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Car Accident Claims

While car accidents are the number one cause of personal injuries in Ontario, not knowing what to expect can make the idea of seeking car accident compensation even more intimidating. As an experienced personal injury lawyer who has seen both sides of the table, I know what to expect from insurance companies and defense attorneys, and I am focused on helping injured people heal. That includes working to get my clients the maximum compensation available as quickly as possible. 

What Is the Process for Filing and Getting Paid for a Car Accident Claim?

The process of filing car accident claims should actually begin at the scene of the accidents. If you are able, you should follow some general best practices to make the claims and recovery process as smooth as possible:

  1. Collect all the identifying information you can from the other driver and any witnesses, including names, addresses, and insurance companies’ names and policy numbers. If you can, collect their business cards, digital or otherwise, to reduce the likelihood of writing down any information incorrectly. 
  2. Call the police and ambulance service—and get checked out by medical professionals. Panic, pain, and duress can make it hard to follow logical steps, but the best thing you can do for yourself is follow the directions of first responders. The full extent of injuries that cause long-term pain, like whiplash or psychological injuries, may not be immediately apparent, but the more documentation you have, the better.
  3. Take pictures at the scene and afterward of the progression of any physical injuries. Photo documentation is worth more than a thousand words, both in establishing degrees of fault and in supporting the medical documentation of your symptoms.

After your accident, you will need to file a claim with your automobile insurance broker, agent, or company within seven days, but ideally much sooner. The more familiar you are with your Ontario Automobile Policy before you call, the better. This is one reason it can be helpful to call a lawyer before you file your claim, especially if you are concerned that your insurance company may try to back out of paying the full amount of damages.

What Obstacles Get in the Way of Car Accident Compensation?

Since Ontario operates within a no-fault insurance system, many people assume this means that their insurance is a layer of protection they can rely on to cover their medical bills regardless of what happened to cause the accident. But in fact, there are still plenty of roadblocks to getting maximum compensation.

  1. At-fault determination: Just because insurance companies compensate the insured in spite of fault does not mean that no one is found responsible for the accident. In truth, no-fault simply means that drivers file and process claims through their own insurance companies. In the event that passengers are injured, they would file with their own insurance companies, too. If they don’t have one, they would file against the driver’s policy. The amount of the deductible paid to the insurance company and the cost of your future insurance premiums are all impacted by how liable for the collision you are determined to be, from zero to 100 percent at fault.
  2. Insurance companies: I used to work for insurance companies, so I know the kinds of strategies used to minimize the amount of money insurance companies pay out when accidents happen. I’ve said it before: insurance companies are not charities, and they will dig deep to minimize your claim, especially when it comes to Statutory Accident Benefits Coverages. Insurance companies may try to deny income replacement or non-earner compensation or compensation for other expenses if you are found to meet certain disqualification criteria, such as driving without a license.
  3. Self-sabotage: Part of my job is to protect your rights, even if that means protecting you from yourself during a car accident injury claim process. It’s equally important not to engage in any behaviors that could be interpreted as proof that you are actually better off than your claim says. After your accident, it is also important that you follow your doctor’s orders when it comes to recovery and treatment to protect your health and your rights to compensation. 

While you have two years to file a claim for compensation for injuries from a car accident, memories and evidence can fade quickly. If you’re wondering how long after a car accident you can claim injury, you’re already behind. Call a personal injury lawyer early on, and let them help you navigate the next steps. We know what red flags to look for early on, or if nothing else, sometimes we like to shadow situations for a few months and get a handle on how claims are developing before jumping in. 

How Can Calling an Attorney Help With Getting Car Accident Compensation?

Hiring a car accident lawyer helps ensure that the insurance company will not misclassify your injuries, resulting in significantly reduced coverage and payouts that fall short. Working with a personal injury lawyer can go a long way in convincing your own insurance company to properly classify your collision injuries, as well as help you pursue the at-fault party for additional compensation. 

What Happens When You Call a Lawyer for a Car Accident Claim?

Every firm is different, but here’s the process you can likely expect to undergo when you call a lawyer about your car accident claim.

  1. The intake: You will be connected with someone who will collect some general details about collision and claim. At a small firm like mine, you will be connected with a clerk, who then passes on your information to me. The more you answer honestly, the better we can help you.
  2. The consultation: With most firms, if the initial intake seems to indicate that a lawyer may be able to help your claim, you will receive a request for a more in-depth consultation. You should think of this as your chance to ask questions of the firm, too. If you end up being represented by this firm, you are going to want to feel good about your decision. 
  3. The second opinion: Even if you have been turned down by a firm or two, but if you’re confident that you have a strong case, make sure to talk to an attorney who really seems to have your best interests at heart before giving up completely. If you’ve talked to three or four attorneys and they have all turned you down, there is a good chance you do not have a case, but you should never back down because of—or pin all your hopes on—the word of just one firm.

No two personal injury lawsuits are exactly the same, but a lawyer who truly believes in your case and is prepared to support you through the process may have ways to offset some of the stresses of medical bills coming due and other financial hardships while you wait for your case to be resolved

How Can Derek Wilson Help?

Even with taking precautions and being the best driver you can be, accidents happen. In fact, in 2019, Canada saw over 140,000 injuries as a result of automobile collisions, according to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database (NCDB). The good news for all of us who get on the road each day is that the numbers of injuries and fatalities on the road continue to decrease. While any number of injuries and fatalities is too many, preliminary data from the 2020 Ontario Road Safety Annual Report show that 2020 saw far fewer instances of bad news compared to 2019.

Still, getting car accident compensation is not always an easy process for those who have been injured. Working for insurance companies has given me a well-balanced perspective on how to advocate for clients, along with a keen understanding of what it takes to build a successful case.

Call us at 855-769-0418 or get in touch online to schedule a free consultation. We are committed to always having your best interests in mind and helping your and your family recover fair compensation.

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