I WAS IN A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT; DO I HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?
This is a common question and it is not a simple answer without knowing more facts about the accident. With motor vehicle accidents, if the other drive is at fault, you may be entitled to what is known as a “tort claim” in the legal world. The word “tort” means “wrong” and in the case of a motor vehicle accident—the wrong is the defendant driver creating an accident of which he or she is at fault.
Every tort claim essentially boils down to two issues: 1) liability and 2) damages. In any tort claim it is imperative that you are able to prove both. The first part is to establish that the accident was someone else’s fault—either in whole or in part. It is permissible to be partially to blame for the accident and still receive compensation, but if the accident is entirely your fault than there is no claim against the at-fault driver. However, you still have access to no-fault benefits through your own insurer. With that said, it is best to receive a legal opinion on your claim before dismissing the idea altogether as you may not be one hundred percent at fault from the point of view of the law.
WHAT ARE DAMAGES IN PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS?
Once you establish liability, “damages” are a quantum of money dependent on number of factors and will are an ongoing discussion between the representatives of each party. There are several different types of damages which can be claimed such as economic loss, pain and suffering, housekeeping and home maintenance, and future costs of care. Your injuries and circumstances in your life, such as whether you were employed, and what your daily activities consist of, are factors that help determine which heads of damage you qualify for and what the quantum should be for each type of compensation.
THE OTHER DRIVER IS AT FAULT—IS THAT ENOUGH?
The government has instilled a legal test that every claimant must meet in order to be compensated for pain and suffering which is commonly referred to as the “threshold”. In Ontario, if as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the injured person had died or sustained a permanent serious disfigurement or a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function than he or she may have a claim for pain and suffering. If the injured victim however, fully recovers, the claim for pain and suffering will likely be statute-barred as it would not meet the threshold—therefore recovery under the pain and suffering head of damage would not be attainable. However, you may have a case if you have sustained economic losses and house keeping losses for instance, as a result of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident then call our office to set up a free no-obligation consultation. We can provide you peace of mind no matter what the outcome of our meeting entails, so please give our office a call.
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