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What To Do If You Are Involved In A Cycling Accident

In Toronto, over the past few years, biking infrastructure has grown to accommodate the city’s massive population of cyclists. Bike lanes are now located on Bloor, and Sherbourne even has a partitioned bike lane (à la Montreal) to protect cyclists from automobiles. Here at Goodman Elbassiouni LLP, we think that cycling is a fantastic way to get some exercise on the way to work and save on gas – not to mention the environmental benefits. Cycling in Toronto can, however, be extremely chaotic and sometimes dangerous. There are some pretty intense bike couriers out there and overly aggressive riders. There’s even the danger of getting in a collision with someone who is completely inebriated, as many people believe it’s no big deal to drink and bike.

In past blog entries, we’ve covered what to do when you need help after a motor vehicle accident in depth, but today we’re going to focus on what to do if you get in an accident on your bicycle.

First thing’s first, if you collide with a car and you are injured, you need to determine whether or not it is necessary to go to the hospital. If you’ve suffered any head trauma (always bike with a helmet) it is advisable to go to the emergency room without delay. Hopefully there will be a couple of good Samaritans around to call you an ambulance if you require one; this is Canada after all.

You should get as much information as you can from the driver, but there are three specific things that go at the top of the list: the person’s name, the name of their insurance company and their license plate. Drivers can often be more skittish when they collide with a cyclist than if they had collided with a driver, perhaps because they think the cyclist may be seriously injured. If you can snap a picture of the license plate or delegate this task to a nearby pedestrian, the driver won’t get away with the hit and run. This type of irresponsible behaviour turns our stomachs and we are always saddened when our clients cannot ascertain who is responsible for their injuries.

Whether or not you decide to go to the emergency room, you should definitely follow up with your family doctor or your local walk-in clinic. If you need further physiotherapy, your doctor will refer you to the appropriate specialists. When dealing with the doctors, you should neither embellish your injuries nor downplay them – the medical records will be crucial to the evidence if your case goes to court and if they are insufficient or inaccurate the lawyer for the defense will surely exploit this weakness.

If you are working on your bike for a courier service or one of the many food delivery services popping up in Toronto, you may be able to seek compensation from your employers; in this case you would definitely want to consult with workers compensation lawyers to find out what you’re entitled to.

If you have car insurance then you will likely be covered for the cycling accident; if you have home insurance, that may cover it as well. Depending on the circumstances of the accident you may be eligible for a replacement bike – if you were riding an expensive road bike or a fixed gear you will certainly want to be compensated for a replacement. The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) will be your last resort if you do not have any form of insurance.

Whether you are a cyclist, a motorist or both, it is important to remember to share the road. Toronto is a growing city and transportation infrastructure is tight. If you find yourself in an unfortunate circumstance and require legal assistance, Goodman Elbassiouni LLP is here to help. After all, everybody makes mistakes.


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