What to do after you have been in a car accident?
Your Rights and Responsibilities at the Scene
Stop your vehicle as soon as possible and turn on your flashers. Leaving the scene of an accident can lead to criminal charges. If you or anyone in your vehicle is injured call the police. If safe to do so, get out of your vehicle to see in anyone needs medical attention. If they do, call the police. Take photos on your cell phone of the accident scene and of any damage to the vehicles involved.
Cooperate with the police and give them a statement to help them complete their police report. It is important to tell the police officer about all of your physical injuries so they are noted in the police report.
Exchange license and registration information with other drivers involved. Try to remain calm, don’t voluntarily assume liability, sign statements or give a statement except to the police.
What to do after you leave the Scene
If the police do not arrive, you must attend at the collision reporting centre to report the accident. Seek immediate medical attention for anyone in your vehicle who is injured so you can begin to receive appropriate medical treatment. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of the injuries sustained in your car accident.
Talk to us before you call your insurance company
Call the experienced lawyers at Fosters Law, and they will help you to understand your legal rights. While you must contact your insurance company, we will assist you with the complex claims process and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation from the driver responsible for your auto accident.
Am I Entitled to Compensation?
If you sustained injury you are likely entitled to compensation
From a severe injury to a minor injury each case is unique to you. Every person is different a what might be minor problem to someone else may be a major problem for to you. Contact our personal injury lawyers to assist you to understand if you may be entitled to compensation.
If another party was partially or completely at fault for your auto accident, you may be able to bring a lawsuit (also called a tort claim) against the at fault motor vehicles to car accident claim seeking the fair and proper compensation you are entitled too.
In general, you have two years from the date of the auto accident to start the lawsuit. This is known as the limitation period. Even if you may have missed the limitation period to bring a lawsuit, be sure to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as the limitation can sometimes be extended. For example, limitations do not run against minor children.
Call a car accident lawyer you can trust. Fosters Law’s motor vehicle accident lawyers will provide you with a free consultation. We have extensive experience representing victims of accidents involving motor vehicles and have an outstanding track record of success with our clients. We know how to achieve maximum recovery and full compensation for accident victims who hire us.
What Happens if I am found partially at Fault?
Determining liability for a car accident involves assessing your liability and the liability of the other parties who were involved in your auto accident. The police report, witness statements, engineering assessments and video footage are several factors we consider to assess liability.
If you are partially at fault for your auto accident, then you can only recover partial damages. For example, if your damages are assessed at $100,000 and you are found to be 50% at liable, then your damages would be reduced by 50% to $50,000.00.
What are the types of Damages I can sue for in a Lawsuit?
General Damages (Pain and Suffering)
General Damages are damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of amenities. In Ontario, the victim of a car accident can only sue for general damages if their injuries from the car accident meet the threshold. We have explained the basics of the threshold below.
In order to recover general damages for personal injuries that were a direct result of an auto accident, you must prove that you sustained a “permanent, serious disfigurement” or a “permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function” in your car accident. This is known as the threshold.
What is a permanent, serious disfigurement?
It is usually straightforward to prove you have sustained a serious disfigurement in your auto accident as disfigurements such as serious scaring are easily seen.
What is a Permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function?
For the impairment to be considered permanent, it must be expected to continue the rest of your life even with participation in recommended medical treatment.
For the impairment to be considered serious and important it must substantially interfere with your ability to continue to work as you did before the car accident or your ability to be a caregiver for someone or to participate in your normal activities of daily living.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Fosters law and we will help you understand if your injuries will meet the threshold.
Monetary Threshold and Statutory Deductible
In Ontario when you recover money for general damages at trial, or through settlement, the amount awarded is subject to a statutory deductible if the award is lower than a specific amount, known as the monetary threshold.
The 2022 monetary threshold for general damages in Ontario is $138,343.86 and the statutory deductible for general damages in Ontario is $41,503.50.
Therefore if your award or settlement from the other driver for general damages is less than this monetary threshold, the statutory deductible is taken off your damage award or settlement.
Family Law Act Claims;
What claims can be made under the Family Law Act?
When someone in your family is the victim of a motor vehicle accident, it can take an emotional and financial toll on the family. In Ontario, family members of accident victims have a right under the Family Law Act to advance a personal injury claim for the following damages:
- recover expenses incurred to assist the injured person;
- funeral expenses incurred after the wrongful death of a family member;
- A reasonable allowance for travel expenses incurred to visit the injured person during recovery and to take them to appointments for medical treatment.
- An allowance for lost wages or the value of services the family member provides to assist the injured person as a result of the injury; and
- An amount to compensate for the loss of guidance, care, and companionship caused by the person’s injuries or death.
- Family Law Act claims are derivative of the injured person’s claim. What this means is that if the injured person is at fault for the accident, the Family Law Act Claims will also be reduced by their percentage of negligence.
Who can make family law act claims?
Generally, the motor vehicle accident victims’ family members can bring an injury claim after a motor vehicle accident on Ontario including their spouse, children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents and their brothers and sisters.
