Suing after a motorcycle accident
Riding a motorcycle can be a fun and exhilarating activity. There are many beautiful places to visit in Nova Scotia and travelling by motorcycle is one of the many ways to take in our natural landscapes. However, motorcycle accidents can leave riders with devastating injuries.
For 30 years, we’ve been helping people involved in motorcycle accidents receive fair compensation for their injuries. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident and would like to learn your legal rights, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer for a free consultation on your motorcycle injury claim.
What should you do after a motorcycle accident has occurred?
If you are injured a motorcycle accident, the priority is to ensure that you are safe and receive any necessary medical attention. Emergency services should be called to the accident scene, including police so that a report of the accident is created.
You should try to gather as much information as possible, including the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident, information about weather and road conditions, the insurance and contact information of any other drivers involved, and photos of the accident scene. Once you’ve received any required emergency medical treatment, you should contact a law firm to begin your personal injury claim process.
You should ensure that following your accident, you make appointments and follow-up with your family doctor or other medical professional, to make sure you get the medical care you need and to help your lawyer build your personal injury file.
When your legal team opens your motorcycle accident case, they will retrieve all your relevant medical records, the police report, and any other important documents that they will need to build your case and ensure you receive full and fair compensation. They will also take over correspondence with the at fault driver ‘s insurance representatives, and much of the communication with your own insurance provider, so that you can enjoy peace of mind while they negotiate a fair settlement and ensure that you have every possible advantage moving forward with your recovery.
Common questions about motorcycle accident injuries
Motorcycles are motor vehicles under Nova Scotia law, and because of that, they are treated by the legal system the same as a car, truck, or any other motor vehicle on the road.
Visit our Motor Vehicle Accidents section for answers to common questions that apply to all motor vehicles, such as:
- What is the deadline on filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit?
- How much is my injury claim worth?
- What if the other driver is uninsured or unidentified?
- Should I accept the settlement my insurance company offers me?
- Do I have to make a statement to my insurance company?
- How long does a personal injury claim take to resolve?
Motorcycle riders are required to have an insurance policy on their vehicle, just like drivers of other on-road vehicles. When an insurance company denies a motorcycle accident claim, or liability for the accident is in question, a personal injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Can you sue after a motorcycle accident?
Yes, in Nova Scotia you can make a claim against the driver who caused your injuries. First, you have to prove the other party is at fault and then provide evidence of your injuries.
Can a motorcycle driver sue even if they are partially at fault for the accident?
Yes, you can still sue the other driver if you were partially at fault for the accident. In some motorcycle accidents, the fault may lie both with the rider and the driver of another vehicle. Partial fault on behalf of the injured party is called contributory negligence. When a rider is partially at fault in a motorcycle accident, they will still be entitled to a portion of the damages. This amount will be equal to the percentage of fault the other driver has for the collision.
The Contributory Negligence Act, RSNS 1989, c 95, explains that where possible, a Court will determine the degree of fault apportioned to each driver based on the facts. In the rare occasion it is not possible for the Court to determine fault, they will split it evenly between the drivers.
For instance, if an accident between a motorcycle and truck occurred, and the truck driver was found to be 75% at fault, and the settlement was valued at $100,000, then the compensation awarded to the rider would be $75,000 for the truck driver’s negligence.
If you are accused of being totally or partially at fault for an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help in collecting the necessary facts to minimize the partial fault arguments and evaluate the claim to its full potential. Contact us for a free consultation.
When is another driver at fault for a motorcycle accident?
Another driver is at fault when their driving was substandard and that caused or contributed to the accident. The standard for driving in Nova Scotia is determined by referencing the rules in the Motor Vehicle Act, RSNS 1989, c 293, and past case law.
Examples of where another driver could be at fault are:
- Cars making left hand turns: Some drivers may not notice an oncoming motorcycle and proceed into their path of travel. (see Sections 101 and 114A of the Motor Vehicle Act).
- Distracted driving: Drivers engaging in activities such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating while driving can easily miss motorcycles on the road, leading to collisions.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces the time drivers have to react to motorcycles, increasing the likelihood of accidents. (see Section 93 of the Motor Vehicle Act).
- Failure to yield right of way: Drivers who fail to yield to motorcycles at intersections or when changing lanes are a significant cause of motorcycle accidents.
- Impaired driving: Alcohol, drugs, or other substances impair a driver’s judgment and reaction time, significantly increasing the risk of accidents involving motorcycles.
- Improper driving for road or weather conditions: Hazards like potholes, loose gravel, or debris on the road can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, especially when drivers take action to avoid hazards without regard for nearby motorcyclists.
- Inexperienced drivers: Motorcycles require specific skills and training to operate safely. Inexperienced riders may lack the necessary knowledge to navigate challenging situations.
What kind of injuries can someone in a motorcycle accident get compensation for?
