5 Questions to Help You Determine if You Need to Hire an Injury Lawyer
Not all personal injury cases require the help of a lawyer. In fact, some cases may be resolved easily without legal assistance or intervention. Examples include those involving very minimal injuries and with little to no impairment.
Below are five questions to consider as you determine whether you can handle your own case or if an injury lawyer is necessary.
1. Were the injuries severe?
The more serious your accident, the more likely you are to benefit from working with a personal injury lawyer. For example, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries and amputations are life-altering events that may lead to a host of financial consequences. A lawyer can help a victim assess the full scope of damages and advocate for compensation that will address long-term financial needs (adaptive housing, physical therapy, surgery and so on).
On the other hand, even minor injuries can lead to a variety of life-long problems. Although an injury may seem minor, like a strained neck or back, the problem could linger and develop into chronic pain. Accordingly, it is best to contact a lawyer no matter what type of injury you have sustained, even if it is not severe at first.
2. Is the insurance company denying your claim?
Automotive accidents in Ontario are covered by statutory Accident Benefits. These provide specified payments in the event of a motor vehicle accident (and bike/pedestrian accidents), regardless of fault. However, an insurance company may attempt to deny your claim if it argues you were “in contravention of the law at the time of the collision,” according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Examples of this include:
- knowingly misrepresenting information at the time of application for auto insurance;
- driving without a valid license; and
- driving without insurance.
An injury lawyer will have the case experience necessary to address these common reasons for denial of Accident Benefits.
3. Have your auto accident injuries been incorrectly categorized?
Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits are included in the statutory Accident Benefits. The categorization of your injuries will impact your potential financial recovery as follows:
- minor injuries are eligible for up to $3,500;
- non-minor injuries are eligible for up to $50,000; and
- catastrophic injuries are eligible for up to $1 million.
An error in categorization can mean thousands in lost benefits. A lawyer will understand the evidence necessary to prove severity of potentially catastrophic injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and paralysis.
4. Are you being blamed for your own accident and injuries?
It is not unusual for an accident victim to be blamed for his or her own injuries, whether in a car crash, pedestrian accident, or slip and fall. This is a threat to your ability to collect fair compensation because your own actions may be a factor in motor vehicle cases, Occupiers’ Liability cases and other personal injury claims. A lawyer may be able to help craft a well-founded response to these common defense tactics.
5. Will your injuries impact your future income?
Consult an injury lawyer if your injuries have caused you to miss income and are likely to prevent you from returning to your former job. A lawyer can work with economic experts, vocational experts and forensic accountants, to calculate the full impact of your injuries on your future earning potential.
Ready to consult a lawyer about your case? Be sure to review these questions to ask a lawyer before scheduling your free consultation, then call 1-800-JUSTICE®.