Hurt? We can help.
We would like you to focus on getting better and your legal case concerns to us. Each case we handle is assigned an experienced team to promptly help you. If you sustain injuries arising out of a motor vehicle collision, a slip and fall, an assault or any other injury resulting from someone else’s negligence, you could potentially bring a civil action for compensation for the injuries. We’d like to help.
Why You Need to Seek Legal Advice
There are many factors involved in a personal injury action. For example, if you lost wages as a result of injuries, lost your job entirely, required a stay in hospital, or had previous health problems that are now affecting recovery from the injury in question. Any of these factors or others could impact on the amount of compensation you receive. It is highly recommended that a person who claims to have suffered injuries as a consequence of someone else’s fault or negligence seek legal advice at the first opportunity. Do not give up your advantages in your case to an insurance company. Instead, get legal advice.
New Legislation (“Caps”)
There has been a great deal of discussion regarding changes to automobile insurance claims since November 1, 2003. At this point, there have been limited cases that interpret and/or apply the new legislation, so it remains to be seen what effect the new legislation will have. In July of 2010, the definition of what constitutes a minor injury was narrowed. There have been no Nova Scotia cases to date which interpret this more narrow definition of “minor injury”. The law is still evolving, but what is clear is that claims are not necessarily “capped” at $2,500 for claims prior to 1 July 2010 or $7,500 after that date, with annual indexing to inflation.
It is important to collect the evidence on your case at the earliest opportunity and keep in mind that there are limitations (i.e. deadlines) for bringing actions.
These limitation periods are dependent on the type and cause of action of your case (i.e. whether you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, a slip and fall, assault or other incident). Associated with some deadlines or limitation periods can be further notice periods. That is, in certain situations before an action can be started, you must give prior notice to the person (or party) being sued of your intention to sue, such as when pursuing a civic body.
Starting An Action
Actions for personal injury usually have at least two issues: “liability” and “damages”. Liability simply translates into which party/parties is/are at fault for the injuries. Liability may be apportioned between multiple parties if each was negligent and contributed to the injuries. Damages are the sum total of all the losses that a person has suffered as a consequence of the particular personal injury. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of claims:
- Everyday pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, restrictions, etc.;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Past lost income or earning capacity;
- Cost of future care;
- Future lost income;
- Pre-judgment interest; and
- Legal costs.
To be successful in an action you have to prove that the opposing party was negligent and that you have sustained injuries and possibly other loss as a consequence of this negligence.
Your lawyer will ensure you do not settle for an unreasonable sum and ensure that you are fully aware of all sources of compensation available.
When you retain a lawyer, the usual procedure for the lawyer is to make initial contact with the defendant’s insurance company (the insurer of the person alleged to be at fault in the circumstances).
Contact is also made with your doctors, physiotherapists and any other members of the medical community who have offered treatment, in order to assess the extent of damages and injuries. Often medical reports are collected and exchanged between your lawyer and the insurance company. Once those treating you advise that your medical condition has reached a plateau, a demand or claim for damages is submitted in writing to the insurance company.
By handling a very large volume of cases such as yours and having done this type of legal work for years, we bring a favourable, capable presence to these negotiations. Often cases are resolved at this stage.
If there is not a settlement reached by negotiating with the insurance company directly, then your case is prepared and referred to the insurance company’s lawyer. Your lawyer and the insurance company’s lawyer then enter the formal legal process that deals with: exchange of documents, discovery hearings, settlement negotiations and possibly trial, until an agreement is reached or a trial is conducted.
Who is at fault and what are the damages?
Fault is often determined by collecting statements of witnesses and, on occasion, expert reports. For example, in a motor vehicle collision, one may take statements from witnesses at the scene or it may be necessary to retain an expert in the area of accident reconstruction to determine who was at fault for the collision. With respect to damages, counsel look to case law to determine what the appropriate range of damages would be for similar injuries in the circumstances. Each case is fact-specific and it is appropriate to look at a range of damages and determine what is reasonable within that range for compensation.
It is important that your injuries have either resolved or at least reached a plateau prior to entering settlement negotiations. Once settlement is achieved you must sign a final release form releasing the opposing party or parties from any further indebtedness. If your condition should worsen after settlement is concluded, you are no longer in a position to seek increased or additional damages. Therefore, the handling of your case correctly is very important.
Section B Coverage: Motor Vehicle Claims
With respect to motor vehicle collisions, it is important to know that you have certain specific coverage under your own motor vehicle insurance policy. The insurance company for the vehicle you were in (or that struck you if you were a pedestrian or cyclist) is responsible for certain payments to be made to you, as the claimant, regardless of who was at fault for the collision. This is to ensure quick coverage for persons injured in motor vehicle collisions. These benefits are meant to provide early and interim financial relief to cover medical expenses and some loss of wages.
There is also coverage for rehabilitation, funeral expenses and death benefits as set out in the Standard Auto Policy of Insurance, Section B.
If the vehicle you were in or that struck you had no insurance, there are other options which you should discuss with your lawyer.
At BOYNECLARKE LLP we have an experienced team of lawyers and support staff handling one of the largest volumes of personal injury cases in the Province and would be pleased to assist you. Payment options, including contingency fee agreements, are structured to suit our clients’ needs.
This information has been provided for general reference only. For advice on an actual matter, you should consult a lawyer. Connect with a member of our team today to schedule your free consultation. To contact a member of our team call us at 902-469-9500 or 1-866-339-3400 or contact us online to make an appointment.