens, acute brain injury may cause immediate and long-term consequences. These consequences will have an impact on a victim’s quality of life, such as permanent behavioral issues, cognitive problems, memory loss, word finding problems, major stutter, the inability to concentrate, sleep disorders and, in some cases, permanent disability or death.
Bicycle accident helmets, although they reduce the chance of injury, do not assure that riders will survive a crash. They also do not always prevent serious head injuries. An impact between the cyclist’s head and the ground or another vehicle is nearly inevitable if involved in a high speed or high impact crash.
One of the most prevalent causes of bicycling accidents arises from the physical position of the cyclist relative to the motor vehicle sharing the road with the cyclist.
Dooring accidents happen when a cyclist collides with an opened automobile door. These bike accidents often occur on busy thoroughfares where cyclists have to move close to stationary automobiles. Automobile drivers are responsible for checking for bicycles and other motor vehicles before opening their doors to exit a vehicle.
Another form of bike accident related to positioning is the side swiping accident. These bike accidents occur when the driver of an automobile doesn’t give a cyclist enough room while the cyclist passes.
Many bike accidents occur when a driver of an automobile strikes a cyclist from behind. These drivers are often following the cyclist too closely or not paying enough attention to objects on the road. Rear-end accidents often occur at stop signs.
Many bike accidents occur when a motorist crosses in front of a cyclist. These accidents are often called either “left cross” or “right cross” bike accidents. Cross accidents occur when the driver of a motor vehicle enters a cyclist’s path while backing out of a driveway or entering an intersection.
Operators of motor vehicles may cause bike accidents by turning into the path of a bicycle on the driver’s right side. These bike accidents occur because the driver does not look in his or her blind spot before turning.
Speeding is another cause of bike accidents. Many drivers who speed do not have time to slow down to prevent a collision with a cyclist from occurring. These drivers often do not see the cyclist they strike. Injured victims of bike accidents involving a speeding automobile often suffer severe bodily injury.
Weather is also a common cause of bike accidents. Many avid cyclists do not ride their bicycles in snow, ice, or sleet. However, some cyclists ride their bicycles in the rain or get caught in a rainstorm. These cyclists are less visible and need to wear safety gear with a headlight to make sure they are visible to other drivers.
Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are at greater risk of causing serious bodily injury to cyclists on the road. Drunk driving causes many accidents involving cyclists. Many drunk drivers do not realize they have injured a cyclist. Cyclists are at a heightened risk of dying due to these accidents.
Aggressive drivers who engage in road rage often lose control of their automobiles and strike unsuspecting cyclists. Unfocused, angry drivers are not capable of focusing on the road in a reasonable manner. Aggressive driving causes operators of motor vehicles to lose control and injure cyclists.
Distracted driving is also a common cause of bike accidents. Texting and driving is the main form of distracted driving, but listening to loud music and speaking with other passengers is also a form of distracted driving. Cyclists often suffer injuries due to distracted drivers who text and drive.
Injured cyclists have no protection from a physical structure. These victims have exposure to the full force and impact of the motor vehicle that injures them. Their physical injuries, therefore, are often quite severe and require a long-term rehabilitation period.
Victims of bike accidents often require emergency medical care because they may suffer severe lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Every accident is different, but many cyclists will suffer fractured bones and extensive road rash.
After receiving emergency care, a bike accident injury victim will require long-term hospitalization. Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries and the circumstances of the bike accident, a victim may have to spend a minimum of one month in the hospital.
Surgery is often a component of the medical care that injured cyclists receive in the hospital. Doctors may perform skin grafts on an injured cyclist if the victim suffered extensive road rash. Neurosurgeons may need to perform operations if the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Physical rehabilitation is often necessary for victims to recover from the injuries they suffer during bike accidents. Injured cyclists may have to work with a physical therapist to learn how to walk again. If an injured victim has a temporary or permanent disability, then physical therapy may be necessary to help the victim’s body heal from the injuries.
Bike accident victims often require medication to help them recover from their injuries. Physicians may prescribe pain medication and other forms of medication to enable the victim to experience less pain while their bodies heal. Medical professionals may also recommend that bike accident victims use specific medical equipment to help them progress in their physical rehabilitation.
Injured bike accident victims may also require psychological counseling and mental health treatment. Serious accidents and injuries can make victims experience trauma, depression, and anxiety. Medical professionals may recommend specific forms of treatment to help injured victims recover from the psychological symptoms caused by their bike accident.
Pain and suffering damages available to a victim of a bike accident constitute the monetary compensation an injured victim may receive for the physical pain and mental distress the injured victim suffered due to the bike accident injury.
Pain and suffering damages are a form of compensatory damages called non-economic damages. Loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium are also forms of non-economic damages.
