Your Personal Injury Claim – 5 Common Questions
You’ve been injured in an accident – what do you do next? Despite approximately 59,000 injuries reported each year in B.C, many are still unsure what to do when they have been injured, or how to approach a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim can be a complex and intimidating process. Here are 5 of the most common questions asked regarding personal injury claims:
1. What should I do first when filing a personal injury claim?In order to facilitate your personal injury claim, it is important to record and preserve as much information relating to your accident as possible. Some things to consider:
- Contact your family doctor immediately to schedule an appointment. If you do not have a family doctor, seek treatment at the nearest walk-in medical clinic or the local emergency room.
- Gather the names and contact information of the other driver(s), vehicle(s), any witnesses to the accident, or anyone that provided you with assistance and/or any other party that has discussed the accident with you or are familiar with the area of the accident.
- If possible, take photographs of the area of the accident immediately. Be sure to take photographs of the injuries that you sustained at the time of the accident also. Take a photograph or make a note of vehicle damage, road and weather conditions.
- Continue to visit your doctor regularly and keep him/her informed. Keep a diary or log of your symptoms, and any days you miss work due to your injury.
- Keep receipts of all related expenses (i.e. medical, prescription, transportation)
- Check for other insurance coverage (i.e. through your work, school, or private plans).
2. What am I entitled to in a personal injury claim?
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident – or been hurt in a non-vehicular accident – you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Each person’s situation is different, and determining what you may be able to claim in compensation requires talking with an experienced BC personal injury lawyer.
If you were injured by another party, then you are entitled to compensation. You can sue to recover the cost of medicine, medical devices, treatment, and anything else related to your injury and recovery. These are “pecuniary” damages with an attached dollar amount.
You can also sue for compensation for lost wages, both during the recovery process and for wages you will lose in the future due to reduced performance as a result of the accident. Finally, you can sue for pain and suffering, which is something we call “non-pecuniary” damages. These do not have a specific cost associated with them, but they are compensated for monetarily.
Some injuries might be more difficult to claim than others. This is why it’s important to have an experienced BC personal injury lawyer to achieve maximum compensation.
3. I’m at fault for the accident, do I get compensation?
If you are found responsible for the accident, you will not receive compensation, but you may be entitled to “no fault” benefits. These include medical and rehabilitation benefits such as physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, costs of medications, wage loss benefits for total disability, homemaker benefits and death benefits.
4. How much is my personal injury claim worth?
The amount of any settlement is dependent on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the cost of your medical care and other expenses, and the long-term physical, financial and emotional impact your injuries will have on your life. This area of the law is complex, and talking with an experienced personal injury lawyer is the best way to determine what a claim and eventual settlement might look like.
5. Do I need a lawyer?
A lawyer is not required to pursue a personal injury claim, but depending on the severity of your injuries, a lawyer is recommended. Those who have been involved in a serious accident and sustained substantial injuries (e.g. broken bones, concussion, severe whiplash), or are likely to miss a significant amount of time away from work as a result of the accident, should consult with a lawyer.
If you have concern that your injuries may last longer than a few weeks, if there is an issue as to who is at fault for the accident, issues with insurance coverage or other complicating factors, it is also strongly recommended that you contact a BC personal injury lawyer.
You are able to hire a lawyer at any point prior to settling your claim. It is unwise to settle a claim without legal advice unless all injury symptoms have fully resolved, because you cannot recover more down the road if your personal injury claim has already settled.
In many cases, an individual representing themselves cannot recover the maximum compensation they deserve. Contact us today at 604-565-8800 for a free consultation. We would be happy to assist you at any stage in your personal injury claim.