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Ballerina Sustains Major Injuries After Rollerblading Accident

August 28, 2015 | Accident & Injury

A few short weeks ago a tragic rollerblading accident occurred when a young ballerina from Argentina collided with a Toyota van in North Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun reported that Lucila Munaretto, 20, has awoken from her medically induced coma. She is making amazing progress in her recovery from severe head injuries and a shattered jaw caused by the car accident. Although she has a long recovery, we hope that she will once again dance after this tragedy.

Rollerblading and skateboarding on public roads can be very dangerous to the rider and driver alike. This is not the first accident to occur in North Vancouver where the streets are steep and stopping on wheels is extremely difficult. It is important to also wear safety gear, so if an accident occurs a person has some level of protection. Like a seatbelt in a car, using a proper helmet for the sport – biking, skiing, rollerblading or skateboarding – can make all the difference in avoiding a traumatic brain injury.

Visitors to Canada and ICBC accident claims

This accident brings to light the legal and financial challenges visitors to Canada have when they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Not all ICBC insurance rules will apply to a person injured in a car accident. A person who is not a Canadian citizen will have the same rights to sue if they have been injured in a car accident, but benefits for medical treatments are more complicated. There are considerations regarding long-term treatment after they leave Canada. In addition, Part 7 benefits may not apply.

What are ICBC Part 7 Benefits?

In general terms, Part 7 Benefits cover medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses and wage loss regardless of who is at fault in a car accident. The first step in claiming Part 7 Benefits is to meet the definition of “insured”. If you are a visitor to Canada and have been injured in a car accident in Vancouver or anywhere in BC, get the advice of an ICBC claims lawyer to review your specific situation and help you determine your legal rights to claim compensation.

Knowing the rules of the road in Vancouver

Bicycles and devices that are classified as “coasters” such as skateboards, skates and push-scooters, fall under different regulations. Bikes are governed by the Motor Vehicle Act and coasters are regulated by city by-laws. The original Vancouver Sun news story reported that North Vancouver RCMP spokesman Cpl. Richard De Jong speculated the woman might not have been familiar with the road or stop sign.

“Accidents involving non-vehicles and a non-residents are very complicated”, reports Manjot Hallen, Personal Injury Lawyer in Vancouver. “It’s always best to seek medical care and legal advice. An injured party will want to seek compensation for injuries.”

Although rollerblading and skate boarding is legal on public roads, there are many regulations set out by the Vancouver Street and Traffic Bylaws (Section 77A Riding, Coasting And Sliding On Streets). Generally, coasting is allowed on minor streets but a person must wear a helmet and other safety gear such as elbow and wrist guards and must not wear headphones or ear buds.

A few safety tips to follow if you are embarking on the roadways of British Columbia

  • Istock Photo

    PALS – blade: polite, alert, legal and smart!

    Always wear safety gear – helmet, knee and elbow pads, reflective clothing

  • Know your city by-law rules – each city will have different rules
  • Don’t be distracted with music – be able to hear traffic and other people
  • Coast off-road in safe areas – use parks, empty parking lots, deserted roads, and designated bike trails
  • Know your level of experience – think skiing levels: Green, Blue, Black
  • Know your route – steep hills and curves can be hard to navigate
  • Take lessons – learn from a pro before you hit the streets

Last but not least, according to Lorne Milne, Skating (Inline & Roller) Instructor with LMBladeskool:

  • Roll safely following P.A.L.S. wisdom – blade Politely; blade Alert, blade Legal, & blade Smart.

If you have been injured in an personal injury accident that involves a coaster, contact Warnett Hallen LLP. We are the Vancouver personal injury firm that has the experience to handle complex ICBC cases in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.


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