Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Hamilton
If you have been seriously hurt in a bicycle accident area our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers can help. We have extensive experience in representing bicyclists that have been injured in bicycle accidents caused by the fault of other cars, taxis, trucks, vans or commercial vehicles. While bicyclists generally think of themselves as equal to other road traffic, that status is not usually assigned to them by other motorists.
People are on bikes are generally not considered a priority on the road. Bicycle accidents often lead to serious and catastrophic injuries – with a large percentage of injured victims being commuters and kids. From a fatality standpoint, not surprisingly, almost all riders killed in a bicycle accident (92%) happened as a result of crashes with a motor vehicle.
It is also not uncommon for cyclists to be injured in accidents involving street defects or other dangerous roadway circumstances such as uneven trip ledges, pot holes, negligently installed or missing manhole covers and sewer grates, temporary paving issues, or inadequately marked construction lanes and/or speed bumps.
If you have been injured in a Bike accident in Hamilton and/or the surrounding areas, or by a defective bicycle product, by another motorist or a dangerous road conditions and would like to discuss your case with a Hamilton bicycle accident lawyer dedicated to protecting bicyclists’ rights, we welcome your contact for a free no obligation consultation.
Bicycle Accidents can cause very serious injuries
Being hurt in a bike accident can no doubt lead to major life changes psychologically, physically and financially. Our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers have extensive experience representing victims who have hurt in bicycle accidents. Although bike accidents are normally not the rider’s fault, cyclists in bicycle accidents do face an uphill battle and unique challenges under Ontario law and more so, with insurance companies. Over the past 15 years, our Hamilton bicycle accident injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for cyclists who have suffered broken bones to catastrophic injuries.
Serious injuries in bicycle accidents are not uncommon. Being a smaller profile and riding unprotected, there is no doubt that cyclists can be critically hurt if hit by any type of vehicle. Even if a car or truck is moving slowly and barely collides with a bicycle, the impact can still cause very serious and/or catastrophic injuries to the bicyclist. If a cyclist survives a bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, it is not uncommon for cyclists to suffer serious injuries such as:
- Rotator Cuff Injuries and Clavicle Fractures – landing with arms outstretched often cause these types or injuries. Partial or full rotator cuff tears are frequent injuries resulting from front or side falls or from hard falls in the shoulder. Clavicle fractures required surgery and hardware is not uncommon.
- Tibia or Fibular fractures – broken lower legs are common if another vehicle is involved. The direct force of a vehicle placed on the leg can cause serious fractures.
- Knee Injuries – a broken patella (kneecap) or ligament injury often occurs in bike crashes. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the most common knee injuries from a fall off a bicycle. The ACL is the ligament that runs in the middle of the knee and provides it stability.
- Pelvic or hip fractures – fractures of the pelvis, hip or hip socket (acetabulum) are among the most serious injuries in bicycle accidents. These types of fractures are often caused by a traumatic incident such as a motor vehicle accident hitting the cyclist in t-bone fashion or a hard fall from a bike. These types of injuries often require a partial or total hip replacement.
- Femur Fractures – The femur is a very strong bone – however if the impact with a vehicle is high-impact, and, depending on leg placement during the moment of when that impact happened, the femur could fracture, often necessitating surgery with plates and screws.
- Forearm and Wrist Fractures – The wrist is made up of eight small bones which connect with the two long forearm bones called the radius and ulna. Cyclists often suffer displaced or non-displaced wrist fractures, depending on how they fall.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Although the vast majority of injuries suffered while cycling are orthopedic, acute spinal injuries are not uncommon during major bicycle accidents, especially if cyclists are thrown over their handle bars. There have also been defective product (product liability) situations with bicycles that have caused and SCI. A recent study investigated a situation involving a 61-year-old gentleman that sustained catastrophic cervical spine injury when the front wheel forks of his performance carbon fibre racing bike reportedly collapsed, which threw him forward over the handlebars and onto his head and neck.
- Herniated Discs – herniated discs can be extremely painful and may require surgery, such as a laminectomy to remove the disc and fuse the vertebrae. Landing on your back can no doubt cause stress on the spinal column and causes your discs (the cushion between your vertebrae) to rupture or move out of place and press against spinal nerves, which causes severe pain in the back and sharp pain / tingling through your arms and legs.
- Head Injuries – bicycle helmets no doubt cut the risk of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) when riders suffer a head injury – however if the rider is injured in a high-impact collision with another moving vehicle, a head injury can still happen. Severe head impact with the pavement can still cause the brain to jar inside the skull. With type of impact, unconsciousness for an extended period of time may happen, as well as a lowered GCS. The overall long term symptoms may include cognitive decline (memory loss, attention, concentration, confusion ect) as well as speech and language problems, sensory and perceptual difficulties, vision and hearing loss, the onset of seizures, sleep disorders and the inception of emotional, socio-emotional and psychological problems.
What if I can’t work because of my bicycle accident injuries?
It is very common for cycling victims to be unable to return to work following a serious bicycle accident. Although many working people have allocated time off with employer paid sick days or vacation day, this is often not enough. A cyclist is entitled to income replacement benefits at a rate of up to $400.00 a week through his or her own insurance company (or the insurance company of the driver that hit them) but again this is not enough.
