We Canadians love our freedom. And when weather permits, there’s nothing like the feel of the open road. But with freedom also comes risk.
The most recent motorcycle accident statistics from Transport Canada, the federal institution responsible for transportation policies, sound encouraging. Across Canada, the number of motorcycle fatalities fell to the lowest rates since 2012. This is great news for Canada as a whole, but the overall numbers shine a stark light on the dismal Toronto statistics.
During that same time period that fatal motorcycle accidents fell for Canada, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that the rates of motorcycle accident fatalities on Ontario roads rose to the highest that they’ve been since 2012—with the motorcycle riders determined as being not at fault in almost half of those accidents.
Almost 40% of Canada’s entire population and Toronto, North America’s 4th largest city, are inside of Ontario’s borders. It’s no surprise that Ontario’s comparatively dense population is seeing more motorcycle accidents – and more motorcycle accident settlements.
- 40% of the entire population of Canada resides
- The rate of motorcycle accidents resulting in death is the highest in 10 years
- Almost ½ of motorcycle accidents ending in fatalities were not the fault of the motorcycle rider
Types of Motorcycles in Ontario
According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, a motorcycle is defined as “a self-propelled vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the driver and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and includes a motor scooter, but does not include a motor assisted bicycle; (“motocyclette”).”
This broad definition includes standard motorcycles, moped and motor scooters (such as Vespas). Motor-assisted bicycles are not included in this definition. They are currently part of a three-year pilot program in Ontario and do not require licensing or insurance.
How Serious Are Motorcycle Accidents in Toronto?
The fatality rate from motorcycle accidents in Canada is more than 12% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities. This is concerning because motorcycles make up only 2% of the vehicles on the road. Canada’s winters tend to restrict motorcycle riding to the warmer months, reducing the number of miles ridden by motorcycles compared to cars even further.
Of course, not all motorcycle accidents result in death. Many motorcycle riders survive collisions, depending heavily on the speed involved and the protective equipment worn by the rider, but their injuries are often serious.
Researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto found that injuries from motorcycle crashes cause injuries which are 10 times more severe than those resulting from car accidents.
The medical costs resulting from motorcycle accidents are six times higher than those from car crashes, leaving many victims of motorcycle accidents wondering who will pay for their recovery.
Motorcycle crashes cause:
- Injuries 10 times more severe than those resulting from car accidents.
- Over 12% of the fatalities from ALL motor vehicle accidents across Canada.
Settlements or Compensation for Injuries or Loss of a Loved One from a Toronto Motorcycle Accident
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you have two avenues to choose from to pursue compensation:
- Statutory Accident Benefits
- File a Tort Claim (otherwise known as suing for damages)
Whichever way you choose to pursue, it is important to report your accident to your insurance company within seven (7) days or risk being denied compensation. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Statutory Accident Benefits
Statutory Accident Benefits are available to all drivers. Even if you are determined to be 100% at fault, you are still eligible for benefits.
Once you report your accident to your insurance company, they will send you an Application for Accident Benefits, which must be completed and returned within 30 days. Depending on how severe your injuries are, you may qualify for compensation for things such as:
- Income replacement
- Non-earning (a lesser amount for those who do not qualify for income replacement)
- Caregiving (for those who are no longer to provide care for others)
- Medical care for injuries related to your accident
- Rehabilitation to help you recover to your pre-accident state
- Attendant care if you are not able to care for yourself after the accident
- Death and funeral expenses
Unfortunately, there are strict limits on the amounts that can be paid and it is becoming much harder to get the compensation that is rightfully yours. Even if your case seems to be obviously in your favor, your claim may be denied in its entirety on a technicality.
You will have to provide evidence of medical need and meet specific criteria for each benefit. You must meet strict deadlines or forfeit your claim. Your compensation will depend on how severe your injuries are determined to be, even if you meet their set criteria.
Having a personal injury lawyer experienced with Toronto motorcycle accidents to guide you through the often-confusing process will significantly reduce the possibility that your claim will be rejected or fail to qualify for the proper amount of compensation.
- Are available to all motorists—even when they are 100% at fault.
