Author: Clarke Law

If I hire an injury lawyer, will I have to go to court?

The majority of personal injury cases in Toronto do not to go to court. In most cases, lawyers are able to obtain a settlement for the client without having to go through a long and painful trial. Settlements are agreed upon by the lawyers for each side, with the consent of their clients. Most settlements are decided before they ever get to trial, but even after a trial has begun, a settlement can be reached at any time before the verdict. Your lawyer will ensure that the settlement you agree to is fair and optimal. The sooner a settlement can be reached, the better, for both sides.

Question: How soon do I have to file my suit?

In Canada, you have until 2 years after the date of an accident to file your lawsuit. Sometimes, finding the right lawyer can be difficult. Fortunately, Clarke Law provides no-fee consultations, so you can discuss your case with them with no obligation before deciding how to proceed. Once you’ve found a lawyer, gathering evidence and putting together your suit can take some time. That is why it’s best to hire a lawyer as quickly as possible after the accident.

Your lawyer can start the process by contacting the relevant parties and lining up the witnesses for your case. The more evidence you can gather, the better the case you will have. If the other party sees you have a solid case, they will be more willing to settle out of court, rather than pay for a lengthy court battle. They will not want to see a losing verdict, so they will likely offer you a healthy sum to drop your suit. Your lawyer will advise you as to what is fair in your case, and what kind of settlement you would be best to accept.

Question: How long will the suit take?

Legal battles can take months, if not years. Insurance companies rely on individuals getting exhausted from the process, and quitting. It is important to remember that if you have a good case, you should be persistent and not lose hope. Again, your lawyer will advise you on what is best in your circumstance. More often than not, your lawyer will advise you to settle before a trial ever begins, because of how long the process can be. The sooner you can reach a settlement and receive your award, the better for you.

Question: How much will I have to pay my accident lawyer?

The amount of money you have to pay your lawyer will depend on how much you receive in award. Clarke Law works on a contingency basis, which means you do not have to provide them with a money retainer. Once your case has been settled or decided, they will receive a percentage of your winnings. This percentage will be agreed upon and put in writing at the beginning of your relationship with Clarke Law. If you do not win any awards or settlements, you are only responsible for covering the cost of disbursements (out-of-pocket expenses). They will work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

What types of accidents are eligible for compensation?

There are many types of accidents that can result in compensation. If your accident is someone else’s fault, you would be advised to hire a personal injury lawyer. Once you’ve consulted with a lawyer, you will be able to determine if someone was at fault and should be held responsible for your injuries resulting from the accident.

Question: What types of accident cases does Clarke Law handle?

Clarke Law handles a variety of kinds of accidents on behalf of their clients. These types include car accidents, spinal cord injuries, head and brain injuries, orthopaedic injuries, birth injuries, neurological injuries, chronic pain syndrome, and psychological injuries. Many of these injuries are the results of car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and other such incidents. In all of these cases, injuries will manifest physically, and will include medical bills.

Question: Are all accidents treated the same?

Every accident is a unique experience and no two are treated identically. Not only will one type of accident receive different damage awards than another, each specific incident will receive different awards, based on the specifics of the accident. No two cases are exactly alike, although they will be largely based on similar precedents.

Question: What benefits will I be entitled to because of my accident?

You may be entitled to insurance benefits, regardless of who is at fault. If your accident prevents you from returning to work, you may be eligible for income replacement benefits through your car insurance provider. If you do not have a job, are a student, or are the primary caregiver in your home, there are benefits for you, as well. If you require health and medical services that are not covered under OHIP, you may be able to receive coverage over a certain period of time. These services may include chiropractic care, at-home care from a nurse, physiotherapy, prescription medications, and psychological therapy. If you require assistive devices, such as a wheelchair, or an aide, such as a seeing-eye dog, that may be covered as well. If your family has had to support you and that has cost them money, or if you’ve required someone else to maintain your home, there can be compensation for that, too. Of course, there are maximums and limitations on each of these benefits, which your accident lawyer will make you aware of.

Question: I’m not sure if my accident qualifies. What should I do?

If you are not sure if your specific accident will be compensated, contact a personal lawyer anyway. The lawyers at Clarke Law would be happy to meet with you, at no charge, to help you determine if you have a case for either civil litigation, or an insurance claim. They handled multitudes of these cases, will be able to let you know if your accident and injuries warrant action. Let the experts guide you during this difficult and confusing time.

