When you suffer an injury in Ottawa due to another party’s negligence – even if you were partially at fault – you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is a legal action taken by an injured party to recover compensation for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and more.
These cases generally require filing an insurance claim against the party that injured you. But insurance companies are not eager to hand out compensation – they may try to delay your claim, offer you an unfair settlement, or unfairly deny your claim altogether. An Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you fight back so you get the compensation you deserve. An experienced lawyer will protect your rights throughout your case.
Our personal injury lawyers can meet with you in Ottawa for a free initial consultation. Call (416) 364-2000
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
Ottawa personal injury attorneys compile evidence that establishes who caused the accident as well as the value of their client’s damages. They work with accident reconstruction experts, seek out and secure any available surveillance video, work with medical experts who can testify about their injuries, and collect evidence of their lost wages and reduced earning capacity, such as medical reports and earning statements.
All of this is to establish these four elements of personal injury claims:
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Duty of Care
The defendant must have owed the injured a duty of care. An example would be another driver owed them a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner and obey all traffic laws.
Breach of Duty
There must be evidence that the other person failed to act in a reasonably safe manner. An example would be another driver who drives while intoxicated. In such cases, representatives secure police reports, eyewitness statements, and other evidence that can prove the other driver was drunk.
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Cause in Fact
The injured must prove the other person’s breach of duty caused their accident. An example would be if the drunk driver hit their car while running a red light. Lawyers may utilize testimony from accident reconstruction experts, eyewitnesses, and police reports that provide details of the accident to prove causation.
Finally, someone must prove that the accident resulted in damages. An example would be if the accident caused them to suffer a head injury or a broken leg that prevented them from working for two months. Personal injury lawyers in Ottawa would present evidence of their client’s lost wages (e.g., previous wage statements), as well as medical records and even testimony from expert witnesses that demonstrates the long-term prognosis of their injuries and their many effects.
Following an Accident
There are a few steps for someone to take following an accident to keep in consideration.
- Follow doctor orders: Someone should seek medical care and follow their doctor’s orders. This creates a record of their injuries and their severity, and it creates evidence that they will need to prove to the insurance company that they are injured and show the extent of those injuries.
- Go for Treatment. Going for treatment is one the most important things someone can do for their case. It demonstrates to the insurance company that their injuries warrant treatment and that they are motivated to get better.
- Be wary of communicating with the insurance company. As someone recovers physically, the insurance company will contact them to get the details of their accident.
- Someone should not give a recorded statement to them until they have had the opportunity to talk to an Ottawa personal injury lawyer. They should also refrain from signing any documents from the insurance company regarding the accident until they have a lawyer look them over.
- Insurance companies are looking for any way to deny or reduce their settlement, and they may take parts of their recorded statement out of context or may ask them to sign medical release or settlement forms that can thwart their right to compensation.
- Secure legal help. It is important to secure a lawyer as soon as possible, as Ontario law only gives someone two years from the date of the accident to file their claim.
Determining a Claim
There is no standard formula to determine the cost of a personal injury. Rather, it depends on several variables such as:
- Extent of someone’s injuries
- Length of time they are unable to work
- Permanency of their injuries
- Their liability (if any) for causing the accident
Identifying these variables requires a diligent investigation of the accident facts, their injuries, and development of evidence to support their losses. Lawyers rely on their medical records, wage records, testimony from expert witnesses like occupational specialists or doctors, and accident reconstruction experts to help substantiate their claim.
Some of the damages available in a personal injury settlement include:
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost wages (both past and future)
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
It is important to note that someone may not be eligible to collect the full value of their damages if they contributed to the accident. This is known as contributory negligence and a judge or jury will determine their degree of fault in the accident. Their degree of fault, expressed as a percentage, will decrease their settlement value by that percentage.
As lawyers work to build their client’s case to prove fault and the value of their damages, they must also contend with allegations from the insurance company that they contributed to the accident.
Consult with a Lawyer
You should not accept any settlement from an insurance company or at-fault party until you have had a lawyer review your claim. Ottawa personal injury attorneys want to make sure every resident of Ontario has access to supportive legal help.