Warmer spring weather brings more cyclists to BC roads, and with that comes an increase in the number of bicycle accidents. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident that involved a motor vehicle, you may be entitled to bring both a personal injury compensation claim (also known as a tort claim) and an accident benefits claim (also known as a Part 7 or no-fault ICBC claim). Lawyers at Simpson, Thomas & Associates are often asked about issues particular to ICBC claims arising from bicycle accidents. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Can an injured bicyclist make a hit and run ICBC claim?
If a driver hits you while you are on your bike, and does not stop or leaves the scene before you can get their identification, you have the right to make an ICBC hit and run claim, even if you do not own or insure a vehicle in BC. If your hit and run claim is established, you are eligible to claim for Part 7 accident benefits and for personal injury damages. There are very specific rules and requirements to establish a hit and run ICBC claim – contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the hit and run accident to ensure you do not miss the opportunity to make your claim.
If the vehicle didn’t actually hit my bike, can I still bring an ICBC claim?
If the driver of a vehicle cuts you off while you are cycling or drives in a manner that forces you to take evasive action, and you suffer personal injury as a result, you can still bring an ICBC claim even if the vehicle did not physically come into contact with you or your bicycle. These claims are sometimes referred to a “no impact” ICBC claims. Lawyers at Simpson, Thomas & Associates understand the complexities of these types of claims and are skilled at gathering evidence to meet the burden of proof that the vehicle driver’s negligence caused the accident. Call us today if you were injured in a no impact bicycle claim in BC.
What happens if ICBC blames the cyclist for the accident?
Liability disputes are common in all types of ICBC claims, but there are several liability issues that are unique to vehicle/bicycle accidents. BC law states that a person operating a bicycle on a highway has the same rights and duties as a driver of a vehicle, and there are additional duties imposed on cyclists (e.g. requirements that relate to not riding abreast with another cyclist; requirements to equip the bike with reflectors/lights if operating it at certain times). If any of those duties are not met, a cyclist may be found fully or partially liable for the accident. For example, ICBC may attempt to deny the claim outright or argue that the claim should be drastically reduced by alleging that the injured cyclist breached the Motor Vehicle Act by cycling through a crosswalk or cycling on the sidewalk, and that the cyclist’s breach caused the collision. See here for our Surrey ICBC claim lawyer’s discussion of a case in which a cyclist who was cycling on the wrong side of the road was found to be 25% at fault for the accident that caused his injuries. If liability is disputed in your bicycle accident ICBC claim, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side to push back against the allegations and maximize your compensation.
Does failure to wear a bike helmet factor into a cyclist’s ICBC claim?
If you were not wearing an approved safety helmet at the time of your bicycle accident, ICBC will argue that wearing a helmet would have prevented or minimized your injury. This is a legal concept known as “contributory negligence” (see here for our Surrey ICBC claim lawyers’ post on how the defence of contributory negligence can reduce the damages awarded in a personal injury claim). However, it is very important to emphasize that ICBC bears the onus of proving the defence – in other words, a cyclist’s failure to wear a helmet does not automatically lead to a finding of contributory negligence.
Are you an injured cyclist?
ICBC claims can be complicated, especially if you have been seriously injured, are struggling to recover, and are losing income due to your injuries. If you have been injured by a motor vehicle while cycling, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates. We have considerable experience handling ICBC claims and bicycle accidents, including claims involving concussions and traumatic brain injuries. We are here to answer your questions, and we will assist you by developing your claim against ICBC to get the compensation you deserve, including building your defence against an allegation of contributory negligence due to failure to wear a bike helmet. You or a loved one can contact us at (604) 689-8888 to schedule your free consultation with one of our team of ICBC claim lawyers. Surrey/Delta, Burnaby, Abbotsford, and Vancouver office appointments are available, or we can come to you if your injuries have caused mobility issues.