In Alberta, there are an average of 22,000 reported motor vehicle accidents each year, some resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities. One of the most common questions our clients ask us is: what do I do if I am injured in a car accident? Car accident lawyers help you with the legal side, when someone hurt you or a family member in an accident. Keep reading to find out what you should do in the unfortunate event that you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and what compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.
Safety First After A Car Accident
The unexpected happened – you were involved in a car accident. Your first priority is to call an ambulance for anyone who appears to have a life-threatening injury or is unconscious. If you suspect that impaired driving has occurred, call 911. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid the risk of further collisions.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Needs Your Police Report
In general, if any vehicle involved is deemed non-drivable, the damages appear to be over $2,000 or if there were injuries, call 911 to have police attend at the scene and make a police report. Remember to obtain a copy of the police report and/or information to access it through e-collision (Alberta’s online collision report system). In any event, if you hope to pursue a personal injury claim, you will need to obtain a police report. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, it is imperative that you provide him or her with a copy of the police report or access to it online.
Once you have determined that everyone is safe, at the scene of the accident, you should exchange information with all drivers involved. Obtain names and contact information, and take pictures with your cellphone camera of each driver’s operator’s licence, registration and insurance information. In the event that the driver is unable to provide you with information due his or her injuries, obtain information from a passenger.
In Alberta, if a driver does not have a driver’s license, insurance or registration, legally, you must report the collision to the police.
Further, you should note down the:
- date, time and location of the collision;
- makes, models and licence plates of each vehicle;
- direction each vehicle was traveling in;
- approximate speeds of each vehicle;
- weather conditions;
- contact information of any witnesses; and
- names and contact information of any attending police officers.
If a tow trunk arrives, jot down the name of the tow truck driver, phone number, name of the tow truck company, and destination of where the vehicle is being towed to. Once you have gathered the above-noted information, if you or any passengers have sustained an injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive treatment.
What Should I NOT Do After An Accident?
Equally importantly, there are various things you should not say or do after being involved in a motor vehicle collision, namely DO NOT:
- admit that you were at fault or apologize for causing the accident;
- pay or agree to pay for any damages;
- agree to not contact your insurance company; and
- discuss any settlement.
Speak to Your Insurer
Irrespective of who is at fault, you must contact your insurer to report the collision and access any benefits you are entitled to. You should provide them with the information you collected after the accident including a copy of the police report, if any. If you have questions, speak to your car accident lawyer first.
Speak To A Personal Injury Lawyer BEFORE Speaking With Other Insurer
If you are not at-fault for the accident, prior to speaking with any insurance adjusters of the at-fault driver’s insurance company, consult a personal injury lawyer. Even if you do not intend to make a claim, you should schedule a free consultation with our personal injury team as you may discover that your legal rights entitle you to significant compensation for lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, medical bills, physical therapy, disability and/or pain and suffering.
Concerned about costs? We operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you make no payment to us until your claim is settled. Our legal fee amounts to a percentage of the amount we recovered for you. Since the settlement amount pays our fee, you make no direct payment to us.
Compensation Calculations For Car Accidents
In Alberta, the money you receive in compensation for the injuries you sustained are known as “damages”. The legal terms for the two categories of “damages” include general damages and special damages.
General Damages Car Accident Lawyers Help With
General damages refer to the money you receive for things that do not have a price, such as pain and suffering. To demonstrate the compensation you deserve, we will need to prove your injuries and how your life has been impacted by them. Such evidence includes doctor’s notes made during your visits and medical reports that explain your injuries written by doctors and other medical practitioners such as psychologists.
In instances where your injuries are minor, your general damages may be subject to a maximum amount called a cap. The Alberta Minor Injury Regulations set this amount. The cap in Alberta for the last five years is as follows:
However, many injuries are not subject to the cap. Insurance companies lack any requirement to disclose this fact. Thus, anyone injured in an accident should consult with a car accident lawyer.
After sustaining an injury from your collision, your ability to perform common housekeeping tasks such as shoveling snow, doing laundry, and cleaning your home, may be temporarily or permanently impacted. Eligibility exists for compensation to allow for the hiring of help or for a family member to perform your household chores.
One of the easiest monetary damages to calculate includes special damages. Special damages refer to money received for things that have a price. Special damages include:
- medical expenses less any accident benefits received through your insurer, work benefits or personal benefits;
- lost wages resulting from missed time off work and future job opportunities;
- medical supplies such as a brace;
- prescription and over-the-counter medications; and
- personal property damaged during the accident such as prescription glasses.
Future Cost of Care and Loss of Income
Unfortunately, some victims may need to continue treatment and care. This future care sometimes reaches far into the future. Further, these individuals may not be able to resume work either temporarily or permanently. Even if you are able to continue working, your injuries may cause you to change career paths, retire earlier than planned, or prevent you from advancing as quickly. Regardless of your case, you may be able to claim compensation for costs of future care and future loss of income.
What Our Personal Injury Lawyers Do
Our experienced personal injury group of car accident lawyers assist clients at every stage of the litigation process, such as:
- preparing eyewitness interviews;
- preserving evidence;
- evaluating the extent of the personal injury; and
- negotiating with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and/or opposing counsel.
Losing Your Car Accident Claim
Lastly, many people lose their ability to make a claim for injuries sustained in a car accident. In Alberta, the limitation period is two years. Meaning if you fail to file a claim withing two years of an accident, the law prevents you from making a claim. Sometimes, people only realize the extent of their injuries after considerable time after the accident. Therefore, always ensure you get legal advice long before this limitation period expires.
Call Calgary Car Accident Lawyers Today
The car accident lawyers at Kahane Law Office help you. Our role is to assist you with calculating the amount of your claim to ensure that you recoup every dollar you are legally entitled to. From minor injuries to the most complex cases, our personal injury group has the experience to handle your claim. Additionally, payment of our fees occurs only once we receive funds to give to you. Call us today at 403-225-8810 or email us directly here to schedule a free consultation.