By Joel Zanatta
The Cycling Lawyer

One of the most common issues I find cyclists unaware of is what benefits they may be entitled to if they are unfortunately involved in a crash with a car. To find out what benefits are available to cyclists in Ontario, I reached out to our Ontario partner David Shellnutt, who is the founder of the Toronto law firm The Biking Lawyer LLP.

Dave advised us that accident benefits are provincially mandated insurance benefits that provide no fault support to people injured in a crash with a car. That includes cyclists and pedestrians.

Whether at fault or not, if you are involved in a crash with a car you are entitled to Accident Benefit insurance coverage.

If you are injured, you are entitled to health benefits such as:

  • physiotherapy
  • concussion treatment
  • massage therapy
  • chiropractic care
  • psychotherapy and other mental health supports
  • acupuncture and more

If you are forced to take time off work, part of your lost income will be paid (up to $400.00 per week).

If you require help at home, that can also be covered. From housekeeping to around the clock nursing care, this is all provincially mandated free coverage you could have access to.

Of course, the degree to which you are injured impacts the amount of resources available to you. At a minimum, you will receive $3,500 in medical treatment benefits for Minor Injuries (sprains, strains, etc.). If you are more seriously injured you could receive $65,000.00 in benefits or more.

Dave says that in many cases, injured cyclists do not know to apply for Accident Benefits and access these no fault benefits.

“I see cyclists who have been hit, cut off, and/or involved in non-life-threatening crashes with cars do nothing despite suffering soft tissue injuries such as whip lash, a strained wrist, sore back, bruised knee, etc. That $3,500 in treatment can help you recover and get you back on your bike! Access it!

I have spoken to several injured cyclists who think that since they are not seriously injured, they can’t sue the driver for their pain and suffering. That is true, in part. The reason you cannot sue is because “minor injuries” are covered by the no fault Accident Benefits discussed above.”

Your right to sue for minor injuries has been replaced with automatic coverage. The hope is that by contributing $3,500 to your recovery, you will get back on your feet rather than having to go months without help as you fight for support in court.

Of course, you should always check with a lawyer to see what category your injuries fall into and whether it would be a good idea to sue the driver for injuring you.

If you have been hit by a car while cycling, start by requesting an Accident Benefits application package from the car insurer (if you have your own auto insurance coverage this applies even if the driver was at fault).

Seeking treatment for your injuries is so important. Even minor injuries take time to heal and recover. That means when you are ready, get some treatment recommendations from your doctor and other treatment providers (physiotherapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, etc.) and follow them.

In addition to treatment for physical injuries, there is also coverage under the Accident Benefits regime to assist you with crash related mental health issues you may suffer from.

Do not ignore the signs of injury. Seek medical attention no matter how minor you think your injuries may be.

For more information about your legal rights as a cyclist in Ontario, you can reach David Shellnutt at dave@thebikinglawyer.ca.

For more cycling news and your #respecttheride intro pack join our cycling community here.

More Blog Posts

June 16, 2021

My return to the road has been slow and steady. My pace has allowed me an opportunity to observe the wide range of greetings offered by passing cyclists.

May 26, 2021

In January I experienced a crash and suffered a serious injury to my left knee. It gave me an understanding of what it means to be challenged so deeply by pain and injury.

March 10, 2021

We take a look at why it can be so hard for cyclists that have been hurt to get compensation and how a lawyer can help cyclists get the compensation they deserve.

February 24, 2021

As someone who road cycles and mountain bikes, I find that the combination makes me a better all-round cyclist. We take a look at the advantages of engaging in both disciplines.