Post by: / July 2, 2020

Reverse Onus

Ontario Law Incentivizes Drivers to Pay More Attention to Cyclists and Pedestrians

Did you know there are approximately 1.2 million adults in Ontario who ride a bicycle daily during our warmer seasons and 2.8 million who ride at least once a week?

That is great news for a province that aspires to create a healthier active community with all of the medical, environmental and financial benefits that come along with this vision.

Our cities, however, are not yet ideal for cyclists who share the roads with cars, each trying to navigate potholes, right hand turns and blind spots.

For civil proceedings where a cyclist or pedestrian claims for damages resulting from a car accident, section 193(1) the Highway Traffic Act determines fault using a “reverse onus”.  Rather than require the accident victim to prove the driver is at fault, this reverse onus places the burden on the driver to show that they were not negligent.

This law encourages motor vehicle drivers to be more careful of cyclists and pedestrians who lack the same physical protection of those within cars.

While the car driver must establish reasonable and proper behaviour in the circumstance, the cyclist is only required to prove their injuries and damages from the accident.

Fault does not have to be all or nothing. A car driver can prove that a cyclist was in part responsible for the accident, or contributorily negligent, and this can reduce the percentage of damages awarded.

Lastly, even if an accident is the fault of the cyclist, the cyclist is entitled to the accident benefits from the car driver’s insurance coverage if they do not have their own insurance. This coverage is managed under Ontario law and is part of every auto insurance policy in the province. It includes, among other things, income replacement benefits and payment for medical and rehabilitation expenses.

If you are a cyclist who sustained injuries as a result of an accident with a motor vehicle, call our personal injury lawyers to ensure your legal rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.

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