OBTAINING COMPENSATION FOR YOUR ACCIDENT INJURIES
If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the person who is at fault. The guidelines below are a list of 10 steps to follow respecting your claim:
- See your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor or other appropriate health care provider as soon as possible after the accident. This is important, not only for medical reasons, but also to ensure that you cannot later be held partly responsible for failing to take reasonable steps to seek treatment for your injuries and to ensure that you have medical experts who can testify about your injuries.
- Contact your insurer if you are in a motor vehicle accident and advise them of the accident. In addition to any collision coverage which you may have, your own insurance policy automatically allows reimbursement of some medical expenses up to a certain limit and will pay you a maximum of $300.00 per week for two years if you are totally disabled and cannot work.
- You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. You can attempt to resolve your claim on your own but, since an insurance professional will be representing the person at fault, you are at a distinct disadvantage without legal representation. Further, there are strict time limits for bringing a claim for damages for personal injuries and for receiving benefits from your own insurer. Your lawyer can advise you of these and explain the process involved in making your claim. If you have already received a settlement offer before contacting a lawyer, you should be aware of the risk in settling too quickly. Once you have accepted a settlement offer, you cannot later claim for more money if your injuries take longer to resolve or turn out to be more serious than you originally expected. Your lawyer can advise you as to the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive as well as when you should consider discussing settlement.
- Take photographs of your injuries, your vehicle, and the accident site. These can be used as evidence later on. Be sure to keep a record of the dates on which any photos are taken and indicate who took the photos.
- Keep an ongoing record of your injuries and their effect on your life. This will help to inform your lawyer and refresh your memory. Be aware that any record which you keep may have to be provided to the opposing side, especially if you prepare the records prior to retaining a lawyer.
- Prepare a written statement as soon as possible after the accident, setting out all details of the accident. Include a list of names and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Keep in mind that any written statement may be used in court unless you prepared the statement for the purpose of informing your lawyer.
- Keep receipts for all medical expenses and other expenses relating to the accident. Some of these can be recovered from your own insurer. The remainder can be claimed against the person at fault.
- Be prepared to discuss your past medical history. This may be a factor in the amount you can claim for your injuries resulting from the accident.
- Follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor or other health care provider. Attend all appointments booked including referrals to other medical specialists and appointments for tests ordered by your health care provider. You are obligated by law to take reasonable steps to reduce your damages. If you fail to follow the treatment that has been prescribed, the amount of your claim may be reduced on the basis that you are partly responsible for the extent of your injuries.
- Finally, you should avoid discussing your claim with the insurance company for the person at fault. Any statements which you make may be used in court. Instead, it is preferable for your lawyer to handle all communications with the opposing insurer.
This Article is provided as a public service and is not intended to be legal advice. For further information please contact our offices.
Public Service Documents > Been in an Accident?
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