Just like other jurisdictions, Alberta has various motorcycle helmet laws in place which pertain to motorcycle helmets. Motorcycle helmets can prevent head injuries in a crash. However, the helmet should be well constructed and meet the minimum compliance standards to ensure the greatest protection. For more information, please contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.
In Alberta, all motorcycle operators and passengers must wear a helmet when they are on the road. If a police officer stops them and cites them for failing to wear a helmet, they may have to pay a $155 penalty. However, an exception exists for riders and passengers who are at least 18 years old, are members of the Sikh religion, and wear turbans.
Moreover, the motorcycle helmet that an operator or passenger wears must meet minimum qualifications.
Labels or marks on the inside of a helmet that reference any of the following are compliant:
- CSA Standard CAN3-D230-M85
- DOT Standard No. 218
- British Standards Institution (BSI) Standard BS 6658
- Snell Memorial Foundation 2000, 2005, or 2010
- United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Regulation 22-05
Moreover, motorcycle riders must wear the proper type of helmet. To comply with the law, helmets must cover the rider’s chin, head, and face. The helmet should also protect the back of the rider’s skull. Helmets with a lighter colour are more visible if a rider becomes involved in a crash. If a helmet becomes damaged, the rider should replace it and avoid buying a used helmet. Finally, if a rider is in an accident, they should inspect their helmet and ensure that it does not contain cracks or other defects.
Even motorcycle riders who wear compliant helmets may suffer severe injuries in an accident. A brand-new helmet may crack if a rider strikes the ground with considerable force. Importantly, if a rider is not wearing a helmet and suffers injuries in an accident, they may still be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation.
Insurance companies might withhold payment because someone did not wear a helmet, but this is wrong. Even motorcyclists who suffer head injuries without a helmet have the right to obtain at least some compensation from liable parties.
If a motorcycle crash injured you, seek medical treatment at a hospital emergency room or urgent care facility in your area. Next, you should contact a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer who can handle the legal aspects of your claim.
First, your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine how it occurred and who caused it. Your lawyer can then file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve. If the insurance company adjuster refuses to award you the damages you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The cyclist almost always suffers more severe injuries when a car or truck strikes a motorcycle. The sheer force of an impact may knock the cyclist to the ground, causing severe injuries. In many circumstances, these accidents happen because of driver error and negligence.
Drivers are negligent when they act unreasonably under the circumstances. This typically means that the driver does something a reasonable driver would not do or fails to do what a reasonable driver would do under similar circumstances. Negligent driving encompasses road rule violations, distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and road rage.
However, defective roadway conditions and motorcycle parts may cause or contribute to the accident.
- Road rule violations – Common road rule violations that lead to motorcycle crashes include speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, tailgating, and failing to use turn signals at the appropriate times. When drivers engage in these careless maneuvers, they significantly increase their chances of causing a motorcycle crash.
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving means failing to observe the road. A driver can become distracted when they listen to loud music in their vehicle or roughhouse with passengers. Electronic devices, including cellular phones, tablets, and GPS devices, can also prove distracting. When a driver turns their head from the road, they may not see a nearby motorcycle approaching, bringing about a severe crash that leads to injuries.
- Intoxicated driving – A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated. Even drivers with a lower BAC might still experience the effects of alcohol impairment. Alberta imposes administrative sanctions if BAC is 0.05 percent or higher. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to concentrate and react to emergencies on the road, such as a traffic backup. Consequently, an impaired or intoxicated driver might not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash with a motorcycle.
- Road rage – Road rage happens when a driver reacts unreasonably to an actual or imagined situation. For instance, one driver may become impatient with a slow-moving driver, causing them to start driving aggressively and bringing about a collision.
Defective roadway conditions and motorcycle parts may also cause or contribute to a motorcycle accident. Cities and municipalities must properly maintain roadways in their jurisdictions. They must repair roadway defects, including deep cracks and potholes, within a reasonable period. When a cyclist strikes one of these roadway defects at high speed, the impact may dislodge the cyclist from their vehicle, causing them to strike the ground and suffer serious injuries. If the accident is traceable to a roadway defect, the accident victim can bring a claim against the city or municipality.
