In a no-fault car accident claim scenario, accident victims typically turn to their own insurance companies for monetary compensation after an accident. While Alberta follows a fault-based system regarding personal injuries, it recently adopted a no-fault-based system for vehicle property damage claims.
Insurance claims and policies can be complicated to navigate after a car crash without legal help. If you sustained property damage or suffered personal injuries in a car accident, a knowledgeable car crash lawyer in Edmonton can help you file the appropriate no-fault claim, or fault-based injury claim, depending on your circumstances.
If you are eligible to pursue monetary compensation, your lawyer can file the necessary claim with the appropriate insurance company on your behalf and work to seek the monetary damages you deserve to recover.
What Are No-fault Property Claims in Alberta?
On January 1, 2022, Alberta began following a Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) system. Essentially, DCPD is a type of car insurance coverage that all drivers must carry. Moreover, this coverage applies to car accidents where someone else caused your crash, and you are not at fault.
In car crash scenarios where you did not cause the accident, your own insurance company will supply the necessary coverage for vehicular damage that the responsible driver caused. In addition to vehicle damage or property damage, DCPD insurance covers damage to the contents of your vehicle and rental coverage if you cannot use your car for some time after your accident due to the property damage.
Moreover, DCPD insurance coverage only applies to the property damage aspect of your claim. It does not affect your rights to pursue a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if you suffered physical injuries in your crash. Likewise, DCPD coverage does not affect your eligibility for rehabilitation or medical expenses according to your car insurance policy.
Why Do Car Accidents Happen?
Although there are some exceptions, most car accidents occur when other drivers behave negligently and recklessly. Drivers have a duty to follow all road regulations while they are behind the wheel for the benefit of their passengers, as well as other drivers. When drivers deviate from the standard of care and an accident occurs, both they and their insurance company may be responsible for the severe injuries and other losses that occur.
One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted vehicle operation. Vehicle passengers, as well as electronic devices in a vehicle, may both cause a driver to become distracted. For example, if a driver looks down to respond to a text message while driving—or turns their head to discipline a young child sitting in the backseat of their car—they must take their eyes off the road. In that instance, they may not notice an approaching vehicle, cyclist, or pedestrian.
Car accidents can also happen when drivers exceed the posted speed limit. Whenever a driver speeds and aggressively weaves in and out of traffic, they may be unable to stop quickly in an emergency situation. A driver who speeds can also lose control of their vehicle, especially if they are speeding around a sharp curve on the road. Finally, when a driver speeds in rainy or snowy weather, they significantly increase their chances of crashing with another vehicle or with a stationary object on the side of the road.
Car accidents may also occur when drivers are in a hurry and exhibit signs of road rage.
Common road rage indicators include:
- Excessive speeding.
- Failing to use turn signals.
- Weaving in and out of heavy traffic.
When people drive overzealously, they might negligently cut another vehicle off in traffic, bringing about a collision. Moreover, if they tailgate the car in front of them, they may bring about a rear-end accident, causing the front vehicle driver and passengers to suffer a head injury or whiplash injury.
Car accidents may also happen when people drive while impaired or intoxicated by alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant that can slow down a driver’s mental functioning. Consequently, an intoxicated driver might experience limited concentration, slowed reflexes, delayed reaction time, and blurred vision, all of which may prevent them from operating their vehicle safely and carefully.
A police officer can arrest a driver for driving under the influence (DUI) if a breathalyzer machine determines that they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
A police officer can also arrest a drunk driver if they fail one or more field sobriety tests. When a drunk driver causes a car crash that results in serious injuries, the accident by a drunk driver, along with their insurance company, may have to pay the accident victim monetary damages as compensation for their injuries.
Finally, some car accidents happen when drivers are fatigued while behind the wheel. Like intoxicated and impaired driving, fatigue severely limits a driver’s reflexes, as well as their ability to concentrate. Moreover, if a fatigued driver falls asleep while driving, their vehicle may run off the road, or they may strike one or more other cars on a busy highway, causing significant property damage and injuries.