A family member died in a car accident. Can I sue?

If a member of your family died in a car accident in Toronto, it is possible that you may be able to sue. As with any car accident case, it is best to secure a lawyer as soon as possible. In order to sue, you will need to prove that the death was a direct result of fault or negligence. Your lawyer will help you gather the evidence to prove that your family member’s death was the result of someone’s negligence or misconduct. If the death was caused by someone’s actions or neglect for safety, you may have a case. This is called a wrongful death claim.

Question: Who is entitled to sue?

In most wrongful death claims, the person seeking legal action must be a spouse, child, grandchild, or sibling of the deceased. Only immediate family members can sue for losses due to death in Ontario. Wrongful death claims fall under the Family Law Act.

Question: What benefits can I expect from the suit?

If you do sue the person responsible for the death of your family member, you may be eligible for a number of benefits. These benefits include the recompense for any expenses directly resulting from their death, all medical bills accrued between the time of the accident and their passing, funeral expenses, and a projected amount that that person may have contributed to the family over the course of the rest of their life. This includes not only lost wages and potential inheritances, but also emotional support such as companionship, guidance, and care. While putting monetary values on these types of things is difficult, there are formula precedents that are used for determining what that might be worth to your family.

The Family Law Act (FLA) has certain deductibles associated with its claims, but claims exceeding $50,000 are not subject to any deductibles. This means that if your family member’s wrongful death suit is awarded more than $50,000, you are not responsible to pay any deductibles.

Question: What will my lawyer be able to do for me during this hard time?

You should not have to go through such a traumatic and devastating time alone. Hiring a lawyer will alleviate some of the stress associated with handling the situation, as there is so much that needs to be done. Your lawyer will help you to determine if you have a case, and whom you can sue. They will also file all of the necessary paperwork, and guide you through the whole legal process as it pertains to your situation. Your lawyer will also help you deal with insurance matters, financial issues, and the deceased’s will. The lawyers at Clarke Law will help you by supporting you through this process. They are committed to helping you get the help you need. They realize how hard this time can be, and will do everything they can to help you through the legal process, which can be scary and confusing, even without the added stress of the loss of a family member.

 

How do I know if I have a case?

You will only know if you have a legitimate case if you consult with a personal injury lawyer. Clarke Law offers no-fee, no-risk consultations that will determine if you have a case to proceed with. Meeting with a lawyer will give you a chance to discuss all of the details of your case. Your lawyer will be able to tell you about similar cases which set precedence for your case, and what will happen if you choose to proceed, or if you choose not to.

Question: What factors determine whether or not I have a case?

Pursuing legal action against someone, such as the other driver in a car accident, depends on who was at fault. A successful case will require proving that someone’s actions, or lack thereof, caused your accident. This might mean someone was neglectful, resulting in your injury, or it may be more direct, such as a driver while intoxicated. In any case, your lawyer will have to provide evidence that someone else’s behaviour caused your injury.

The next factor that must be decided is how much damage was caused by the accident. There are many items that factor into this list. Your medical bills, rehabilitation needs, counselling costs, and care all factor into the damages. Additionally, the income you have lost as a direct result of the injury, for example during time spent in a hospital, will be added to the damages. Loss of income capacity is also considered, meaning that if your injury prevents you from returning to your work and therefore you cannot earn what you once did, that will also be factored in. These damages can add up to large sums, since they are based on your earning capacity over the rest of your life.

You may also be eligible for additional expenses related to your accident and injury, as well as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering awards are related to the emotional pain and agony associated with dealing with the accident, the injury, and the whole process of pursuing recompense. These awards can be relatively large, depending on the ordeal you’ve been through, and who you find yourself up against.

If your case satisfies the requirements of holding someone responsible, and your damages are substantial enough, you may have a case. Make sure you share all of the details of your case with your personal injury lawyer, because something that may seem inconsequential to you may be very important to your suit. Your lawyer will help you sort through all of the information to decide if you have a case.

Question: What happens if I don’t have a case?