At other times, motorcycle crashes happen when motorcycle parts are defective. Part manufacturers must accurately design and construct motorcycle parts, including handlebars, steering mechanisms, tires, and braking systems. When a part malfunctions while the cyclist is on the road—and an accident occurs—the accident victim can bring a claim against all responsible entities in the distribution chain, including part manufacturers, designers, and distributors.
You have legal options if you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident resulting from someone else’s negligence. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can tell you what those options are and help you select the best option for your case. Your lawyer can then pursue the compensation you deserve through settlement or litigation.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can leave individuals seriously injured and debilitated. Many accident victims must undergo medical treatment—sometimes for an extended time. In addition, many cyclists wind up with permanent injuries that cause them pain and symptoms for the rest of their life.
A cyclist’s injuries in an accident depend upon various factors, including the type of accident and impact force. Common injuries include traumatic head and brain injuries, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries, road rash, cuts, abrasions, bruises, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and soft tissue injuries.
If you suspect you suffered an injury in your accident, you should seek emergency medical care at a hospital or urgent care center. This is true even if you are unsure about the extent of your injuries. Many injury symptoms do not manifest right away, and untreated injuries can become much more severe as time passes.
A hospital or urgent care medical provider can examine your body thoroughly and order the necessary imaging studies, including X-rays, brain scans, and MRIs, to ascertain the full extent of your medical condition. If you need emergency treatment for an injury, the provider can render that treatment right at the emergency room. Moreover, your provider can recommend appropriate follow-up treatment.
After a motorcycle crash, it is essential that you treat immediately for your injuries and that you continue your treatment until a medical provider formally discharges you. Otherwise, the insurance company may become skeptical of your injuries and assume they were not serious.
While you focus on seeking treatment and getting better, your lawyer can handle the legal components of your injury claim. Specifically, they can gather your medical treatment records, lost wage documents, and other paperwork and assemble them into a settlement demand package for the insurance company adjuster’s review.
Once the insurance company accepts fault for your motorcycle accident, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations and pursue the monetary recovery you deserve.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim With the Insurance Company
The claims-filing process begins when your lawyer sends a settlement demand letter and a complete demand package to the insurance company adjuster for review. If the adjuster accepts fault for the accident, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations with them.
In most motorcycle accident cases, it takes several rounds of negotiations before the insurance company makes a favourable offer to settle the claim. Insurance companies will do everything they can to undervalue a claim and save as much money as possible.
Therefore, you must have a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer on your side advocating for you and vigorously negotiating with the insurance company adjuster. If your case settles, it will end, and your lawyer will finalize the settlement documents. However, if the case does not settle, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and pursue litigation for you.
Just because your lawyer files suit does not necessarily mean that your injury case will proceed to trial. Most motorcycle accident claims settle long before trial. However, upon filing suit, the court will establish deadlines for the case—including a discovery deadline, settlement conference date, and jury trial date.
If the case ultimately goes to trial, the jury will resolve all disputed issues, including the amount of compensation to award you for your injuries. The parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration instead of trial. For example, in binding arbitration, the parties present evidence to a neutral arbitrator who decides the issue of damages.
Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending offer from the insurance company or litigate your case to a conclusion in court.
Potential Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases
The damages that motorcycle accident victims can recover vary from case to case.
Factors that influence settlement offers, jury verdicts, and arbitration awards include:
- The extent of the accident victim’s injuries
- The types of injuries the accident victim suffered
- Whether or not the accident victim sustained a permanent injury
To prove that an injury is permanent, a healthcare provider must state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the accident victim’s injury is unlikely to improve with time.
Potential items of damage that motorcycle crash victims can recover include compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal companionship and family support
Your lawyer can determine which of these damages you’re eligible to recover in your injury case and will work hard to maximize your monetary recovery.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash resulting from negligence, you must speak with an experienced lawyer right away. A motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can handle the legal components of your case while you focus your attention on fully recovering from your injuries.
In addition to investigating the accident circumstances, your lawyer can prepare a personal injury claim and file it with the insurance company on your behalf. Your lawyer can then negotiate a favourable settlement offer and, if necessary, bring your case to an efficient conclusion in the court system. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.