A person injured in a motorcycle accident in Nova Scotia is entitled to compensation from the driver who was at fault for the accident. Common injuries for which motorcyclists get compensated include:
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
- Serious fractures
- Spinal injuries and spinal cord injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
- Psychological trauma
Because of the lack of protection to the rider, motorcycle collisions can tragically not only result in catastrophic injuries, but often also result in fatalities. When a loved one has passed away in a fatal motorcycle accident, an experienced injury lawyer can help the deceased’s next of kin recover compensation from the negligent driver.
Are you entitled to no-fault or Section B insurance when you are in a motorcycle accident?
Yes, in Nova Scotia, Section B no-fault benefits are mandatory and cover motorcycle accidents. Because motorcycles are considered motor vehicles under Nova Scotia law, no-fault accident benefits – often called Section B – apply to individuals with motorcycle injury claims in the same way as they apply to those with traditional motor vehicle claims.
No-fault accident benefits are called ‘no fault’ because they apply to anyone with motor vehicle insurance, no matter which driver’s negligence caused the accident. This is also the case for motorcycle accident claims – motorcycle riders involved in collisions are eligible for Section B benefits under their motor vehicle insurance policy. Section B expenses can potentially cover medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses related to your accident.
For a more comprehensive explanation of Section B benefits, please see our Section B Benefits section.
If you are in a motorcycle accident, how can you prove you are not at fault?
You can show you did your part to prevent or minimize the effects of the motorcycle accident by:
- Showing photos of the protective gear you wore, including a helmet with eye protection
- Demonstrating your conduct of regular safety in performance checks before riding
- Practicing maneuvering skills in a private lot
- Explaining awareness of the “invisible motorcycle” phenomenon (perceptual blindness to motorcycles)
- Staying out of other drivers’ blind spots
- Avoiding lane splitting
- Staying alert
- Giving yourself time and space to react to dangerous situations on the road
Taking the steps above can prevent a motorcycle crash and eliminate the need for a personal injury lawyer altogether. However, if a motorcycle accident occurs, the injury lawyers at MacGillivray Law are ready to take on your legal claim and protect your interests.
Are there Nova Scotia court cases about motorcycle accident injuries?
Yes, there are published court decisions in Nova Scotia where motorcyclists received compensation through the Courts. Keep in mind that each case is unique, and no two situations will be identical. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to get input from a lawyer. With the help of an experienced lawyer, most injury claims settle before they reach court.
Blenus v. Fraser,  NSJ No 97, 2021 NSSC 79
Mr. Blenus was riding his motorcycle on Bennett’s Bay Road near Canning, Nova Scotia, when an oncoming vehicle made a left turn in front of him, causing a collision. Mr. Blenus was thrown from his motorbike on impact, causing serious injuries, including a broken scapula and clavicle, several rib fractures, a collapsed lung, and soft tissue injuries. He later developed chronic pain due to his injuries. The Court awarded $100,000 in general damages, $25,000 for loss of housekeeping and valuable services, and $25,000 for costs of future care. However, the Court also found that the Mr. Blenus had not mitigated his damages, since he did not attend any regular rehabilitative treatment, did not seek appropriate medical attention after a subsequent fall, and was not cooperative with his treating physicians. The Court accordingly reduced his damages by 25%.
Tibbetts v. Murphy, 2015 NSSC 280
Ms. Tibbetts was riding her motorcycle with friends on a gravel road. In attempting to avoid hitting another member of Ms. Tibbets’ party, the Defendant’s truck collided with the Ms. Tibbett’s motorcycle. She suffered a fracture to her left tibia, a fracture to her left fibula, and a dislocated and fractured left hip. Her functional abilities were severely limited for many months following the accident.
The Court found that Ms. Tibbetts was contributorily negligent because she could have seen and avoided the Defendant’s vehicle if she had been paying more attention. Accordingly, the Court apportioned liability two-thirds to Ms. Tibbetts and one-third to the Defendant. The Court also found that Ms. Tibbetts failed to mitigate her damages by declining some available treatment which could reasonably have improved her recovery. The Court assessed general damages at $30,000, resulting in an actual award of $20,000 after the reductions for shared liability.
We represent people injured in motorcycle accidents in Nova Scotia
Due to the lack of protection afforded by motorcycles, riders are particularly vulnerable to severe injury caused by accidents. Just like in other motor vehicle accidents, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical bills and medical treatment, lost income, loss of valuable services, and pain and suffering caused by a motorcycle accident. MacGillivray Law has 30 years of experience defending the interests of motorcycle accident victims and helping them get compensation from insurance companies. Contact our firm today for a free consultation and learn how we can fight for you.
Motor Vehicle Act, RSNS 1989, c 293.
Contributory Negligence Act, RSNS 1989, c 95.
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MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.
If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.
If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.