When heading out to cycle on municipal roads it is important to know your legal rights should you be involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. An injured cyclist has the same legal rights to compensation as an injured pedestrian, passenger and/or driver of a motor vehicle.
If you suffer an injury in an accident with a motor vehicle while cycling, the police must be called to the scene. The investigating police officer will investigate the accident by inspecting the scene and interviewing witnesses and the parties involved. The officer will generate a report that can be used by the parties to ascertain fault for the accident. Make sure to get a draft copy of the report from the officer. The draft report will assist your legal representative in identifying the wrongdoers and obtaining the complete police file at a later time. It is important to remember that cyclists must abide by the same laws as motor vehicles when cycling on municipal roads. Disobeying traffic lights, ignoring stop signs, and unsafe lane changes will all be considered by a police officer when assigning fault for an accident.
There are two claims for compensation that can be pursued against motor vehicle insurance companies if you are injured while cycling from an accident with a motor vehicle. However, these claims cannot be pursued if the injury occurs without the involvement of a motor vehicle.
The first claim is known as the accident benefits claim, also known as the no-fault claim. It is an insurance claim, where injury in a motor vehicle accident entitles you to apply for various insurance benefits that include income replacement benefits and medical/rehabilitation expenses. If you have motor vehicle insurance, you must pursue the accident benefit claim with your own insurer. If you do not have motor vehicle insurance, the accident benefit claim can be pursued with the insurer of any motor vehicle involved in the accident.
The second claim is known as the tort claim, also known as the negligence claim, which is a civil lawsuit pursued against the driver and owner of the at-fault motor vehicle. Damages for pain and suffering, income loss, out-of-pocket expenses, and future care can be pursued in this claim. If the at-fault motor vehicle was insured at the time of the accident, the insurer will pay any settlement of the claim, or judgment should the claim proceed through to a trial. If the at-fault motor vehicle was not insured at the time of the accident, you can pursue the tort claim against your own insurer under the uninsured motor vehicle coverage provisions in the insurance policy.
If you are ever involved in an accident with a motor vehicle call a personal injury lawyer who will be able to answer any questions you may have free of charge.
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