If you or a loved one sustained injuries or property loss in a road accident, you can file a compensation claim to recover damages for the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident.
A large number of such claims are generally settled out-of-court, with injured persons often accepting a low settlement offer from the other party in a desperate bid to safeguard their families financially.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side can make a big difference on how insurance companies treat your claim, as they are well versed in representing accident injury victims, negotiating fair compensation on their behalf while dealing with the legal complexities.
To help you understand how access to sound legal knowledge can help your claim, here are nine questions and answers to familiarize you with the process.
Who can I sue for damages in an accident injury lawsuit?
If you sustained personal injuries and/or loss of property in an accident, you can file a lawsuit against the person(s) or entities responsible for the accident. The party at fault can include more than one individual.
For instance, in case of a truck accident, you can sue the driver, the trucking company, the owner of the truck and the loading company based on their role in creating circumstances that led to the collision.
Remember that you must file a lawsuit within the limitation period of two years from the date of the accident or date of discovery of the legal claim. While there are exceptions to this deadline, your lawyer is the best person to advice you in this matter so that you can act fast and not lose out on compensation.
What financial support can I expect after a road accident, and from whom?
As Nova Scotia follows a no-fault car insurance coverage system, your insurance provider provides all the necessary support in terms of meeting your medical bills and financial needs.
This is why it is important to have an automobile insurance policy with accident benefits that can support you financially and cover all costs in case of an accident. In Nova Scotia, you need to have a minimum insurance cover of CAD 500,000 to be able to drive.
Accident benefits provided by your insurance company will include payment toward medical expenses (up to CAD 50,000) and toward loss of income (up to CAD 250 per week).
How can I afford a lawyer when I’m struggling to meet my medical bills and living expenses?
Accident injuries cause immense physical and emotional suffering, aside from loss of income and quality of life. There is no doubt that you will need the support of a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer to seek your rightful compensation.
The best way to go about this is to work with a law firm that will fight your case on contingency basis—that is, they will bill you only if you’re awarded compensation in out-of-court settlement or by the court. The contingency agreement ensures that your attorney will build a strong case and try and gain maximum compensation for you. Legal fees in such cases are billed as a percentage of the monetary award.
How can a lawyer help me determine the true value of my claim?
Insurance companies often try to minimize the settlement amount and don’t take into account long-term recovery costs and loss of future income. This is when a lawyer can help you determine the true value of your claim by including expenses that you may overlook, accepting an offer that’s much less than the value of your injuries.
Justin Kimball from Preszler Law Nova Scotia (http://www.preszlerlaw-ns.com/) explains that a plaintiff is more likely to be found contributorily negligent if they have committed a prior traffic violation.
Therefore, your lawyer will need to study all evidence, the extent of your injuries, your past traffic safety record and your own role in the accident before they can determine the right value of your claim.
What if my insurance company denies my claim?
In that case, you have the right to sue your insurance provider to claim your due benefits under your insurance policy. Consult a good accident injury attorney to know your options and whether you should go ahead with this lawsuit.
What all is the at-fault party liable to pay?
They’re liable to pay damages (monetary compensation) for your injuries, loss of present and future income, out-of-pocket expenses on recovery, and emotional distress and pain caused by the accident.
If your injuries are such that you need help in carrying out day-to-day activities, you may also claim damages for having to hire a professional nurse or domestic help to assist you in daily chores.
The monetary award is determined after taking into account multiple factors. For minor injuries, you can expect to receive an amount of up to CAD 7,500.
Who will pay the repair costs of my vehicle?
In Nova Scotia, under the Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) system of automobile insurance policies, you can seek payment from your own insurance company for collision damage to your vehicle caused by another person or entity. Check with your lawyer how you can use this scheme to cover loss of property.
What if the party at fault has no or inadequate insurance?
If the other driver or owner doesn’t have insurance, is underinsured or if the at-fault party denies or disputes your claim, you can take your personal injury to your own automobile insurer. You can also take this route if the at-fault party is unidentified.
Remember that the additional coverage provided by your insurance provider is subject to certain limitations; therefore it is essential that you have enough liability insurance coverage in the first place.
What happens if an individual dies in a road accident?
The surviving family members can file a lawsuit under the Fatal Injuries Act. This should be done within a year of death. In addition, family members can claim accident benefit compensation from the insurance company of the deceased.