I was injured in a car accident. Can I make a claim?
Yes. With some minor exceptions, everyone involved in a car accident, including pedestrians and bicyclists, can make a claim, regardless of fault, for accident benefits, which include some compensation for income loss and rehabilitation expenses, all subject to certain statutory limits.
I was injured in a car accident. Do I have a claim for compensation in addition to accident benefits?
Yes, if someone else is to blame for your injuries. With some limited exceptions, if the accident is not your fault, you can bring an action for compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, expenses, among other things.
If I want to retain a lawyer, what is my next step?
Call up and make an appointment and discuss your case with the lawyer. Most lawyers who restrict their practice to personal injury claims will not charge for an initial interview.
What is my case worth?
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, and if the accident was caused through the fault of someone else, and if you have injuries which your doctor feels are significant, then a court will in all likelihood give you an award for damages, anywhere from a very modest amount, to six or seven figure amount. Typical personal injury awards involving injuries with a reliable diagnosis and a degree of persistence, called chronicity, are in the five figure range. The award is very much based on what the court feels to be reliable evidence.
How long will my case take?
Most personal injury cases can be set for trial within a year or two of accident. If there is a settlement, this will usually take place shortly prior to trial. Most personal injury cases do settle. If the case cannot be settled, the court will decide the matter.
In what circumstances would my case have to go to trial?
As long as liability is not in issue, trials are generally about income loss. Very few cases go to trial solely on the basis of a disputed diagnosis with respect to the injuries.
How long does the trial take?
Most personal injury trials are set for anywhere from 2 to 10 days of trial time.
How much of my time will the court case take?
Typically, the person making the claim will attend at a meeting called the Examination for Discovery, which usually lasts for half a day to a full day. The person making the claim will be questioned about the details of their claim, particularly medical issues and income loss. The process is essentially the Defence counsel’s way of taking a detailed statement.
The additional time involved in the case will be preparation for the trial, if trial is necessary, and this preparation will take a number of hours.
How do I pay the lawyer?
Most personal injury lawyers charge their clients a percentage fee, known as contingency, payable at the end of the case from the proceeds recovered by settlement or judgment.
How do the lawyer and I communicate?
Email is pretty universal these days and has become the preferred communication method of many lawyers. If email is not available, then telephone calls and traditional mail are used.