Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do I need a lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured, let us deal with an aggressive insurance company for you so you can focus on your recovery. Our expert time has years of experience dealing exclusively with personal injury law and insurance companies. We even have experience working for an insurance company which we put to use when we fight for you. Our team will help you navigate your claim through the complex legal system and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
2. What if I can’t afford a lawyer?
We guarantee that you do not pay unless we win. We are paid a percentage of your settlement and pay the costs of commencing, and pursuing, your claim so that you do not have to go out of pocket. We understand that the accident may have caused financial hardship so we work on a contingency basis so that our clients do not need to pay until we receive compensation for you.
3. What should I do after a car accident?
The first few moments after a car accident, or any other type of injury, can be the most confusing. If possible, you should try to remain at the scene. If your vehicle has been damaged, or if you are injured you should call the police and ambulance. Make sure you obtain the names, addresses, telephone numbers of all individuals involved in the accident and any witnesses. You should also obtain license plate details and the other driver’s insurance information (name of the company and policy number). Take photos at the scene to capture the accident dynamics and damage to your vehicle. Take pictures of your injuries as well. Focus on your recovery and let us deal with the insurance company.
4. What should I do if I have been injured in a slip and fall?
If you suffered injured on public property, you should see a lawyer right away. Municipalities typically have stringent notice requirements. For example, claims against the City of Toronto require notice within 10 days of the incident otherwise you may be precluded from suing for damages. If you fall on commercial or private property, you should alert the owner or a member of the company’s staff right away and create an incident report. Also, do not forget to take pictures of what caused you to fall, obtain contact information for any witnesses, and preserve your footwear.
5. What if I am a pedestrian or cyclist and do not have insurance?
You are still entitled to receive weekly benefits from an insurance company or the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund. You can also start a lawsuit against the at fault driver. Contact us so we can explain the process and your rights.
6. Do I need to see a doctor right away?
If you have been involved in an accident, or have suffered any personal injury, it is important to see a medical practitioner as soon as possible to have the extent of your injury properly evaluated by a medical professional and prevent a delay in receiving any treatment that may be required.
7. Should I report the accident to my insurance company?
You should retain a lawyer who will represent you for any and all initial discussions with the insurance company. Insurance company representatives will understand if you advise them you have retained a lawyer to represent you and request that all discussions moving forward are directed to your lawyer. Insurance companies are often eager to send a road adjuster to take your statement prior to you even thinking about retaining a lawyer. You should not have to give a statement to the insurance company if you are unrepresented as it is possible you may be asked unfair questions which can prejudice your claim down the road.
8. What if I am at fault?
If you are at fault, you will still be entitled to accident benefits through your own insurance.
9. What are accident benefits?
Accident benefits are benefits which are available to anyone who has been injured in a car accident, regardless of fault. It is also available to pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists who have been involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. Through your own insurance, or the insurance of a spouse, someone upon whom you are a dependent or the driver of any vehicle involved in the accident, you can access payment for treatment to help your recovery. Additionally, if you are no longer working as a result of your injuries, accident benefits can provide you with an income replacement benefit (described in question 16 below). If you were a student or retired, you may be eligible to a non-earner benefit of $185 per week which starts 6 months after the accident.
10. I was involved in an accident and my insurance company sent me several long forms. What should I do?
Consult with a lawyer. You should not fill them out yourself. The forms should be completed by a lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies. The correct completion is essential to your claim and incorrectly answering the questions on the form can be detrimental to your claim.
11. The insurance has offered to pay me. Should I sign the release?
Not without consulting a lawyer first. It is common for the insurance companies to take advantage of self-represented litigants in order to settle their claims as quickly as possible. Once you accept an offer you are bound to those terms, except in very limited circumstances, and you lose the right to demand what is fair. If you have received an offer from an insurance company for your claim, call us for a free consultation and we will gladly review the offer and provide you with legal advice.
12. Will applying for accident benefits have an impact on my insurance premiums?
No, simply applying for accidents benefits should not cause your insurance premiums to go up. Depending on your agreement with your insurance company, if you are responsible for an accident, your premiums may increase at the time you renew them.
13. What if the insurance company tries to blame me for the accident?
Insurance companies assess fault in accordance with the Fault Determination Rules (FDR) which are a set of liability rules written into the law. If you disagree with your insurance company’s assessment, call us for a free consultation. Depending on the dynamics of your accident, you may still be able to commence a lawsuit against the other party.
14. What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the other driver does not have insurance, or his/her limits are lower than your own policy limits, you are able to claim from your own insurance company. Every insurance policy in Ontario has a clause written in to protect the insured in situations where the other driver does not have insurance or is underinsured. This situation arises often in a hit and run.
15. What if the other driver offers to pay me money?
You should always report the accident to the police. Once you have done so, the other driver’s insurance will be notified of the accident. You do not want to take any steps which may prejudice the evidence you will rely on during the process of your claim. Reporting the accident is the best way to preserve the evidence of your car accident.
16. What should I do if I can’t return to work?
We will contact your employer and have them fill out forms to submit to your insurance company which will initiate your income replacement benefit (IRB). Your IRB will cover up to 70% of your gross income, up to a maximum of $400 per week.
If you are self-employed, we will refer your IRB issue to our forensic accountants to help us calculate your entitlement. We do not wait for your insurance company to refer the matter to their experts as this can cause delay.
17. How long will it take to settle my case?
Every case is different. An average personal injury case can take between 2 to 4 years to reach a final resolution. It is important to allow time for your injuries to stabilize to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and their ongoing impact on your life. We are committed to settling our clients’ cases quickly but are adamant about ensuring that our clients receive fair and full compensation. We do not believe in a cookie cutter approach and work with our clients to make sure that our individualized approach to each client sets out the most efficient course of action. We have a history of trying cases in court when a trial becomes necessary but work hard to settle cases outside of court so long as it benefits our client.
18. How much will I get?
Insurance claims can be complex and compensation is dependent on a variety of factors:
- The nature and extent of your injuries;
- The nature of any residual disability or functional impairment you are left with as a result of your injuries;
- The frequency, duration and cost of treatment as well as any out of pocket medical expenses;
- Any incurred additional expenses such as housekeeping, gardeners, paid help with snow shoveling;
Over time, as you recover and reach your maximum medical recovery, it becomes easier to assess your claim and we discuss any assessments with you. We assess medical evidence that you have built through visits with your doctors and any specialists, and take into account your subjective account of the impact of the accident when evaluating your case with you.
19. Will I actually speak to a lawyer?
You will speak to the lawyer assigned to your case anytime, and as many times as you want from the onset of your claim to its conclusion. Throughout the process, any member of the firm’s staff may contact you to ask questions or notify you of various steps but the firm’s lawyers do not only have an open door policy within our firm, our door is always open for our clients as well.