- May be denied for late filing or if determined not to qualify.
- Have strict payment limits.
You are eligible to file a tort claim even if you are partially at fault. As helpful as having Statutory Accident Benefits may be after a motorcycle accident, if you were severely injured or if you lost a loved one in a collision, the standard compensation limits may not be high enough to meet your needs.
If you are in this situation, you need to have a Toronto personal injury lawyer who is experienced with motorcycle accident cases on your side. After getting the answers to some basic questions, your lawyer will be able to advise you as to whether or not filing a tort claim would be in your best interest.
There are many factors that will go into determining the amount of compensation you can receive for your motorcycle accident tort claim, including:
If your injuries were caused as a result of someone else’s negligence, their insurance company will be liable for your damages. If the other party is determined to be 100% at fault, you will stand to be compensated more than if you share fault equally.
- Amount of Insurance
Although you may choose to sue the at-fault party directly, unless the driver has a fair amount of personal wealth, it will be difficult to collect any money that is awarded. The amount of insurance money that is available for the vehicles involved is generally the highest compensation that you will be able to receive.
- Medical Bills
The dollar amount of your medical bills is a tangible measure of how severe your injuries are. If you had $100,000 in hospital bills, for example, you would likely receive a much higher settlement than if you had a few visits to the doctor and did a regimen of rehabilitation exercises at home. Higher medical bills show the insurance company and judge that you have a high degree of injury.
- Lost Wages
If you are able to show that your injuries made you unable to perform your job, you are entitled to compensation for the wages that you would have been able to earn if you were not injured.
- Pain and Suffering
You deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering that you undergo from an injury that was someone else’s fault. Insurance companies and judges can’t tell how much pain you are in or how much your injury affects your daily life. The medical bills that you accumulate and the wages that you lose during your recovery are a measurable gauge of your injuries, as verified by your doctor or therapist. Without some verifiable measure of your pain, it is difficult to prove how much you deserve to be compensated.
- Bias and Prejudice
The deck may be stacked against you before your case even begins. The common misperception that motorcycle riders are unsavory characters who often drive recklessly can affect the perception of you and whether or not you were responsible for the accident. Many parties may be prejudiced against motorcycle riders, from insurance company representatives to the judge, if your case goes to trial. A Toronto attorney experienced with motorcycle accident cases will know the best ways to counter bias against you and build a solid case so you can get the compensation that you need for your recovery.
- Are suitable for those who need more compensation than Statutory Benefits offer.
- Are available for those who are not 100% at fault.
- Require documentation and a solid strategy.
- Are best conducted by a personal injury lawyer experienced in Toronto motorcycle accidents.
How Long Will This Take?
Although you may want to be compensated immediately, this is not the time to rush. Wait until your injuries are healed to account for full cost of treatment and determine what are permanent injuries. Once a case is determined, you cannot request more funds if your injuries prove to be worse than originally thought.
An experienced Toronto attorney can help you determine whether or not you should take a settlement or push for trial and will be able to give you a general timeline for your case, based on the factors involved.
Can I get a settlement or other compensation from a Toronto Electric Scooter Accident?
E-scooter use is on the rise across Ontario and so is the number of injuries—and deaths—associated with their use. Unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to collect a settlement or other compensation associated with e-scooter use, due to the lack of insurance involved and the rights that are waived when signing up for the service.
If your Toronto e-Scooter accident involved a motor vehicle, was caused by faulty equipment or by hazardous conditions in the environment, you may be able to receive compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer in the Greater Toronto Area will be able to give you advice for your specific situation and get you the compensation that you deserve.
Looking for an Experienced Motorcycle Accident or Personal Injury Lawyer?
We can help! At Claim Accident Services, our goal is to help you make a successful recovery and get maximum compensation for your injuries. Who you choose to advise you and represent your case will have a direct impact on the amount of compensation you receive to recover from your injuries and reclaim your life.
We listen to your story and connect you with the Toronto personal injury lawyer specializing in motorcycle accidents who fits you best.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, you’ve already been through so much. Contact Claim Accident Services today and get on the road to recovery.