Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident for which another person is primarily at fault, you should do the following as soon as possible:
- Contact the police and provide the necessary information to complete an accident report;
- Advise your insurance company of the accident;
- Seek medical help, immediately; and
- Seek legal advice to ensure that you minimize your losses and maximize your gains.
After the accident, an insurance adjuster representing the other driver will probably call you. The adjuster’s job is to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. You are not obliged to provide them with any information, as it will likely be used against you.
If you settle your claim with the adjuster, it is likely final. You will have no further recourse against the other driver, regardless of the medical problems that you may suffer from later on.
The full extent of some neck and back injuries may not be apparent for several weeks – or even months – after the accident. It’s important that you take the time to assess your injuries before you settle your claim. Follow the advice of your medical and other health care practitioners.
Why hire a personal injury lawyer?
Having a lawyer on your side will give you the space to concentrate on your primary goal; recuperating from your injuries. By stepping in to deal with paperwork and procedures on your behalf, we protect you from being harassed by anyone (especially insurance adjusters) while you are recovering. Retaining a personal injury lawyer early on will protect your rights.
As you may know, Alberta’s Insurance Act recently changed so as to reduce injury payouts; those changes might not apply to you. You should consult a lawyer to determine if these changes affect you.
How does the legal process work?
Many personal injury claims can be resolved outside of court. If you have to sue, the first step is to issue a Statement of Claim against the responsible driver. In Alberta, you must file this document within 2 years of your accident to preserve your rights. Do not delay; your lawyer requires time to collect proper evidence for your claim and to meet legal deadlines.
If your claim cannot be settled with an insurance adjuster, then a Statement of Defence filed on behalf of the responsible driver will ultimately answer the claim. The amount of your settlement will be determined by your ability to prove that your injuries are or were caused by the accident. You will need evidence from your medical caregivers, private investigators, and independent and expert witnesses.
More serious claims require formal legal proceedings such as “Questioning”.
Questioning allows each lawyer to ask the opposite side questions which are relevant to the case. The questions and answers are under oath and recorded by a court reporter. After the Questioning, each side reassesses your claim and settlement discussion may occur. Under the Rules of Court, litigation must proceed to some form of aternative dispute resolution. As such, your claim might be subject to mediation or Judicial Dispute Resolution.
In the unlikely event that a settlement is not reached, your case would go to trial and be presented to a judge. He or she will hear the evidence and make a ruling as to who was responsible for the accident and the value of the damages you suffered.
The value of your personal injury claim
We will attempt to determine the fair value of your claim throughout the course of your matter.
Remember that your claim has two parts: General Damages and Special Damages.
- General Damages compensate you for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of housekeeping ability, and the loss of future income and;
- Special Damages compensate you for your actual economic loss, such as out-of-pocket expenses and loss of income to the date of settlement or trial.
How can I afford a lawyer?
You may be wondering how you can afford a lawyer, especially if you are unable to work and therefore have limited income after the accident. Most lawyers will take your case on a percentage of contingency fee basis. This means you do not have to pay for legal services until your claim is settled and funds are received from the other side. Fee agreements are usually based on results: your lawyer does not get paid unless your claim is successful.
At Vogel LLP, we are very experienced in the field of personal injury claims. This information, however, does not replace legal advice. Please call our Personal Injury Lawyers Calgary for a free consultation if you have suffered a serious personal injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident or assault. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you with your claim.