In the event that you do not have enough of a case to proceed with legal action, there are other avenues you can pursue. Your lawyer can help you file claims with the involved insurance companies. Similarly, you might be eligible for support from the WSIB in the case of a workplace injury, or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB), in the case of an injury resulting from a crime. There are other ways of receiving compensation beyond civil litigation, and your lawyer will be able to help you understand and access them.

I was a passenger during a car accident. Do I still need a lawyer?

As a passenger in a car accident in Toronto, you should consult a lawyer if you were injured. As the passenger, you will not be considered at fault for the car accident, but that does not mean you won’t need some support in the process. If you’ve been injured in the accident, you will absolutely be entitled to benefits and compensation.

Question: Whose insurance company should pay my benefits?

You may have some options with regards to who to pursue benefits from. If you require compensation, you can file a claim with your own insurance company, but you can also file with either driver’s insurance companies. You will want to pursue the other driver’s insurance first, then the driver whose vehicle you were in, and finally your own. The at-fault driver will likely be held most responsible to pay out claims of anyone injured in the accident.

If the damages of your injuries exceed what one insurance policy will pay, it is possible for you to file more than one claim. For instance, if you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance but it only pays 75% of your damages, you can file a claim with the insurance company of the person driving the vehicle you were in for the other 25%. You cannot file to exceed the damages of your injuries, meaning that you cannot ask for more than 100% from all companies inclusively. You will not receive 75% of the damages from one company, and another 75% from the other; your award can only total 100% of your damages. But where one policy will not pay wholly, the other company can supplement. Likewise, if you need to file a claim with your own insurance company to make up the difference, you have that option as well.

Question: What if the driver was a member of my family?

If the driver is a member of your family, and you live with that person, you cannot file a claim against their policy, because you are considered insured on the policy. You will not be able to file a third-party claim in this case, as with the other instances; instead, the driver’s claim will have to cover your injuries in addition to their own.

Question: So how does a lawyer help me?

The days following a car accident can be stressful and confusing. Especially if you do not know how to deal with insurance companies and paperwork, you will want the support of a personal injury lawyer. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may require a lot of assistance, and you want to ensure that you are not forgotten by the insurance companies since you are not one of the drivers involved. Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims, so retaining the services of a personal injury lawyer, like those at Clarke Law, will help fight against them to obtain a fair award. If the case goes to court, your lawyer will be able to provide expert witnesses and all of the evidence necessary to get you compensated. The earlier you hire the lawyer, the better for you.

I was involved in a car accident and the other driver left the scene. Can I still get compensated?

There are ways of still receiving compensation if you’ve been in a car accident in Toronto where the other driver left the scene. As in any other case, hiring a lawyer after a car accident is the best course of action. In Canada, leaving the scene of an accident is a crime.

Question: What should I do if the other driver leaves?

The first thing you should do is to be observant and write down as much information as you can, including the colour, make, and model of car that hit you. Write down their license plate, even if you can only recall a portion of it. Take pictures if you can. If you saw the driver, write down as many distinguishing features as you can remember. The more information and detail you have, the better. If there were any eye witnesses, such as pedestrians, or other drivers who stopped to help, ask them to write down what they saw. Doing this as soon as possible will ensure maximum accuracy. Do your best not to share or confuse information with the other witnesses; instead, provide the police with all the accounts of the events separately. Again, this will provide for a more accurate account of what happened.

The next step is to call the police. You will want to do this almost immediately after the accident, to give the police a better chance at finding the car that hit yours. If there are any near-by businesses with street-facing cameras, the police will want to ask them for footage of the accident. This will hopefully give them a good look at the car and its license plate. The next step is to call a personal injury lawyer, who can help you with the aftermath of the hit-and-run accident. Hiring a lawyer will bring you peace of mind in such a stressful situation, as they will handle all of the intricate details of the case.

Question: How do I receive compensation from a driver who left the scene?

This is where it is especially important that you hire a lawyer after this type of accident. With the help of your lawyer and the police, you will hopefully be able to track down the hit-and-run driver. Even if the police do not make an arrest, once you know who the driver is, you can file an insurance claim against them. Locating the offender on your own may not be enough for the insurance matters. Your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit against the driver, and subpoena them to appear, requiring their cooperation in your case. This is nearly impossible without the help of a lawyer. Enlisting the help of the personal injury lawyers at Clarke Law will be your best bet in getting the compensation you deserve. Hit-and-run cases are often even more difficult than the average car accident, which is why having a lawyer is so crucial.

