1I was in a car accident. Can I still sue?
You can still sue for damages provided you meet certain criteria. Car accident victims with permanent and serious injuries are eligible for compensation under Ontario law. Even those with less serious injuries may be able to obtain compensation. Some of the factors to be considered are the nature of the injury and impairment, its impact on the ability to work, and how social and recreational activities are affected. The law is very complex and each case is different. It is best to consult a lawyer.
2What are accident benefits?
If you are injured in a car accident, you have a contractual right to claim accident benefits from your own insurance company regardless of fault for the accident. These benefits may include disability payments to replace lost income, money to cover attendant care or caregiving expenses, money to pay for house cleaning and maintenance, or payment for physiotherapy and other medical and rehabilitation expenses. Accident benefits are designed to assist victims in recovering. Although entitlement is statutory, there are monetary and time limits. Losses not covered by accident benefits may be recoverable in tort.
3What is a tort claim?
Tort simply refers to the wrongdoing or negligence of the person who caused the injury. Disregard for the safety of others can cause harm to innocent victims. It may involve carelessness while driving a car, or neglecting to shovel snow from a walkway. Whatever the reason, a tort can make a person legally responsible to pay compensation to another who is injured as a result of the negligence.
4Can I handle my own accident claim?
Your insurance company may have contacted you about your claim. It is important to recognize that insurance adjusters are looking after the interests of their employers, and that your interests may be different. To the extent that you require treatment, compensation and benefits which your insurer refuses to pay, you require legal assistance to dispute the insurer’s refusal or termination of benefits. We specialize in disputes over entitlement to accident benefits.
5How much will it cost to pursue an accident claim?
Retaining us does not cost you any money upfront. The initial consultation is always free, and there is no obligation. If we decide to represent you, we will invest our time and effort into your case and work at it to the best of our ability. We are paid an agreed upon percentage of the compensation we recover for you. Otherwise you do not pay. We also invest our own money into your case, covering costs such as doctors and expert fees. These expenses are necessary to support your case. Known as “disbursements”, these costs can add up but are recovered from the insurer as part of the settlement or court award. The contingency fee agreement is set out in our retainer and is fully discussed when we are retained, so that there are no surprises when the case is resolved.
6How much is my case worth?
No two cases are alike, and every case has its own set of facts and circumstances. The actual injury itself is but one factor to be considered. More important is how the injury affects the individual, and the nature of the impairments on work and other aspects of life. In addition to compensation for pain and suffering, an injured accident victim may also be entitled to compensation for loss of income, housekeeping and other out-of-pocket expenses, and past and future care expenses not covered by OHIP or other health plans. Liability and practical considerations may affect recovery. Our knowledge and experience in personal injury law allow us to give you an informed opinion on the value of your case. Whatever the facts, we are committed to working hard on behalf of our clients to ensure they receive the best possible compensation available under Ontario law. We would be pleased to discuss your case with you. Call for a free consultation.
7How long will it take to resolve my case?
There are many factors which determine how long it will take us to settle or resolve a case. Because the value of an injury case cannot be accurately assessed until we have a prognosis from a qualified doctor, an injury which is complex will usually take longer to resolve. While we strive to resolve a claim as soon as reasonably possible, in cases where maximum medical recovery is not yet reached, it is usually in the best interests of the client to await the outcome of medical and rehabilitation treatment before settlement is considered. Otherwise, there is a risk that full and fair compensation may not be obtained. Other factors include the degree of co-operation we receive from treating doctors, insurance adjusters, opposing lawyers, the court system and others in scheduling and completing important procedures such as medical assessments and reports, examinations for discovery, mediations and pre-trial dates. Although the great majority of cases settle out of court, there are a number of steps that must be completed before a case can be settled and finished. Getting through the process can be time-consuming but we remain completely committed to our clients’ cases throughout.