If you suffered property damage to your vehicle or personal injuries in a recent car crash, you should speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area right away. Your lawyer will determine your eligibility for filing a property damage claim with your own insurance company and/or a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. Your lawyer can then help you file the appropriate claims in pursuit of the monetary compensation you deserve.
Property Damage and Injuries in Car Accidents
The vehicular property damage that an accident victim incurs will depend upon certain factors, including the type of car crash that happens.
For example, in a rear-end accident, most of the vehicular damage is to the back fender, bumper, and trunk portions of the vehicle, while the property damage in a head-on collision is typical to the front parts of the car. In a side impact or T-bone collision, a vehicle may sustain damage to the front or rear doors and panels.
Similarly, the injuries that car accident victims suffer are highly case-specific. The extent and nature of a car accident victim’s injuries will depend upon the type of accident that occurs, the speeds of the vehicles, the force of the collision, and the way the accident victim’s body moves when the crash occurs.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims may incur include traumatic head and brain damage, soft tissue injuries, crush injuries, rib fractures, broken bones, spinal cord damage, and full or partial paralysis.
As soon as possible after suffering physical injuries in a car accident, you should seek the medical help you need. You should go in an ambulance or have someone take you to a local urgent care center or hospital emergency room for treatment.
After you seek initial medical treatment for your injuries, you should talk to a car accident lawyer in your area right away. Your lawyer will be by your side each step of the way, helping you recover the damages you need to become whole again after your accident.
Filing a Fault-based Personal Injury Claim
Although the property damage system in Alberta is now a no-fault-based system, the personal injury damages system is still fault-based. As a result, if you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you or your lawyer can file a claim with the responsible driver’s motor vehicle insurance company.
To be successful in a personal injury claim that arises from a car accident, you will need to prove several legal elements. First, you must demonstrate that your accident directly resulted from another driver’s breach of their legal duty. For example, the at-fault driver might have disobeyed a traffic regulation or operated their vehicle while intoxicated, causing your accident.
In addition, you must demonstrate that you sustained at least one physical injury that directly resulted from your car crash. To establish this medical connection, a qualified medical expert can testify in court on your behalf—and in support of your entitlement to monetary damages.
A skilled car crash lawyer in your area can help you file a personal injury claim seeking various damages. During the negotiation stage of your case, your lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives in an attempt to convince them to offer you additional monetary compensation.
If they won’t compensate you fully and fairly, you have the option of filing a lawsuit in the court system, seeking various damages. Although most personal injury cases resolve outside of the courtroom, some do ultimately go to trial. If your lawyer must try your case in the court system, they will be by your side, advocating for you each step of the way and working to maximize your monetary damages for your personal injuries.
How Long Will a Car Accident Claim Take?
The length of time it takes to resolve the property damage and personal injury portions of a car accident claim depends on numerous factors, some of which include:
- The insurance company and the adjuster with whom you are dealing
- Whether your case settles out of court or your lawyer must file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system
- Whether your case must proceed to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, as opposed to settling out of court
- The specific injuries you suffered in your accident
- The medical treatment that you underwent
- The nature and severity of your injuries and whether or not you sustained a permanent injury
- Whether you had to miss time from work after your accident due to your injuries
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer advocating for you will work hard to resolve the property damage and personal injury aspects of your case as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Call a Car Crash Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered property damage or personal injuries in a car crash, you should retain skilled legal counsel to handle your case right away. Waiting too long to seek a legal representative can jeopardize your ability to recover favorable monetary damages.
In car accident claims, the statute of limitations is two years from the accident date. Therefore, if you file a lawsuit in the court system more than two years after your car crash, you will no longer be eligible to recover monetary damages.
A skilled personal injury lawyer in Edmonton can handle both the property damage and personal injury components of your case and work to maximize the total monetary compensation you recover, either through settlement or litigation. Your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on the most important thing, recovering from your injuries.
In addition to recovering financial compensation for your property damage, your lawyer can recover compensation for your lost earnings, inconvenience, physical pain and suffering, and emotional distress.