How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Canada

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If you have been injured by another’s negligent, reckless, or careless actions, you may be entitled to compensation for any resulting injuries and property damage. The steps you should take immediately following the accident vary, depending on the type of accident and the severity of your injuries. But whatever type of accident you are in, it is essential to file a personal injury claim as quickly as possible.

The Limitations Act prevents injury victims from suing after a certain amount of time. In Alberta, this window of opportunity opens on the day of the accident in question, and closes exactly two years later. Although there are some exceptions to this rule, they are rare. In most cases, if you fail to file an injury claim within the two-year window, you will be unable to recover any damages. On occasion, the discovery rule creates an exception to the start date imposed by the Limitations Act.

Generally speaking, the two-year  timeframe within which to file a claim begins on the date of the accident, as this is the date that any resulting injuries are discovered. However, some injuries may not present symptoms for days, weeks, or even months.

Consider the following scenario: Georgina is injured when she slips on ice in a store parking lot. She hits her head but chooses not to bring a claim because no serious injuries are apparent. Two weeks later, Georgina goes to the doctor complaining of migraine headaches. A brain scan shows that she suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this case, the injury was discovered two weeks after Georgina’s accident, not on the day it occurred. Due to the discovery rule, the two-year time clock begins ticking on the day her TBI is diagnosed.

Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury law encompasses any injury caused by the negligence of another. The at-fault party may be a driver who crashes his car into yours because he’s distracted, a store owner whose walkway you slip on because she failed to shovel snow, or the manufacturer of a defective toy that injures your child. For a personal injury claim to result in compensation, however, you have to prove that negligence caused your injury and that you suffered actual damages. If these elements are present, you likely have a valid claim.

Taking immediate action by contacting an injury lawyer is the single best step you can take toward recovering the compensation you deserve. Although the type and amount of damages available to you will vary depending on the particulars of your case, common damages in personal injury cases include:

  • Medical expenses, including hospitalization, visits to the doctor, medications, surgery, rehab/therapy, and medical equipment;
  • Future medical expenses, if the condition is likely to be long-term or permanent;
  • Lost income;
  • Loss of earning potential, if the victim is unlikely to return to work for an extended period of time or permanently;
  • Emotional pain and suffering; and
  • Property damage.

Actions to Take Immediately Following a Personal Injury

If another’s negligence has caused you harm, take action. The tips below will help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Document the accident.

The more evidence you have, the better. In addition to obtaining the name and contact information of anyone present, it is always a good idea to use your phone to take pictures. If you have any visible injuries, photograph them immediately; bruises heal quickly. Also take pictures of property damage and anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a spill on the grocery store floor, or the skid marks leading to the car that crashed into you.

Speaking of motor vehicle accidents, if you are involved in a collision, make sure to get the other driver’s insurance information, and call 911 immediately. In addition to ensuring everyone’s safety, having police on the scene will result in the creation of an official police report. This can be invaluable to a personal injury lawsuit.

It’s also important to document details after the accident—keep a journal or log and make notes of your doctor appointments, car repairs, medical recovery, and any related expenses. Memories fade quickly, but writing everything down ensures that this important evidence is preserved and protected if you decide to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Contact a personal injury lawyer.

The last thing you should be worried about after a serious accident is paperwork, dealing with other involved parties, and negotiating with insurance companies. In addition to shouldering this burden for you, an experienced injury lawyer will know how to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve. Insurance companies are notorious for offering as little as possible to injury victims. They know that most people desperately need the money to cover medical bills and lost wages, and they take advantage of this need by offering a pittance.

Whatever you do, never make a written or verbal statement to any insurance company before consulting with legal counsel. A good personal injury lawyer, such as the team at Vogel Verjee, will analyze your case, calculate the amount of compensation you deserve, and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. The goal should always be to settle outside of court, but be sure that your chosen lawyer is prepared to go to trial if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.

January 12, 2021 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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