Suffering a personal injury, no matter the cause, can be a truly daunting and confusing time. Not only do you need to heal and recover physically and emotionally, but you also need to figure out if you should hire a personal injury lawyer.
There are many instances in Ontario where a personal injury lawyer can greatly benefit your recovery process.
If you are wondering if, and when, you need to hire a personal injury lawyer, this post will help you identify the opportunities available to you, enabling you to truly begin your journey to recovery.
When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
As a general rule, you should contact a personal injury lawyer after you experience an injury on private or public property.
Whether you’ve experienced a slip and fall or were involved in a motor vehicle accident, you have rights.
Reaching out to a reliable injury lawyer as soon as possible can give you peace of mind in knowing that someone is looking out for your best interests.
Should you find yourself in any one of the situations below, it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer.
Unsure if Compensation is Available
If you are unsure whether or not compensation is available, or how much you may be eligible to receive, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer.
A lawyer can examine the details of your case to determine the compensation available. They will explore damages, loss of personal property, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and hidden expenses like housekeeping costs, while identifying all defendants in a potential injury claim or lawsuit.
The amount you are eligible to receive will depend upon:
- Whether or not you are partially responsible for the accident
- The severity of the injuries
- Your prognosis
- Your pre-accident income
- The cost of medical expenses, rehabilitation treatments, or other out of pocket expenses
- Your age
- Whether or not you were receiving income or treatment resources from an auto insurance policy, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), extended health benefits, or long-term disability payments.
Substantial Medical Costs from Accident
Experiencing a personal injury can result in substantial medical costs. You may be entitled to some or all of these costs depending on the nature and circumstances that surround your injury.
In the province of Ontario, your medical costs may exceed those available through your Ontario Health Insurance or other insurance coverage.
By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can receive compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages (past and future), future healthcare and treatment costs, and more.
A lawyer will ensure that the injuries you experience are properly categorized. A catastrophic injury, for example, will be worth far greater financial compensation than an injury classified as minor.
Denied Accident Benefits
Ontario has statutory accident benefits that are compulsory and meant to cover damages caused by an automobile accident. These benefits are a no-fault way of compensating injured parties for lost wages and medical bills.
Unfortunately, these benefits are sometimes denied and you can dispute the denial with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
It is worth noting that these accident benefits are not just intended for the drivers in automobile accidents. Eligibility may extend to anyone who is injured in a collision or certain relatives or dependants of anyone injured in an automobile collision.
Low Settlement Offers
Insurance companies, understandably, are focused on their bottom line. This means that when it comes to settling claims, they may try to devalue or outright deny them.
A personal injury lawyer can examine your case, determine the value of your injuries and losses, and assess whether or not the settlement offer is insufficient.
Consult a lawyer before signing any settlement offers as it will be difficult, or impossible, to increase the settlement amount after the fact.
What Qualifies as Personal Injury?
“Personal injury” is a rather vague term and you may find yourself wondering exactly what it is and what types of situations apply.
While there is not a specific legal definition of personal injury in Ontario, it can be defined as a physical or psychological injury caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency, or other entity
There are several situations that may qualify you to make a personal injury claim. These situations include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Cycling accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Concussions and brain injuries
- Birth injuries
- Dog/animal bites
- Bone and muscle injuries
- Work-related injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
If you have found yourself in one of these situations, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid exhausting statutes and suffering without the damages you are due.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle?
A personal injury lawyer will handle most of the complicated elements of the situation so you can focus on getting well and returning to your life as quickly as possible.
If a personal injury lawyer takes your case, they will ensure that:
- All pertinent information is collected, reviewed, and documented
- All actions are taken within the statute of limitations
- All proper legal procedures are followed to prevent and avoid delays
More than just ensuring that all proper steps are taken, a personal injury lawyer will:
- Provide legal advice specific to your case
- Research the options and outcomes available to you and inform you of their findings so you can make a truly informed decision on how to proceed
- Fill out and file paperwork relevant to your claim
- Deal with insurance companies and other parties on your behalf
- Represent you during negotiations
- Help you build a stronger case through their expertise and connections
- Research and uncover evidence that may be used as leverage or to prove your claims in negotiations or during court proceedings
- Offer peace of mind
Experiencing a personal injury can make it difficult to perform all of the tasks required when seeking compensation in a timely manner.
According to the Limitations Act, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of an individual discovering that they have a claim.
Discovery of a claim happens on the earlier of the following dates:
- The date the individual first knew of the injury, knew that the injury was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission of the person the claim is being filed against, and knew that a legal proceeding would be the appropriate way to remedy the injury.
- The date on which a reasonable person would have first known the above items.
Understandably, if the injury is severe and your life has been significantly disrupted, you may not be able to pursue the claim on your own or to the full extent of your abilities. This is why you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the options available to you before the statute runs out.
Expert Personal Injury Lawyers are Here to Help
Experiencing a personal injury can be life-altering. Not only may you be dealing with physical and psychological wounds but you may have also experienced lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, medical costs, and personal property damage or losses.
Trying to navigate this new reality can be downright impossible. A personal injury lawyer can use their knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you both need and deserve.
If you have questions about whether or not you have a personal injury claim, you can contact our experienced personal injury lawyers for more information.