There are hundreds of motorcycle collisions and motorcycle accident injuries in Ontario every year. In some cases, the persons involved never fully recover, resulting in long-term medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, loss of income, and chronic pain. You may have a right to compensation through the court system if this sounds like you. Speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Toronto, they can provide insight into what’s possible in your specific circumstances. In the meantime, here are a few important things to know about motorcycle accident injury lawsuits and how these sorts of cases work.
You Must Prove Fault of Motorcycle Accident Injury
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you must prove your injuries were caused by the fault of someone else involved in the accident. Please note that a person does not need to be 100% at fault to be responsible for your injuries, nor does this imply this other party is the only cause for the accident. Even if someone is partially at fault, they can still be successfully sued for damages.
You Have Two Years To Sue
From the date of the motorcycle accident, you have two years to sue. There are very few exceptions. If you are a minor who has been involved in a motorcycle accident, two years only begin when they turn eighteen.
You Face The Burden Of Proof
As the victim, you have to prove two things: 1) There was fault or negligence resulting in the accident, and 2) The accident is the cause of your injuries. In the courts, the proof is determined according to a ‘balance of probabilities’ in motorcycle accident lawsuits which is a lower standard of proof than the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ applied in criminal cases.
You Must Prove The Extent Of Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
In Ontario, any injuries incurred in a motorcycle accident must be proven to rise above a threshold, resulting in a permanent impairment of either physical, mental, or psychological functioning. This claim must be made and supported by an expert medical professional. Suppose this is not a permanent impairment as classified as a medical expert. In that case, you will not be able to obtain damages for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or even healthcare expenses. That aside, you may still be able to recover income losses or a portion of income losses without this testimony.
How Much Income You Can Recover from Motorcycle Accident Injury
You can recover up to 70% of gross pre-accident income up to the trial date and up to 100% afterwards. This is the maximum limit on income loss recovery for motor vehicle and motorcycle accident lawsuits.
You Are Liable For Legal Costs
Before proceeding to trial, it’s imperative to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer in Toronto about the likelihood of winning. You can be held liable for certain legal costs should you be unsuccessful. If you are unsuccessful or awarded damages less than a defendant’s offer to settle, you would normally be responsible for paying a portion of the other party’s legal fees.
Your Defendant’s Insurance Has Limits
The insurance company will defend a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, and it is their insurance that will pay any judgment up to the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy. Many drivers have up to $1 million in insurance coverage; however, you run into an issue if your damages exceed the available insurance. In addition, if the driver doesn’t have personal assets or the means, you collecting your payment in full might never happen.
You Can Sue Your Own Insurance Company
If you win damages against an at-fault driver and they are underinsured or uninsured, and assuming your insurance has greater limits than the at-fault driver’s insurance, you can sue your insurance company for the difference in what’s owing to you. For example, if the at-fault driver has a policy with $500,000 in coverage and your policy is $1 million, you can sue your own insurance company for the difference.
For A Hit-And-Run Motorcycle Accident…
If you’re the victim of a hit-and-run, obviously, you do not have an at-fault driver to hold responsible. In this case, you can also sue your own automobile insurance company for ‘unidentified motorist’. The possible damages you can earn from this is limited, however, to $200,000.
Suing For ‘Pain And Suffering’ in Motorcycle Accident Has Its Limits
Pain and suffering, like most motorcycle accident lawyers in Toronto, will tell you, may not be enough of a reason to go through the costs of a court case. There is a limit on damages for pain and suffering. According to 2022 numbers, this amounts to approximately $390,000 and is exclusively available to the most serious injuries, i.e. severe brain and spinal cord injuries. It is otherwise unlikely you will be awarded much, if anything, purely based on pain and suffering.
There Is A ‘Damages Deductible’ To Pay
Suppose you are awarded less than roughly $138,000 in damages strictly for pain and suffering in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. In that case, the at-fault driver’s insurance may take back roughly $40,000 in the form of a deductible—the exact number of what this damages deductible is varied annually, increasing in line with inflation.
You Can Be Found Partially At Fault in Motorcycle Accident
If you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, any damages awarded to you are reduced by your percentage of fault. The courts interpret this ‘partially at fault’ ruling as contributory negligence.
You May Have No-Fault Benefits To Tap Into
Some motorcycle accident victims may not realize it, but most have access to no-fault benefits through their insurance which would cover a portion of their healthcare expenses and loss of income. Should you succeed in your court case against an at-fault driver, their insurance company will deduct the full value of any available benefits from the damages awarded to you regardless of whether you used them. Complicating matters further, if you’ve been found partially at fault and this percentage reduces your damages, the amount taken through this process can drastically cut down what you receive in a settlement.
You Must Have Insured Your Vehicle Before Motorcycle Accident Took Place
If your motorcycle is uninsured, you cannot sue for damages even if you are involved in an accident, injured, and not at fault.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident but aren’t sure about pursuing a case, assuming you won’t win, don’t be discouraged just yet. Laws change. Certain laws may or may not apply to your situation, depending on the facts and circumstances. Promptly seek legal advice. When you speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Toronto, they can offer an accurate outlook on the likely outcome of taking a case to the courts.
All Motorcycle Accident Injury Settlements Are Tax-Free
Any amount of money earned from a personal injury lawsuit or motorcycle accident lawsuit is provided tax-free. Should you decide to invest the proceeds, however, as with any sort of investment or savings unless otherwise indicated, any amount of interest earned on it is taxable.
Receive the best result in the courts with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Toronto experienced and prepared to fight on your behalf. At Ava Gio, we are happy to sit down with you to go over your unique circumstances and examine your motorcycle accident case, advising on how we can help. Connect with us today for a free consultation.