Monetary Threshold and Statutory Deductible
Family Law Act claims for the loss of guidance, care, and companionship of the injured person are considered general damages. As such they are subject to a momentary threshold and a deductible.
The 2022 monetary threshold for Family Law Act awards Ontario is $69,171.36.86 and the Statutory deductible is $20,751.76.
Therefore if Family Law Act Claim award or settlement is less than the monetary threshold of $69,171.36.86 it will be reduced by $20,751.76.
If a member of your family has been injured in a car crash, contact one of the experienced motor vehicle accident attorneys at Fosters law. We are personal injury law experts who know how to help you and your family receive maximum compensation.
Past & Future Economic Loss
If you are unable to work as a result of your injuries, you can seek compensation for lost wages.
What is Past Income Loss?
Past income loss is the income you have lost from the date of the accident up to the date you settle your personal injury case or receive a verdict at trial.
In Ontario, legislation dictates that when you bring a personal injury lawsuit, you are not entitled to recover lost wages for the first 7 days after the collision. You are then entitled to recover 70% of gross before tax lost wages up to the date of trial or settlement.
In addition to being able to recover a portion of your past lost wages in your tort claim, you are also entitled to receive Income Replacement benefits from your own car insurance company.
What is Future Income Loss?
Future income loss is the amount of income you will lose from the date you settle your personal injury case or receive a verdict at trial, until your expected age of retirement.
In Ontario, you may be entitled to recover 100% of your gross future income loss if we can prove your injuries will prevent you from returning to any employment.
Future income loss is often the largest part of a person’s personal injury claim.
Loss of Household and Handyman Capacity
If you are unable to maintain your home and perform housekeeping as you did prior to the accident, you can claim reimbursement for expenses incurred or that you will incur in the future. It is not necessary that you hire outside help to assist you with housekeeping. You only need to prove that you are unable to perform the same level of housekeeping duties as before the accident because of your injuries.
It is important to maintain receipts for any services hired to perform activities that you may have done before the accident, but cannot do after the accident as result of your injuries; for example, housekeeping services or property maintenance contractors.
Past and Future Care Costs
You can claim any expense that you incurred or that you will incur in the future as a result of the car accident that you are not entitled to from any other source. This includes all past, present, and future healthcare expenses not covered by OHIP, extended health coverage, or accident benefits provided by your car insurance company.
You can also claim for assistive devices, modifications that you had to make to your home as a result of your injuries, and cost of past and future care.
What is the lawsuit process?
Typically, you have two years from the date of the accident to bring a lawsuit.
During the first two years, your primary focus will be on treatment and recovery. The at-fault insurance company will be notified of your potential injury claim and will be provided with medical, income, education and employment documentation so they are informed as to your current situation.
A Statement of Claim is issued with the Court prior to the limitation date and served on the Defendants.
In response, the Defendant will serve and file a Statement of Defence.
Examinations for Discovery are then scheduled. Then you are examined under oath the Defence lawyer will ask you questions about the car accident, your health history and education and employment before and how. They will seek to understand your life before the car accident and how it has been changed because of the personal injury you suffered in the car accident.
There may be a potential to settle your action at any stage of the litigation. Typically most personal injury cases will proceed to a private Mediation to help resolve the action. Mediation is often a great way to recover compensation without the potential risks and costs of going to trial.
If a settlement is not achieved a Pretrial and Trial dates are set by a Judge. It is very rare that an action proceeds to Trial.
If I lose my case, will I owe money?
As most cases resolve prior to trial, it is possible, but very unlikely you will lose money by bringing an injury lawsuit.
In accordance with the Contingency Agreement, there is no payment of our law firm for our fees or disbursements unless there is a successful settlement or verdict at trial.
However, if your matter does proceed to Trial, there are some scenarios that may affect your wallet. If a judge or jury rule in favour of the Defendant, you may be subjected to pay partial or substantial costs to the Defendant. Costs are in the Court’s discretion and are largely calculated based on the Offers to Settle that are exchanged between the parties prior to the commencement of Trial;
If your case needs to go to trial we fully explain how legal costs work well in advance of a Trial.
For client security, legal expense insurance is often purchased for motor vehicle accident litigation files. The insurance company will cover up to $100,000 inclusive of any unrecoverable disbursements and the defendant’s legal fees in case your matter is unsuccessful or discontinued; If we settle your claim or are successful at trial, you pay a small premium for the insurance from your settlement or verdict at the time of resolution.
How long will my action take?
It is difficult to estimate the time your case will take to resolve as there are so many variables that can impact the litigation process. In general, personal litigation matters take 3 to 5 years to fully resolve. Some of the most common variables that affect the length of litigation are:
- the complexity of your injuries and legal issues in dispute in your legal matter;
- the number of parties involved in the litigation of your case;
- the reasonableness of the parties involved;
- the current backlog in the Court system;
Every personal injury lawyer at our law firm has the experience and skill needed to win cases for car accident victims. Let us take the complex process of litigating car accident claims away from you, so you can have peace of mind and focus on your recovery.
Please contact our personal injury law firm today for a free case assessment. Let our proven track record of success be your road to achieving the recovery and compensation you and your family need and deserve.