Summertime gets us all out of doors and enjoying the fine weather. We're walking, running, biking, rollerblading and even skateboarding on the streets where we normally would drive. Inevitably, there will be collisions with motor vehicles. Sadly, there will be injuries. But did you know that the same no-fault insurance benefits available through ICBC to drivers when they are injured in motor vehicle accidents are also available to pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-vehicular users of the road?
Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation provides no-fault insurance benefits to persons injured or killed in Canada or the United States in accidents arising out of "the use or operation of a motor vehicle". This includes pedestrians and other non-vehicular users of the road who are hit by motor vehicles, regardless of whose fault the accident is.
Coverage under Part 7 is not difficult to come by. If you are a BC resident with a driver's license or own a car registered in BC, or live with someone who has one or the other or both, you are covered. You are also covered if you don't fall into either of those categories, but are a pedestrian or cyclist who collides with a vehicle registered in B.C.
If you are injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident and make a claim for no-fault benefits under Part 7, ICBC must pay for all reasonable expenses that you incur for necessary medical, surgical, dental, chiropractic and hospital treatment, as well as ambulance expenses, professional nursing services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prosthesis or orthosis. If you are totally disabled from work as a result of your injuries, ICBC will pay Temporary Total Disability benefits of up to $300.00/week. If you are unable to do your housework, ICBC will pay a maximum of $145.00/week for homemaking assistance. In the event of death resulting from a collision with a vehicle, ICBC will pay funeral expenses and survivors' benefits.
Photo of Lucila Munaretto taken from TheProvince.com
A recent tragic accident in North Vancouver brings this issue into focus. On August 13, 2015, the North Shore News reported that a young Argentinian woman in Canada on a work visa rollerbladed through a stop sign and into an intersection, where she was struck by a van. She was not wearing a helmet and sustained extensive head injuries. She was taken by ambulance to Lions Gate Hospital, where she was reported to be in critical condition.
Given that Munaretto was on rollerblades, rather than on foot or a bicycle, she may not be eligible for Part 7 benefits. However, if she has a BC driver's license, owns a car registered in BC, or lives with some who has one or the other, she will be covered under Part 7. Furthermore, she would be entitled to benefits under Part 7 even though (it would appear) the accident was her fault. Given the seriousness of her injuries, she will likely require a tremendous amount of expensive rehabilitation - and if she's covered under Part 7 ICBC will have to pay for it, up to a limit of $150,000.00.
So, if you've been injured in a pedestrian accident, cycling accident or any other collision with a motor vehicle, take a moment to consider whether you are eligible for ICBC Part 7 no-fault benefits. And if you're just not sure, call a lawyer to learn more about your rights.