If you get into a minor car accident where you only end up with property damage, you probably won’t need help from a lawyer to get your car fixed. Alberta’s insurance laws have streamlined the process of recovering property damage compensation from the at-fault driver.
The cost of repairing a car is generally much lower than the cost of an injury claim. Insurers typically handle those claims fast and with very little quibbling. It helps them shore up their reputation against the times when they push back.
Here are the times when you are absolutely going to need an Alberta personal injury attorney to help you with your case.
When You Suffer a Major Injury
If you suffered any significant injury for which you had to go to the Emergency Room and receive treatment, you would need a personal injury attorney. The more catastrophic the accident, the more you need a lawyer.
Rest assured that Alberta insurance companies don’t wish to pay millions of dollars for the kind of ongoing, lifelong care a quadriplegia victim needs or for the kinds of vehicle modifications and physical therapy a paraplegic person needs. They don’t want to pay millions for your traumatic brain injury surgery.
The moment you need them to do the right thing the most is when they’re most likely to abandon you.
What about minor injuries? It depends.
Pain and suffering compensation for soft tissue injuries is capped at just $5488 for these injuries. They don’t get too expensive, so sometimes you’ll get a fair offer, and sometimes you won’t. It’s usually worth bringing the offer to an attorney before accepting it.
A lawyer can tell you if the offer is fair and reasonable or if it will be too low to cover your expenses. Sometimes it’s in your best interests to accept it.
These maxims don’t just hold true for car accident injuries. They hold true for slip-and-fall cases, too. The more intense and dangerous your injury, the more likely you are to need an attorney.
Don’t even talk to the insurance company if you have major injuries. Involve a lawyer immediately, and let them deal with it.
When Liability for the Accident is Under Dispute
If the other party or their insurance company is trying to claim you were the party that was at fault, you need a lawyer to prove otherwise.
Alberta is a contributory negligence province, so no party will ever be found 100% at fault. Courts often find that both parties are at least somewhat at fault when an accident occurs.
Nevertheless, get a lawyer if the other party tries to drive that number too high. Every percentage point of fault they assign to you is a percentage by which your eventual settlement award will be reduced. A few percentage points could mean the loss of thousands of dollars.
When You Need to Sue a Governmental Entity
Any time you need to sue the City of Calgary, or the province itself, you will need help.
The Municipal Government Act protects the city in many cases. For example, you can’t sue for a slip and fall caused by ice, snow, or slush unless you can prove that the city was “grossly negligent.” Usually, this means someone had to make the city aware of the problem before you slipped and fell.
If you can clear this hurdle, you must still contend with certain deadlines. For example, you must inform the city of the accident within 21 days. Usually, a lawyer can help you manage all the relevant deadlines while helping you make the case that your injury should apply under the law.
When You Need to Hold Multiple Parties Accountable
Sometimes more than one party is responsible for the accident. For example, if you get into an accident with a semi, the trucking company may be responsible, but an investigation might also show that a truck part was defective.
You’ll now need to bring a lawsuit against two different parties who are working hard to shove all the liability off onto the other party or you.
If you even suspect multiple parties might be involved, get a lawyer. A lawyer can help determine who should be held accountable and ensure that all potential parties pay their share of your claim.
It Never Hurts to Check
If you aren’t sure whether you need a lawyer, you can always arrange to speak to one. Our personal injury attorneys are happy to conduct a case review on request.
We can help you determine whether you need to move forward with a suit or whether you can just deal with the insurance company.
The team at Merchant Law has decades of experience with personal injury cases. Contact us to get help today.