Motorcycle drivers often are stereotyped as being reckless or “daredevils.” In reality, motorcycle operation requires a high skill level, and many riders exercise due caution and diligence when on the road.
It is important for a motorcycle accident victim and/or his or her family to understand their rights in the event of a crash. Below is a guideline of what you should know if you’ve recently been injured in a motorcycle collision.
You have the right to seek Accident Benefits – An Ontario driver with a standard auto insurance policy has access to Statutory Accident Benefits. Ontario’s Insurance Act regulates these benefits and their maximum potential payment. This doesn’t just cover car drivers and passengers – it also applies to insured motorcyclists. To be eligible, however, you must report your crash within seven days of the incident. Your insurance company then will supply you with an Application for Benefits, which you must complete and submit within 30 days of receipt.
You have the right to recovery even if you were partially to blame for your accident – Accident Benefits are available through a no-fault system. You are eligible to seek benefits, even if your own actions contributed to your accident and injuries. For example, you still may apply for benefits if you miscalculated a turn or were traveling too fast during a rainstorm. Note that your ability to file a lawsuit will be compromised but NOT barred if your own negligence played a role in the accident.
You have a right to obtain a copy of the insurance company’s examination report – You may be asked to submit to an insurer examination. Licensed medical professionals, such as doctors and specialists, conduct these exams and submit their findings to your insurer. Your insurer should provide a copy of the exam report to you within 10 days of receipt. You also have the right to ask your examining doctors questions about the exam and their findings.
You have the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision – Though Accident Benefits are offered on a no-fault basis, there is no guarantee you will receive a fair benefits package. In fact, your insurance company may deny your claim to benefits based upon the findings of the insurer examination or for other reasons. You have the right to mediate or appeal a denial of benefits.
You have the right to hire a personal injury lawyer – You have the right to hire a lawyer of your own choosing to help you at any stage of the personal injury process. You are not obligated to do so, and you have the power to select your own representation.
You have the right to sue a negligent driver – You have the right to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, provided you were not at fault or only partially at fault for the accident, and if you suffered “permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function,” according to the Insurance Act. This lawsuit is in addition to your application for Accident Benefits and may seek compensation for losses, such as pain and suffering and certain healthcare expenses.
Learn more about your rights and obligations after a serious motorcycle accident in Ontario. Schedule a free case evolution today – call 1-800-JUSTICE® or fill out our online form.