Victims can pursue various damages following car accidents that result from someone else’s negligence. However, these damages will vary from case to case – and from person to person. The severity of an accident victim’s injuries often indicates the extent of their pain and suffering, inconvenience, and other factors that play into a damage award.
To get paid after a car accident, you must first file a claim. In most instances, the accident victim files this claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. If this driver did not have insurance or didn’t have enough coverage, the accident victim can file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against their own insurance company. For more information, reach out to our car accident lawyer.
An experienced car accident lawyer near you can help you file a claim and negotiate a favorable settlement with the appropriate insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly, you have the option of filing a lawsuit and litigating your case in court.
Your lawyer will fight for your right to recover favorable compensation for your lost wages, pain, suffering, inconvenience, and mental distress.
The sooner you seek legal help, the sooner you can learn how you will best seek payment as a car accident victim. Never wait to begin this process and protect your rights.
Driver Negligence that Leads to a Car Accident
Motor vehicle collisions in Alberta sometimes occur because of driver error. Some negligent drivers cause accidents when they violate rules of the road, while at other times, crashes happen when drivers operate their vehicles while they are intoxicated or distracted:
Violating the Alberta road rules – Alberta road rules are in effect to keep drivers and their passengers safe. When drivers violate these rules, they significantly increase their chances of causing a crash. Some of the most common road rule violations that lead to traffic collisions include failing to use turn signals, tailgating other vehicles, failing to yield the right-of-way at traffic intersections, and speeding—especially in busy traffic conditions and during inclement weather.
Intoxicated driving – When someone drives their vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, they are legally intoxicated. However, even if they have a lower BAC, they might still suffer the effects of impaired driving. Alberta imposes administrative sanctions if the BAC is 0.05 percent. Since alcohol is a depressant, it significantly slows down brain functioning. Therefore, an intoxicated driver might be unable to concentrate and remain focused on the road. They might also experience blurred vision, as well as delayed reaction time. Consequently, they might not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
Drunk drivers may also operate their vehicles erratically, and a high-speed collision can lead to severe and sometimes deadly injuries. When a drunk driver is subject to a DUI arrest, a criminal judge might sentence them to high fines and jail time. If they cause an accident that leads to driver or passenger injuries, they can also incur civil liability for the collision consequences.
Distracted driving – People engage in distracted driving when they focus on something in their vehicle—rather than the roadway. For example, a distracted driver might pay attention to a cellular device, a small child in the backseat, or a GPS navigation system, instead of the roadway. Even a one-or-two-second diversion can be sufficient time for a serious accident. When a distracted driver is speeding, the likelihood of a crash becomes even higher.
If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in a car accident that occurred because of driver negligence, you should speak with a lawyer near you for more about your legal options. Your lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine if you can file a claim for damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claims-filing process and pursue the compensation you deserve to recover for your accident.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Victims of car accidents may suffer extremely serious injuries, depending upon the force of the impact and the type of accident. The force of an impact might cause an accident victim’s body to move around the interior of their vehicle or from side to side. They might also strike something in their vehicles, such as the window, door frame, headrest, or steering wheel, and suffer a traumatic injury.
Common car accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Bone fractures.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Internal organ damage.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Even death.
Moreover, car crash victims often need to seek medical treatment for their injuries. For example, they may require emergency surgery for a broken bone or other traumatic injuries. They might have to attend physical therapy sessions for several weeks or months following the procedure.
Likewise, the accident victim may need to miss time away from work so that they can attend their medical appointments and recover from their injuries. Finally, they can experience tremendous pain, suffering, and inconvenience due to their accident-related injuries.
A knowledgeable Alberta car accident lawyer can begin to gather your medical records, lost wage documents, investigation reports, and other paperwork necessary for your personal injury claim. We can then assemble a settlement demand letter and a demand package for the insurance company adjuster handling your claim.
Your lawyer can take these steps even while you treat your injuries, so you can concentrate your full attention on getting better. As your treatment progresses or finishes up, your lawyer can pursue a favorable settlement offer for the damages you suffered in your collision.
Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
The primary step to recovering compensation after a car accident is filing a claim—typically with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, insurance companies never advocate for you despite their advertisements to the contrary.