Do I need a lawyer if I get in a car accident in Toronto?

You are not required to hire a lawyer after being involved in a car accident in Toronto. However, it is in your best interest to consult with one. If you want to obtain the compensation you deserve, hiring a personal injury lawyer is a good idea. Without a doubt, if the other party or parties involved in the accident hire lawyers, you are going to want to have one, too.

Question: Why would I want a lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer will file paperwork with your insurance company on your behalf, and deal with any communications coming your way from the other parties in the accident and their insurance companies. They’ve been through this process many times before – they know what to expect, and how to handle it. They know your rights, which means they’ll be able to get you more compensation and benefits than you’d be able to get by working through the process alone. Your lawyer will know the steps and how to work through them.

Your lawyer will also be able to advise you on issues like talking to people about your accident. In the days of social media, many people like to post things like pictures and statuses, but this might end up hindering your case or your access to benefits. Your lawyer will be able to tell you how important it is to keep these things private.

Your lawyer will also help you to keep all of the details and paperwork relating to your accident in order. It is important to keep receipts for everything relevant to the accident, including your medical and rehabilitation bills, invoices and receipts for repairs done on your vehicle, and any other expenses directly related to the car accident. As well, by recounting your story to a personal injury lawyer immediately following the incident, you will be able to keep the events straight. Your lawyer will keep records of all of it for you.

Question: What if my case never goes to court?

Your case my never go to court, but that does not mean you don’t want a lawyer. In fact, most cases in Canada are settled out of court, because lawsuits are long processes that can involve substantial wait times for your matter to make it onto a court list. Most insurance companies and individuals would rather settle the matter out of court, because it saves everyone time and money. It is still important, however, to hire a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will make sure you get a settlement that is fair, and not let the insurance companies bully you into settling for less than you deserve. Your lawyer will fight for your rights, and ensure that you get what you are entitled to.

After being involved in a car accident, no matter how serious, it is important to consult a lawyer. Clarke Law provides free initial consultations, meaning you can discuss the details of your case confidentially, and be advised on how to proceed.

Can I still get benefits if I am at fault in a car accident?

Yes, you can still receive insurance benefits if you are at fault in a car accident. Regardless of whether the car accident was your fault, or someone else was to blame, you are still eligible to receive benefits from your insurance company. Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, and in varying degrees of severity, so in almost any event, you can still get benefits for your injuries.

You may have struck a pedestrian or a cyclist, or been in an accident that didn’t involve any other vehicles, but that does not mean you are exempt from receiving support. If you were injured, you will be able to receive benefits.

Question: How do I know who is at fault?

Fault is determined in percentages. It is possible that more than one driver can be considered partially at fault for an accident. The outcome of the insurance decisions will be based on the amount of fault attributed to each driver. For example, if more than 25% of the fault is yours, your insurance premiums will most likely be affected, but you can still receive compensation. Your insurance can pay out benefits to you, even if you are partially or wholly responsible for the car accident, but keep in mind that your payments going forward may be increased.

Question: How a can a personal injury lawyer help me if I was at fault?

Even if your case does not go to court, a personal injury lawyer can help you in dealing with your insurance company. Insurance companies do not like to pay out claims, so having representation on your side can ensure you get what you are entitled to. Especially if you are looking for the other at-fault driver’s insurance company to pay you claim, having a lawyer can be to your benefit. By hiring a personal injury lawyer from Clarke Law, you will be supported by someone who knows and understands the laws, and how they will be applied in your particular circumstance.

A Personal Injury Lawyer will make sure you get the compensation you deserve and require, even when you are at fault for the car accident. Instead of letting yourself be bullied by insurance companies, hiring a lawyer can save you a lot of headache, as well as money. Your lawyer will give you a fair assessment of how much responsibility your insurance will need to take, and how much compensation you’re eligible and entitled to receive.

Question: How do I know if my case entitles me to benefits?

If your car accident leaves you unable to return to work, you will be entitled to benefits. If you require assistance in getting yourself dressed, bathed, or fed, you should also receive financial compensation. Your total award is based on the damages of your loss of income, any expenses you incur as a result of the car accident, and pain and suffering. If any or all of these damages apply to your case, you will be eligible for benefits. The personal injury lawyers at Clarke Law will be able to guide you through the process and help you seek the right damages for your case.