Some injured victims are lucky enough the be a part of a group plan or carry private short-term disability insurance, which may also help bridge the gap until they can apply for long-term disability, which again may not be enough for a seriously hurt victim that faces the prospect of never returning to work.
A Hamilton Bicycle accident lawyer can help you recover your lost income from the date or your accident to the date of your settlement or Court verdict, as well as your lost income to your expected retirement date.
Lost wages can also be framed as:
- A direct economic lossfor the exact period during which you are unable to work;
- A Lost earning capacityif you sustain a long-term disability from the accident and cannot make as much money as you did before the accident;
- A lost economic opportunity – such as losing clients or being forced to close a business;
- Loss of competitive advantage – if you are hurt or disabled, and you suffer a competitively disadvantage in the labor force compared to other persons you are not – you may be entitled to an economic loss.;
- Loss of interest and earnings on investments;
- Loss of Pension Contributions if you are unable to work, your contributions may be reduced or unmatched;
- Lost opportunities for promotions at work and anticipated pay increases.
Hamilton Bicycle Accident Compensation – what is your personal injury claim worth?
This is an answer often asked by many of our clients. The answer can be quite complicated. Personal injury damages that are awarded by trial or settlement are normally not claimed in a “lump sum” amount. When you make a bicycle accident injury claim against the driver that hit you or caused you harm, the damages paid to you are compensatory – meaning that the damages (or money paid to you) is to financially compensate you, as the bicycle accident victim, for the losses you sustained. When you make a financial claim for personal injury compensation, the amount of money you claim is normally broken down into different claims to compensate your losses.
Compensation is divided into two major claims, being economic and non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages are damages that compensate you for anything but your loss of wages. For example, non-economic damages would compensate you for your pain and suffering if you are hurt, for your loss of enjoyment of life, loss of life expectancy and/or loss of amenities.
There is no fixed standard in California for deciding the value of non-economic damages. In 2004, The British Columbia Court of Appeal released a case that gave us a clear breakdown of how lawyers should calculate non-economic damages. The Court noted that:
- The identification of comparable cases is not a simple task;
- Each case is unique;
- The process should be systematic and rational, not conclusory;
- There are common factors that influence a victim’s awards.
- We must look at the age of the victim;
- We must consider the nature of the victim’s injury;
- We must consider the relative severity of the victim’s pain;
- We must consider the duration of the victim’s pain;
- We must consider the nature of the disability;
- We must consider the emotional suffering;
- We must consider the loss or impairment of enjoyment of life of the victim;
- The awards that we study in the comparable cases must be adjusted for inflation.
Economic damages are financial losses or expenses that you have suffered as a direct result of your bicycle accident and injuries. For example, if you are no longer able to work, you suffer a loss of income because you had to change jobs or you were no longer able to apply for a certain promotion then you would be able to claim an economic loss.
Bicycle helmets reduce but do not eliminate brain injury
There is no doubt that helicopters reduce the incidence of bicycle accident related brain injury. Twenty years ago, helmet use was much less common that it is today – for example only 19% of riders wore helmets compared to overwhelming helmet use today. Bicycle helmets however, do not ensure that cyclists will survive a crash, nor does it ensure that riders will not suffer a brain injury if involved in a very high impact collision.
In very serious accidents there is still the possibility of major stress transmission to the brain from substantial impact on the head, for example, if a cyclists is hit at high speed by a car, which can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of high impact trauma to the brain can which can result in a major concussion or open skull fracture, or a jarring motion, such as a hard impact between the head and the pavement, or head and a vehicle. When this happens, acute brain injury may cause immediate and long-term consequences that ill have an impact on a victim’s quality of life, such as permanent behavioral issues, cognitive problems, memory loss, word finding problems, major stutter, the inability to concentrate, sleep disorders and, in some cases, permanent disability or death.
Bicycle accident helmets, although they reduce the chance of injury, do not assure that riders will survive a crash, nor do they always prevent a serious head injuries. An impact between the cyclists’ head and the ground or another vehicle is nearly inevitable if involved in a high speed or high impact crash.
Contact a Hamilton Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, cyclists face unique risks as they have modest or next to no protection against the motor vehicles with which they share the road. A car and bicycle accident can easily result in catastrophic injuries, neck and head injuries, brain damage, spinal cord injuries, nerve damage and broken limbs. If one is fortunate enough to not be rendered catastrophically injured in a bike accident, injured bicyclists almost always face considerable amounts of pain and suffering and income loss while they are recovering. Injuries may also require reconstructive surgery and lengthy recovery.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or a wrongful death in a bicycle accident as a result of a collision with another vehicle or because of unsafe road conditions, our Hamilton bicycle accident lawyers can help. Injured cyclists deserve immediate access to the best legal lawyers in Hamilton and the surrounding area. We represent cyclists in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. Please fill out a contact form or call us at 905-333-888 today and we will be happy to schedule a no-obligation consultation with you and your family to advise you of your rights of recovery.