Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Written By: Dianne Henderson, Medical Consultant.
“One moment in time can change a million after it. I never imagined that anything like this would happen to me; never mind deciding on who would be the right lawyer to represent me; is willing to fight with me, for happiness I seek once again; for what I believe to be right. I found that assurance in Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers.” – Sandra Sandra came to Gluckstein Lawyers after being involved in a serious car accident. Like Sandra, you may find yourself considering whether you need to hire a lawyer to represent you because you suffered severe injuries and you know the law is complicated. In this blog post, I will go over some of the factors to consider when contemplating hiring a personal injury lawyer. In these cases, hiring a car accident lawyer will be well worth the fees paid in order to advance your best interests. This is because, in many situations, particularly where serious injuries are involved, only a qualified personal injury lawyer can obtain the compensation you deserve and may require for the rest of your life.
Protecting your rights.
In Ontario, there is a unique system for obtaining compensation for car accident injuries. Although quite complicated, an experienced personal injury lawyer can inform you of your rights, assist you in navigating your claim through the complex system, and help you obtain full and just compensation.
Here are five factors you should consider if you are thinking about hiring a personal injury lawyer:
1. The severity of your injuries
If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, and neither party suffered injuries, and there was little to no property damage, hiring an injury lawyer may not be necessary. However, if you sustained severe injuries as a result of an accident that will require long-term care or have left you with permanent disabilities, you should immediately hire a lawyer. To get the most out of your personal injury case or lawsuit, you need a lawyer who can pursue all available compensation forms for your injuries and other losses. Moreover, figuring out how your injuries will impact your present and future earning capacity can be difficult and generally requires expert assistance. The amount of compensation you ultimately receive for your injuries largely depends on the degree of severity of the injuries and impairments. Insurance companies measure the severity of your impairments by the extent of treatment reasonably necessary, the length of your recovery time, and the impact the injuries have had and will continue to have on your income earning ability and your quality of life.
2. Liability is not clear
The term “no-fault insurance” can be a misleading term for many people. However, no-fault insurance does not mean those drivers involved in car accidents are never at fault. Someone is usually at fault in a car accident. A driver can be anywhere between 100% and 0% at fault. Who is at fault will be a major factor in how you proceed through the insurance claim. Be aware that anything you say to your own insurer will be considered by the insurer in determining your entitlement to benefits. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to discuss your legal rights before you fill out the insurance forms. You will have 30 days to send back the forms to the insurance company.
3. There are multiple parties involved in the accident
If you were involved in a car accident where multiple parties may be liable for your injuries, you should contact a lawyer. When multiple parties are involved in an accident, dealings with insurance companies can be very complicated. Because several people may have been injured, there may not be as much settlement money to cover all claims fully. You could also be alleged by another party to be partially at fault, ultimately having your settlement reduced because of your proportional fault for the accident. You should always contact a personal injury lawyer if you have been injured in a car accident and may be partially at fault for the accident. A car accident lawyer can help protect you against legal claims by the other parties involved in the accident.
4. Economic loss & non-economic loss
If you have missed more than a couple of days of work or school, or if you can’t engage in your usual activities, it may be worth considering hiring a personal injury lawyer. Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering damages, damages for emotional trauma, and loss of companionship, are typical but complex claims under Ontario’s compensation system. In these types of cases, you should hire a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive the total amount of compensation for which you are entitled.
5. Insurance company refuses to pay
Sometimes, insurance companies simply refuse to make a fair settlement offer or refuse to make any settlement offer at all. It is not recommended that you settle a serious personal injury claim on your own, directly with the insurer. However, if you trying to do so and are unable to secure a fair settlement offer, or negotiations with the insurance company have broken down, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. There is also a chance that an insurance company, in responding to your claim, is engaged in a bad faith or unfair practice. In that case, you will need assistance from a lawyer who has experience litigating such insurance claims.
How to hire a personal injury lawyer.
If you were involved in any of the scenarios discussed above, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is an important decision. Your lawyer will represent your interests in settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and will do so in court should you and your lawyer agree that filing a personal injury lawsuit is necessary.
How long after a car accident can I make a claim?
You must notify your own insurance company within seven days, or as soon as reasonably possible, that you wish to apply for no-fault accident benefits. You must file a completed Application for Accident Benefits with your insurance company within 30 days after receiving it. You have two years in Ontario within which to bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party for a personal injury claim. It is best to contact a lawyer early to ensure that proper steps are taken, notices are given, and deadlines are not missed. You do not have to retain a lawyer right away, but it can help you learn about your legal rights.
Our commitment to full circle care.
At Gluckstein Lawyers, our team of compassionate personal injury lawyers will be there if you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident. Our commitment to full-circle care ensures that you can count on us to be with you so you can focus on getting better. We will walk you through the various legal resources available and explain how they relate to your case. To learn more about how helping you work through the steps to recovery after a personal injury is part of Gluckstein Lawyers’ commitment to full-circle care, contact Dianne Henderson.
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