Bike accident victims will need to show evidence of physical pain and emotional distress to receive financial compensation. The injured victim may use a multiplier to estimate the amount of damages related to pain and suffering. If the injury is more severe, then the multiplier will be higher.
Bike accident victims prove they suffered specific physical injuries and mental pain by producing documents and records.
People prove pain and suffering damages using objective evidence such as the following:
Emotional distress is also a type of pain and suffering damages.
This type of distress relates to changes in an individual victim’s mental health after a traumatic accident. Emotional stress may include:
Injured bike victims should receive mental health counseling after their accident to document the progression of their mental health and any changes in their psychological outlook. Many of the symptoms related to emotional distress are subjective. A counselor can often testify about the symptoms a bike accident victim experienced, such as:
The pain and suffering victims experience as a result of a bicycle accident is often intangible and subjective. Injured victims can submit expert testimony to prove that they suffered specific psychological symptoms related to their injuries.
Liability for a bicycle accident will depend on the exact cause of the accident and who was responsible for causing the accident. Bike accident injury victims need to make sure they retain a Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer before speaking with any insurance company or filing any insurance claims.
A driver of a motor vehicle might be responsible for causing an accident, and an injured bicyclist may file an insurance claim against the driver. A cyclist may also file a claim against government agencies responsible for designing or maintaining a road that was in disrepair or filled with excessive debris.
A bicycle may contain a design defect or a repair defect, and the cyclist can file an insurance claim against the business entity responsible for manufacturing, designing, or repairing the bicycle.
A cyclist may file an insurance claim against a dog owner if a dog injures a cyclist. Also, a cyclist can file an insurance claim against a pedestrian if a pedestrian injured a cyclist.
After a bicycle accident, injury victims need to make sure that they report their version of events to the police officers responding to the accident. Injury victims also need to write down the badge numbers of all police officers on the scene.
Injured victims need evidence of liability, so they need to make sure that they can document as much information related to the bike accident as possible. Collecting evidence of liability is also very important and will be useful when injured victims file an insurance claim.
Injured victims should:
Injured victims should not speak to any insurance company or insurance company’s representative without first retaining a competent and experienced Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer. Many insurance companies will try to make an injured victim accept a low settlement offer or admit liability by signing misleading documents.
An experienced bicycle accident lawyer can help file an insurance claim and gather evidence. Negotiating with insurance companies is a job a lawyer can handle for you, and you will have protection from any tactics the insurance companies try to use to delay paying out financial compensation.
When you are thinking about retaining a lawyer, you need to choose someone who is experienced, knowledgeable, and competent. During an initial consultation, you can ask the lawyer questions about your case and their experience working as a lawyer.
You want to ask if the lawyer is someone you trust. Do you think you need a second opinion based on the words or actions of the lawyer? Do not be afraid to ask the lawyer how they treat their clients. Pay attention to the service you received when you first met your lawyer. How many times did your call go to voicemail?
Competent lawyers will usually follow up with clients after an initial consultation. You need to ask yourself if you trust the lawyer and how they treated you. Did you feel appreciated and valued, or did you feel like just another potential case for a busy professional? You want to hire a lawyer you trust because you will be entrusting the lawyer with confidential information.
You want to ask your lawyer who will be your point of contact at the law firm or law office. Will you have the chance to communicate with your lawyer directly or will you need to speak with a receptionist or legal assistant? If you have questions about your case, you need to speak with your lawyer quickly. Do not hesitate to be transparent about your expectations and needs.
You want to ask your lawyer during the initial consultation what the best approach is for resolving your bike accident injury claim. A competent lawyer will explain several options to you and advise you on the best course of action to pursue.
Lastly, you need to ask your lawyer about the cost of legal representation and any fee structures. Many bike accident lawyers will work on a contingency fee basis, and this means that the client pays no retainer fee or hourly fee but rather pays the lawyer out of any financial award recovered after the case resolves.
Unfortunately, cyclists face unique risks as they have modest or next to no protection against the motor vehicles with which they share the road. A car and bicycle accident can easily result in catastrophic injuries, neck and head injuries, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, nerve damage and broken limbs. If one is fortunate enough to not be rendered catastrophically injured in a bike accident, injured bicyclists almost always face considerable amounts of pain and suffering and income loss while they are recovering. Injuries may also require reconstructive surgery and lengthy recovery.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or a wrongful death in a bicycle accident as a result of a collision with another vehicle or because of unsafe road conditions, our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers can help. Injured cyclists deserve immediate access to the best lawyers in Hamilton and the surrounding area. We represent cyclists in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. Please fill out a contact form or call us at 905-333-888 today and we will be happy to schedule a no-obligation consultation with you and your family to advise you of your rights of recovery.