How long will it take an injury lawyer to settle my case?

A common question that accident lawyers hear is “how long will it take to settle my case?” When you are dealing with a serious injury, it can cause a great deal of financial hardship. The combination of lost income due to missed work along with medical and other expenses can be extremely challenging – especially when you are already dealing with physical pain and the process of recovery and rehabilitation. Naturally, clients want to see compensation as soon as possible.

While accident lawyers also prefer to see their clients get compensated quickly, this is rarely the case. On average, it will take anywhere between two to four years before a case is settled. In some cases, this happens more quickly and in other cases, it can take longer.

 

Question: Why Can’t My Case Be Settled Sooner?

When it comes to personal injuries, there are a lot of unknowns at the beginning. Often times the full extent of the injury and what impact it will have on a client’s life is unclear in the days, weeks and months following the accident. The financial impact of your injury may not be predictable at the start – and we don’t recommend settlement until it is.

We do not recommend settlement negotiations until all reasonable treatment options have been exhausted and the “maximum medical recovery” period has been reached. This usually takes at least two years.

Once the maximum medical recovery period has been reached, your doctor will be able to confirm that they do not expect a significant amount of further recovery. At this point, your lawyer can start calculating reasonable compensation amounts for things such as pain and suffering, as well as estimates of future income loss and future cost of care.

While it may seem like a long time for your case to continue, this is the only way for your lawyer to properly calculate an appropriate amount of compensation and ensure that you don’t miss out on much needed funds.

Reasons Why a Case May Be Delayed

Ensuring proper due diligence during a personal injury case may cause a case to take more time than the client would like. There are however, also a number of other reasons why a case might be delayed.

Here are a few of those reasons:

  • How much cooperation your lawyer receives from others involved in the case. This includes doctors and other health care providers as well as insurance adjusters and their lawyers.
  • How quickly your lawyer is able to obtain necessary documents from your doctor, the hospital and other institutions.
  • The time required to arrange assessments and then get the reports from those assessments.
  • Whether or not the insurance adjuster and the defence lawyer are willing to go participate in mediation
  • Scheduling a pre-trial or trial

Personal injuries can be complex and it can take time before your lawyer can determine an appropriate amount of compensation. But it is time well spent to ensure that you get everything that you are entitled to.

 

What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, it can be a scary experience. If you are badly shaken, you are probably not going to be thinking as clearly as you would be in a calmer circumstance. Knowing what to do and what information to get before a car accident occurs can help you to act appropriately if the need ever arises.

Question: Do you need to call 911?

Not all car accidents require that you call 911, but there are some circumstances where you should.

If someone is seriously injured as a result of the car accident, your first priority is to call 911 to make sure that they get the medical attention that they need.

If you suspect that the other driver is intoxicated or otherwise impaired, call the police immediately. Driving under the influence is crime, and it is important to have the police verify whether your suspicions are correct.

If you do not feel that there is a need to contact the police while at the scene, you should still report the event to a self-reporting collision centre so that there is a record on file.

Speaking with the other driver

It is natural to be concerned for the well-being of others involved in the car accident and no doubt you will make some small talk while you are waiting for police and/or tow trucks.

At this point, you should not admit any blame or agree to pay for any damages. You should also not agree to take your car in to the other driver’s mechanic for repairs. It is important to let your insurance company’s property damages advisors do their jobs.

Exchanging information

What you should do while your speaking to the other driver is to exchange information. Information that should be exchanged includes names, phone numbers, and address as well as getting the vehicle make, model and the vehicle’s license plate number.

You should also get the driver’s license number and insurance policy number of the other driver.

If you are able, it is also a good idea to take photos of the accident and any damages caused to your vehicle or injuries to yourself.

If You’ve Been Injured

If you’ve were injured during the car accident, you should consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Even if the injuries seem minor, it is important to get a proper diagnosis, as accident injuries can sometimes be more serious than they first appear.

It is also important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You only have seven days from the time of the accident to make a claim with your insurance company, and it is advisable to speak with a personal injury lawyer before you speak to your insurance company.

If you injuries prevent you from coming into our law office, one of the lawyers from Clarke Law can arrange a consultation with you at your home or in the hospital.