For many motorcycle owners, riding is far more than a means of transportation. It is a way of life. It is a true passion.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riding is not without its risks. The very things that attract people to motorcycles – freedom, excitement, and adventure – leave them vulnerable to catastrophic injuries and even death. Motorcyclists are fully exposed to the elements and are offered very little in terms of crash protection. Unlike cars, motorcycles do not have seatbelts, airbags, bumpers, or crumple zones.
While cautious motorcyclists will often wear protective gear such as helmets and body armour, no amount of safety equipment will spare a rider from a head-on collision with a 5,000-pound SUV at 80 km/hr. Even a “minor” collision can send a motorcyclist to the hospital with critical injuries while the driver of the other vehicle is left with only a dented bumper.
As motorcycle accident lawyers, we have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of motorcycle injuries on our clients and their families. These include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, vascular injuries, and fatalities. Many of these injuries were completely unavoidable as our clients were riding their motorcycles properly and cautiously, within the speed limit, only to have an oncoming car cross the center line or turn directly into their lane of traffic.
While a motorcycle crash may be unavoidable, preparation is not. One way motorcyclists can protect themselves and their families in the event of a serious injury is by having adequate motor vehicle insurance. Specifically, motorcyclists should consider the following insurance coverages:
Enhanced motor vehicle liability limits
It is a little-known fact that Ontario motor vehicle insurance policies not only protect you in the event you injure someone but also if you or your family are injured. Given that most motorists in Ontario carry liability limits of only $1,000,000, excess insurance is a good way to protect yourself in the event of a crash. For example, if the driver who injures you has only $1,000,000 in insurance, and that amount is insufficient to compensate you in the event of a serious injury, you can claim against your own insurance policy for the shortfall if you have a higher limit.
In other words, carrying a higher insurance limit will ensure you are protected up to that amount, regardless of how much insurance the other driver has. The cost to increase one’s limit beyond the “standard” $1,000,000 is very small and is well worth the additional premium.
Optional accident benefits
Ontario motor vehicle insurance policies also carry “standard” accident benefits coverage (accident benefits include medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits, attendant care benefits, and income replacement benefits). Standard insurance policies provide medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care coverage up to $65,000 over five years, whichever comes first. While this may sound like a lot of money, standard accident benefits coverage is insufficient in the event of a serious motorcycle crash.
As a result, motorcycle owners should consider purchasing optional accident benefits for added protection. Specifically, motorcyclists can purchase enhanced medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care coverage of $1,000,000 over their lifetime, and $2,000,000 in the event of a catastrophic injury. Please see our post “Statutory Accident (SABS) Benefits – Making Sense of it All” for more information on accident benefits.
At Beyond Law, our lawyers are experienced in handling serious personal injury cases including motorcycle accidents, car accidents, bicycle accidents, medical malpractice, statutory accident benefits (SABS) claims, long-term disability claims (LTD claims), slip-and-fall claims, and wrongful death claims in Toronto and throughout Ontario. If you or a loved one has suffered serious personal injuries due to someone else’s negligence please contact us and we would be pleased to assist you.
We hope you don’t need us.