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Bicycle Accidents Causing Personal Injuries
Long-term disability settlements for cyclists involved in an accident often deal with either the cyclists' auto insurer or the at-fault driver's auto insurer. Since cyclists in Ontario are not required by law to be insured or licensed as a cyclist, when an accident occurs between a cyclist and a vehicle, the cyclists' own auto insurance responds to claims under their mandatory accidents benefits. In the event that the cyclist does not have auto insurance, and can prove that they were not at fault, they can pursue compensation through the at fault driver's auto insurance.
Filing a Claim for Personal Injuries
If a cyclist does not have auto insurance and has sustained a personal injury, they must file a claim with the at fault driver's auto insurance company. It is not uncommon for the insurance agent to respond slowly. This can be troublesome as there are time limitations that fall into play in cyclist-to-vehicle accidents. Cyclists are required to file a claim within the first 7 days of an accident. Once the claim is filed an application package is sent to the cyclist and they must submit the forms within just 30 days. In the event the insurance agent is responding slowly there are things you can do to expedite the process. Ask for the Consumer Complaint Officer. The CCO is required to respond to your claim within 48 hours. If this still does not elicit a prompt reply, cyclists can then contact the ombudsman of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Because the FSCO has the power to audit the insurance agent and their company, this usually prompts a reply. Once the cyclist has successfully filed a claim for compensation with the at fault driver's auto insurance, they also have the right to sue the at fault driver for any number of damages including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities, past and future income loss and loss of future cost of care. Cyclists must inform the at fault driver of their intent to sue within 120 days of the accident. Once this has been done the cyclist has 2 years to file a lawsuit.
Hit & Run and Uninsured Drivers
While all drivers in Ontario are required by law to have auto insurance and steep fines and imprisonment deter drivers, there are those who simply don't. When a cyclist is involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or a driver fails to remain at the scene of the accident, cyclists without auto insurance can seek compensation through The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. The MVACF is a government fund established to provide compensation to people sustaining personal injuries due to an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. The onus is still on the cyclist to prove that they were not at fault in the accident with the uninsured driver. So it is important to collect all the information you can in proving your case.
Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injuries causing long-term disability due to a cycling accident can be frightening and overwhelming. Consult a personal injury lawyer specializing in long-term/short-term disability. Often the consultation is free and they only collect their fees once you've received compensation.
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