By Matt Lalande in Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers on May 25, 2023
Motorcycle accidents can have catastrophic consequences, resulting in severe injuries or even death for the rider. Given the lack of structural protection around a motorcycle, riders are directly exposed to the force of an impact. In the event of a motorcycle crash, riders often suffer from a range of injuries, from broken bones to spinal cord injuries to traumatic brain injuries, often despite helmet use. They can also sustain serious skin abrasions, commonly referred to as “road rash” or “degloving”, which can lead to extensive scarring or infections. The emotional toll of a motorcycle accident can be equally devastating, leading to psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Rehabilitation from such injuries can be a long, painful, and costly process, affecting not only the riders but also their families.
A common question that we are asked is “when should you hire a lawyer after a motorcycle accident?” The following are some quick tips which we recommend on when you and your family should hire a motorcycle accident lawyer after a serious bike crash.
In Ontario, after a serious motorcycle accident, you are entitled to claim Statutory Accident Benefits from your own insurance company under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) regardless of fault. These benefits are designed to provide immediate and necessary support to individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. They cover a wide range of expenses, including medical and rehabilitation costs, attendant care costs, and income replacement benefits. For serious injuries, the SABS also provides benefits to assist with coverage for occupational therapy and home modification costs necessary due to mobility restrictions or disabilities resulting from the accident.
Moreover, if you’re unable to return to work, you may be eligible for income replacement benefits or non-earner benefits to help pay your bills. Having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer guide you through the process is often beneficial to ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to under this system and ensure that the proper modalities and modifications are in place when you return home from the hospital or rehabilitation centre.
Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers play a crucial role in serious motorcycle accidents, particularly by starting an investigation early. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, preserving evidence, vehicle black boxes and identifying potential witnesses can be invaluable. A motorcycle accident lawyer can promptly launch an investigation, ensuring key evidence like skid marks, vehicle debris, or damaged property is documented and preserved before it’s lost or altered.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers can also secure critical data from traffic or surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the accident, or electronic data from the vehicles involved, both of which can provide crucial information about the circumstances leading to the accident. Witness statements, which can be pivotal in reconstructing the incident and determining liability, are often best collected soon after the accident when memories are fresh.
An early investigation also allows our motorcycle accident lawyers to assess the accident scene’s physical layout and any environmental factors that could have contributed to the accident, such as poor road conditions or inadequate signage. In cases involving serious injuries, understanding the full scope of the accident early on is essential in quantifying the damages and potential compensation. This proactive approach can help build a strong case, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
In Ontario, it’s important to be aware of the Statute of Limitations regarding motorcycle accidents, as it dictates the time frame within which you must file a legal claim. Generally, and DO NOT take this as legal advice (please speak to our lawyers) you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This limit applies to personal injury claims for damages such as pain and suffering, loss of income, and future care costs. Also the law states that you must provide notice of a lawsuit (or your intention to sue) within 120 of the accident.
However, there are exceptions and variations depending on the specific circumstances. For instance, claims for Statutory Accident Benefits must be initiated within 30 days of receiving the application forms from your insurance company. Failure to abide by these timelines can bar you from pursuing compensation. Given the complexities and potential exceptions to these rules, it’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer soon after your accident to ensure your claim is filed in a timely manner and your rights are protected.
Filing a lawsuit earlier rather than later in a motorcycle accident case involving serious injuries can be extremely beneficial for several reasons.
First, it allows for a timely collection and preservation of crucial evidence. This includes physical evidence from the accident scene, witness testimonies, and relevant documents, all of which can contribute significantly to establishing fault and determining the extent of damages.
Second, it allows the victim to secure necessary financial resources to cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other associated costs. This is particularly critical in cases involving serious injuries where the costs can be exorbitant.
Third, initiating legal proceedings early can help keep the case fresh in the minds of all involved parties, including witnesses, thereby improving the accuracy and reliability of the testimony. Lastly, an early lawsuit can expedite the legal process and potentially bring about a resolution more quickly, providing the victim with much-needed closure and financial stability to focus on recovery.
Did you know that in Ontario, there is interest that is added to any compensation that you are entitled to? This is called “pre-judgment interest”. Pre-judgment interest in Ontario refers to the interest that accrues on the amount of damages from the date the opposing party was formally put on notice to the date the court gives judgment.
In other words, it’s the interest accrued on the compensation that the plaintiff is owed from the time of the incident until the time the court awards damages. This concept is particularly relevant in personal injury lawsuits, including motorcycle accidents, where the plaintiff may have suffered a significant loss that wasn’t compensated in the period between the accident and the final judgment.
The purpose of pre-judgment interest is to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of use of money that they were entitled to receive. The pre-judgment interest rate for non-pecuniary loss (e.g., pain and suffering) in non-motor vehicle personal injury actions in Ontario is 5% per annum. The pre-judgment rate in motor vehicle actions is determined by the Courts of Justice Act – which can fluctuate. It’s recommended to consult a motorcycle accident lawyer for the most up-to-date information – and get your case started early. Interest does not start accruing until formal notice of your claim has gone out (within 120 days of the accident).
Motorcycle accidents can result in some of the most devastating injuries imaginable due to the lack of protection for riders – and when this happens it’s absolutely vital to retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer earlier than later.
Since 2003, our Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers have recovered tens of millions in compensation for riders in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, call us today, no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in Hamilton and throughout Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can email us confidentially through our website or chat 24/7 with our live chat operator.