If you have suffered injuries in a car crash because of another driver’s negligence, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for monetary compensation. But what if the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair amount of damages you deserve? Your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the Alberta court system on your behalf when that happens.
Although there are certain costs associated with litigating a personal injury case and taking it to a jury trial or alternative dispute resolution proceeding, there might be numerous benefits. For example, if the insurance company is not willing to compensate you for your lost wages, pain, suffering, or inconvenience, filing a lawsuit—and if necessary, taking your case to trial—may be a viable legal option.
Call a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer can explain all of your legal options to you and help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to a jury trial or a binding arbitration proceeding. Your lawyer can explain the risks and benefits associated with these options and help you make the best choice for your case.
Common Causes of Car Accidents and Injuries
To prevail in a claim against another driver’s insurance company, you have to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent. In motor vehicle accidents, negligence means behaving unreasonably under the circumstances. A negligent driver either does something that a reasonable driver would not have done or fails to do something that a reasonable driver would have done.
Alberta car crashes often occur because of driver error or intoxication. Alcohol impairs a motor vehicle driver’s abilities. For example, a driver under the influence of alcohol can’t concentrate or focus their attention on the road. They may also experience physical symptoms, such as blurred vision and delayed reaction time. As a result, an intoxicated driver can’t stop their vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
Drivers are also negligent when operating their motor vehicles while distracted. A distracted driver focuses on something else in their vehicle besides driving. For example, a distracted driver might be fiddling with a mirror or programming a GPS device—or the driver might have their head turned to discipline a child sitting in the backseat.
Finally, a distracted driver may be using a cellular phone or tablet to send a text message while they should be paying attention to the road. When a car driver focuses on something other than driving, they might miss another motor vehicle or a pedestrian in the roadway, causing a severe crash.
Finally, some car accidents happen when drivers violate the standard rules of the road. For example, an at-fault driver might fail to use a turn signal, tailgate another vehicle, speed, or fail to yield the right-of-way at a traffic intersection when it is appropriate to do so.
These negligent actions and inactions can lead to serious car crashes and injure drivers and their passengers. The extent of a car accident victim’s injuries will depend upon many different circumstances, including the force of the impact, the type of car accident that occurs, and how the accident victim’s body moves around inside the car during the crash.
Driver negligence can lead to rear-end collisions, broadside collisions, sideswipe accidents, and head-on collisions, to name just a few. These accidents can result in severe injuries and may cause an accident victim’s body to move around inside the vehicle—or even strike something in the vehicle, like the headrest, steering wheel, window, or door frame.
Typical car accident injuries include soft tissue contusions, bruises, cuts, abrasions, internal injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis injuries, and broken bones. These injuries may require extended medical treatment, including follow-up care at a hospital emergency room, a surgical procedure, or physical therapy.
If you have suffered any of these injuries in a car crash, a personal injury lawyer can help you file your claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. Generally speaking, the sooner you get a lawyer involved in your case, the better off you will be. This ensures that you do not miss any deadlines, including the statute of limitations.
Prerequisites to Filing a Lawsuit—Filing a Personal Injury Claim and Negotiating It
Before filing a lawsuit after a car crash, the accident victim will need to file a personal injury claim. In most instances, car accident victims file these claims with the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
However, if the at-fault driver did not have insurance at all, or if they did not have sufficient insurance, the accident victim can pursue an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with their own insurance carrier. Regardless of the insurance company involved, the claim proceeds in much the same way.
First of all, your lawyer can gather all of your medical records, lost wage documents, investigation reports, and victim impact statements and assemble all of this into a settlement demand package. In addition to the demand package, your lawyer can send a settlement demand letter that makes a monetary demand for a settlement within the applicable insurance policy limits.
The insurance company adjuster handling your car accident claim will then review all of the documentation, and they may then make an offer to resolve your case through settlement. In most personal injury claims, initial settlement offers are often meager, and they fall well below the actual value of the case. This is where a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and try to get you fair settlement compensation. However, depending on the insurance company and the specific adjuster handling your claim, that does not always happen. In fact, insurance companies do not have an incentive to settle your case favourably. They do not make money by paying out claims. Instead, they want to keep as much money in-house as possible.
When the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately for your pain & suffering, inconvenience, and other damages, you may want to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer can assist you with this and help you throughout litigation to pursue the maximum amount of monetary compensation available.
Costs of Litigating a Car Accident Case
Filing a lawsuit in a car accident case may be necessary under certain circumstances. First of all, some insurance companies and their adjusters will not take a car accident claim seriously until you file a lawsuit. Secondly, just because your lawyer files a lawsuit, this does not necessarily mean that your case will go to trial.
Most car accident personal injury claims settle long before the case ever reaches the courtroom. Filing a lawsuit is frequently necessary to convince the insurance company adjuster to take the case seriously and offer favorable settlement compensation in the first place. The case can still settle at any point until the trial.
However, filing a lawsuit and litigating a case involves certain costs. First of all, filing a complaint in court typically means paying a filing fee. In addition, personal injury lawyers will incur certain expenses throughout litigation, such as copying costs associated with obtaining your medical records.
Finally, if a car accident lawyer needs to retain an expert such as an accident reconstructionist or doctor to prove damages, those costs may need to come out of your settlement, jury verdict, or arbitration award. However, the potential benefits of winning at trial or obtaining a favourable arbitration award may far outweigh many of these litigation costs.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer that the insurance company adjuster puts on the table—or consider taking your case to trial or binding arbitration. Your lawyer can let you know the exact costs associated with retaining an expert and having them testify in court at your jury trial. You can then make an informed decision about how best to proceed forward with your case.
Compensation that You Can Recover by Filing a Lawsuit
Filing a lawsuit in a personal injury car accident case increases the chances that you will obtain fair compensation for your injuries. This is true even if you do not take your case to a jury trial or arbitration. The damages that a car accident victim can incur will depend upon the nature and extent of their injuries, including whether or not they suffered a permanent injury in their car accident.
First of all, an accident victim can pursue compensation for lost wages if they cannot go to work due to their accident-related injuries. In addition, if they had to switch jobs or careers at a lower pay rate due to their injuries, they can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
In addition, car accident victims can pursue damages for their inconvenience, suffering, pain, and mental distress stemming from their injuries. If they suffered a permanent injury in their accident, such as a paralysis injury, they can bring a claim for loss of the ability to use a body part. They can also pursue damages for loss of enjoyment of life due to their car accident injuries.
Some severe car crashes lead to one or more fatalities. If an accident victim dies in a car crash, the surviving family members or the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim.
As part of a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members can recover compensation for the deceased individual’s loss of future income if they were dependent upon it. They can also pursue damages for loss of the decedent’s care and companionship. Finally, they can receive compensation for the deceased individual’s funeral and burial expenses.
Punitive damages may also be an option in a car accident case where the at-fault driver acted extremely recklessly under the circumstances. For example, the driver might have grossly exceeded the speed limit or operated their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault driver and to discourage other drivers from behaving similarly in the future.
Talk to a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Car Accident Lawyer Today for More Information
If you suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted from negligence, retain an experienced lawyer to represent you. If you do not have a lawyer on board in your case, the chances are good that the insurance company will take advantage of you and offer you far less compensation than your case is worth.
A skilled car accident lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf and pursue the maximum amount of damages that you deserve to become whole again. When it comes to the aftermath of a car accident, it is nearly always a difficult path. Your best move is to focus on recovering from your injuries while your lawyer handles the legal battle for you and ensures that you recover the total amount of damages you can.
While the idea of a lawsuit might seem daunting, the process is worth it when you hire the right legal team.