With the summer season in full swing, many Nova Scotians are riding their bikes to get from “point A” to “point B”. Unfortunately, too many car drivers don’t pay close enough attention to such cyclists and, as any experienced injury lawyer will tell you, accidents are sadly all too common.
If you or a loved one suffer an injury while riding a bike, through the negligence or fault of the driver of a car, it’s important to know what type of insurance benefits may be available. The following 3 types of insurance benefits are accessible to make sure you are appropriately compensated:
“Section A” – if the driver of the car has car insurance, then that insurance company is responsible for paying an injured cyclist compensation if that driver’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident. Under “section A” of the policy, that insurance company will compensate the bike rider for things like pain and suffering, income loss, cost of care/treatment, and loss of housekeeping capacity. The amount of compensation is very much fact specific and depends on how the cyclist’s injuries affects his or her life.
It’s important to understand that this type of compensatory insurance is only available if the car driver’s negligence was the cause of the cyclist’s injuries. In many cases, liability for an accident is obvious. For example, if the cyclist has the right-of-way and the car collides into him or her, then fault for the accident will lies with the car’s operator. In other cases, fault for an accident may have to be shared. But if the car is even partly responsible for the cyclist’s injuries, then the bike rider will be owed compensation under “section A” of the car operator’s insurance company.
“Section B” – if a cyclist is injured in a car accident, he or she will be entitled to “section B” benefits regardless of who is at fault (hence this type of insurance being often referred to as “no fault benefits”). If the cyclist has his or her own car insurance, then these benefits would be paid by that insurance company. If the cyclist doesn’t have car insurance, then the “section B” benefits would be paid by the car operator’s insurance (even if the car isn’t responsible for the accident).
The type of insurance benefits available under “section B” for injured bike riders are strictly defined and include the following:
- the costs of medical treatment and expenses related to the injuries sustained in the accident. To be compensated, these medical expenses must be necessary for your recovery. They include things like physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic care. This insurance benefit is only payable within 4 years of an accident and up to a maximum of $50,000;
- a weekly indemnity payment for any loss of income. This income loss insurance benefit is only payable if the injuries result in a disability and is paid to a maximum of $250/week. If the disability is permanent, the injured cyclist is entitled to this weekly amount for the remainder of his or her life.
- weekly compensation for homemakers who don’t work outside of the home, if the injuries result in a substantial inability to do the housekeeping tasks the injured cyclist would typically do; and
- funeral and lump sum death benefit if a family member is fatally injured in a bike accident.
Section D/Facility Association: This type of insurance benefit is available for bike riders injured through the fault of a car operator and where that driver doesn’t have insurance or leaves the scene of the accident without being identified (like in a “hit and run”). In either of these instances, the cyclist’s own car insurance is responsible for compensating the injured rider for all the “section A” benefits that rider would have been able to receive from the negligent car operator’s insurance (where it accessible).
If the cyclist does not have car insurance, then Nova Scotia’s Facility Association is there to step in to compensate for the injuries. This provincial entity exists to make sure no one goes unprotected. While the Facility Association is a valuable resource, there are some very unique rules associated with advancing a claim for compensation from that insurance entity.
If you or a loved one are injured in a bike accident, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your options and ensure that you access all the insurance benefits that are possibly available to you.