If you’ve been in an automobile or motorcycle accident in Canmore or anywhere else in Alberta then you may need a lawyer’s help to recover the compensation you’re entitled to. If you were not the at-fault driver it may be time to talk to us, the lawyers at Merchant Law. We have decades of experience and have helped thousands of Alberta accident victims recover money.
Why pursue an injury claim? Because automobile and motorcycle accidents can have devastating lifelong consequences. There may be medical bills that Medicare won’t cover. There may be long-term care bills you’ll have to pay.
What does it take to have a strong personal injury case in Alberta?
The first measure of your case strength is fault, or negligence. If the other driver was breaking traffic laws or driving while distracted while you did everything you were supposed to do then you have an extremely strong case.
Sometimes this isn’t the case. Sometimes both drivers are a little bit negligent. You can still press a claim if you are less than 51% responsible for the accident, but there may be diminishing returns as your eventual award amount will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned. A lawyer will need to look at the facts of the case to help you determine if it’s worth it to pursue a claim.
The other thing you have to consider is the severity of your injuries. If you have minor injuries the initial offer from the insurance company might be sufficient to address your needs and expenses. If that’s the case there’s no reason not to accept it and move on.
If your injuries are severe, disfiguring, or life-altering then you will need to launch a personal injury case. The other driver’s insurance company will fight twice as hard to avoid paying you any money at all. Meanwhile you will be depending on those funds to put your life back together.
How do pain and suffering awards work in Alberta?
Pain and suffering awards are a standard component of all personal injury settlements, but there’s no hard and fast laws, charts, or formulae to determine exactly how much any given award will be worth.
In Alberta, pain and suffering awards are capped at $370,000. Beyond that, the award is highly subjective. The amount depends on the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life. This means your lawyer will have to negotiate well to maximize this award, and that no two awards look exactly alike.
How do you know whether it’s a good idea to take a personal injury settlement?
You and your lawyer should have a long discussion about any proposed award before you agree to take it. Both you and your lawyer should be satisfied that the personal injury award will be capable of meeting your needs.
Every personal injury settlement consists of several key components. We’ve already discussed the pain and suffering award. It can be difficult to tell if that award is “high enough” on its own.
Instead, you should consider the entirety of the award. Will it cover your medical expenses? Help you pay for car repair? Cover your lost wages? If you will need long-term care has the settlement provided for that care? If you can’t work anymore will this settlement give you money to live on long enough for you to get back on your feet?
What are the limits of what the settlement can pay, given the facts of your case? This includes your percentage of fault but also insurance limits and the availability of negligent parties to go after.
You can try to negotiate a settlement until a jury returns a verdict, but sometimes there are diminishing returns for continuing to reject settlements. It’s a big decision. Make sure you’re making it thoughtfully and rationally.
Do you really need a lawyer for your personal injury case?
You will typically come out ahead if you hire a personal injury lawyer. You’re about 40% more likely to recover funds at all, especially if you have severe injuries. You’re also likely to get 3 to 10 times more money than you would if you tried to go it alone.
You should also consider hiring a lawyer if you have a more complex personal injury case. For example, motorcycle accident cases tend to be far more complicated than automobile accident cases. The injuries are more extensive, the evidence is harder to collect, and your lawyer will have to fight an uphill battle against the stigma that plagues riders. This all requires considerable expertise.
Another complex type of case is a commercial trucking accident case, wherein there may be multiple responsible parties who you’d have to hold accountable for your injuries. In this case, you’d need a lawyer capable of navigating federal law and industry norms surrounding the trucking industry.
In the end, there’s never any risk involved in having a personal injury lawyer at least look at your case. You don’t have to pay a retainer or come up with an exorbitant hourly rate. Most lawyers are happy to consult with you to find out if your case is worth pursuing, and the lawyers at Merchant Law are no exception.
Get Help Today
We have offices conveniently located in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Airdrie, and Cochrane. We also serve clients all across Alberta including Lethbridge, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie, Spruce Grove, Lloydminster, Leduc, Okotoks, Fort Saskatchewan, Chestermere, Camrose, Beaumont, Stony Plain, Sylvan Lake, Brooks, Strathmore, High River, Canmore, Morinville, Whitecourt, Hinton, Olds, and Blackfalds.
The lawyers at Merchant Law have decades of experience with cases just like yours. We’ve helped individuals all over Alberta get the compensation they deserve for their cases. You can trust us to help you, too. We’re also known as some of the province’s toughest litigators and negotiators, which means insurance companies are more likely to play ball.
Call (403) 225-7777 today to get started. We’ll review the facts of your case and help you determine what your next steps should be.