Instead, these large companies are only interested in their bottom line. They make their money by regularly collecting insurance premiums from their insureds—not by paying out large settlements in personal injury claims. In short, insurance companies do not want to pay you after your car accident but want to keep as much of their money as possible in-house. Therefore, you need a strong car accident lawyer who can file a claim—and zealously negotiate it—on your behalf.
The claims-filing process begins when a personal injury lawyer submits a settlement demand package on your behalf. This demand package will include a letter that demands a monetary settlement within the limits of the available insurance policy.
Moreover, the package will include copies of the accident victim’s lost income, medical records, police report, victim impact statement, photographs of injuries, and photographs of property damage to the involved vehicles.
The insurance company adjuster handling the case will then review all of these documents, and they might make an initial offer to settle the claim. These initial settlement offers are typically far less than the claim’s actual value.
Therefore, your lawyer will need to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, often multiple times, to reach a settlement number that is fair and reasonable. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation for everything you endured following your car accident, you can file a lawsuit and litigate your case.
Litigating Your Case to a Conclusion
Litigation begins by filing a lawsuit in the Alberta court system. Even after your lawyer files suit, settlement negotiations may continue, and you can still resolve your case through the settlement process. However, litigation gets the court involved and usually establishes a settlement conference and trial date.
If the case does not resolve during litigation, the parties can take their case to court and let a judge or jury decide the outcome. A judge or jury will decide all of the disputed issues in the case, including both fault and damages—or the amount of money you will recover in your case.
The parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration instead of a civil jury trial. At a mediation proceeding, a neutral mediator will speak with the parties individually and try to facilitate settlement discussions so that you can recover compensation for your injuries. At a binding arbitration hearing, the parties will have a mini-trial during which they produce evidence. A neutral arbitrator with no financial stake in the case outcome will determine the total damages you will recover for your injuries.
A strong car accident lawyer in your area can help you determine whether you should accept a particular settlement offer in your case. Your lawyer can also help you decide whether you should take your case to trial or pursue any available alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including mediation or binding arbitration.
Damages in a Car Accident Case
Victims of car crashes in Alberta are eligible to recover various damages, depending upon the extent of their injuries and other factors.
First of all, victims of car crashes can pursue compensation for their lost wages if they had a job at the time of their accident. Series accidents often necessitate that victims miss time from work to make a full recovery and attend medical appointments. If they have to miss a significant time from work, such as weeks or months after the accident date, they can lose significant money.
In that instance, they can pursue their lost wages from the at-fault driver’s insurer. If their injuries were so serious that they cannot return to their former occupation, they can claim a loss of earning capacity. This is especially true if they had to switch to a job that paid less after their accident.
Moreover, victims of car crashes can file a claim for all of the inconvenience, suffering, and pain that they endured following their car crash. As part of a pain and suffering claim, accident victims can pursue compensation for loss of the ability to use a body part, such as if they suffered a spinal cord or paralysis injury in their accident.
Furthermore, they can claim loss of life enjoyment if their quality of life significantly declined after the accident. If they suffered post-traumatic stress following the collision, they can file a claim for all of the mental distress and emotional anguish that stemmed from their injuries. Finally, they might claim loss of spousal companionship or consortium as part of their damages.
A knowledgeable Alberta car accident lawyer in your area can help you pursue the maximum compensation available to you. Your lawyer can also let you know which of these damages you are most likely to recover as part of your unique circumstances and will work to maximize the recovery that you receive from the insurance company. Your lawyer can do this by negotiating an offer from the insurance company adjuster and, if necessary, pursuing litigation in the court system.
Talk with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today
Not having a knowledgeable car accident lawyer on board in your case can make it difficult for you to get paid. Even if the insurance company does offer you compensation, it will probably be far less than what you need.
If the insurance company and its adjusters see that you do not have legal representation, they will attempt to take advantage of you. In short, they will assume that you do not have the necessary negotiation and litigation skills to obtain favorable settlement compensation in your case.
Having a strong lawyer advocating for you increases your chances of success. While you can try and represent yourself in your claim, it is seldom a good idea. Your lawyer will know how to effectively handle the insurance company and can threaten litigation if it becomes necessary.
Your lawyer can provide you with both thorough and results-oriented legal representation to help you become whole again following your car crash. The right legal team is ready to help you. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.