No matter how good or vigilant of a driver you are, car accidents still happen, often as a result of another driver’s negligence. In its 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that over 1.35 million people die on roads around the world every year . Although fatalities from auto accidents are declining, distracted driving is on the rise and road traffic accidents are still one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In Alberta alone, there are about 140,000 reported motor vehicle accidents each year. If you have been injured in a car accident in Alberta, we’ll help you take control of the situation, and get your life back. Following an accident, you may be faced with loss of ability to work, loss of a vehicle, plus endless paperwork and insurance companies to deal with – all while trying to recover from your injuries. These are headaches that you haven’t asked for and don’t deserve; that’s where we come in. Let us take care of the paperwork and the legal work, so you can take care of what matters most: yourself, your loved ones, and your health. If you were in an accident there may be grounds for a claim, accident benefits you may be entitled to, and supports for you or your family during this difficult time. At Litwiniuk & Company it won’t cost you anything to talk to one of our experienced Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) lawyers, and you won’t have to pay us any fees until we win your claim. We’ll even cover the costs of collecting evidence needed while handling your lawsuit, and recover those costs when your claim is resolved.
Injured in a Motor Vehicle accident? Here’s what you need to know.
- The first and most important thing is your health – get medical treatment right away and follow the advice of your doctor and other medical specialists that are part of your recovery. Not only will these treatment providers get you back on the road to better health, they also write reports and take notes on your injuries which may be important in getting you the compensation you deserve. And even if you feel fine after an accident, get assessed by a professional right away – go see your family doctor. Don’t have a family doctor? Find one here. It may take a few hours or days to notice injuries, and internal injuries especially can go unnoticed. The longer you wait to see your doctor, the more difficult it can be to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the accident. Delaying treatment can also allow the insurance company of the person who injured you to suggest that your injuries weren’t that serious or painful.
- Collecting information and gathering evidence – the standard protocol for a minor fender bender usually includes the exchange of contact and insurance information between drivers, taking photographs, talking to eyewitnesses, and filing a police report. If you weren’t able to gather this information at the time of the accident, that’s okay too. It is common for accident victims to be injured or in shock at the scene and unable gather this information. The good news is that experienced Motor Vehicle Accident injury lawyers are experts at gathering information after the fact, and you can still make an injury claim. The sooner you talk to an experienced Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer, the better. From a practical standpoint, it is a lot easier to gather evidence and locate witnesses in the days and weeks following an accident, while memories are still clear. The Government of Alberta website has a Collision Worksheet Form that you can downloaded and view on your phone or print and put in your car. It’s a great resource to help you know the types of information you need to gather at the scene.
- Contact YOUR insurance company – it is important to get in touch with your insurer right away to report the collision and access any benefits you are entitled to, regardless of who is at fault. There are important deadlines which, if missed, may allow your insurance company to deny you certain benefits. Be aware that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will also likely contact you in the hopes of settling the claim quickly and for the lowest amount possible; you are under no obligation to speak to them right away. Prior to talking with anyone from the insurance company of the person who injured you, especially their insurance adjusters, contact a personal injury lawyer to find out exactly what you are entitled to receive for compensation. If you have a friend who is a lawyer, or you’ve got another lawyer you’ve used in the past such as a real estate or corporate lawyer, it is important to note that they may not have experience with personal injury claims or Motor Vehicle Accidents. Make sure you choose a lawyer who understands how Motor Vehicle Accident Injury claims really work. At Litwiniuk & Company, it won’t cost a thing to speak with a lawyer. And if you choose to pursue a claim, our fees are a percentage of your compensation and we’ll cover all the costs of collecting evidence until your case is resolved, meaning we don’t get paid unless and until you get paid. If we don’t recover money for you, you won’t owe us anything. Even if you don’t make a claim, by speaking with a Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer you may discover that you are legally entitled to accident benefits and compensation for lost wages, medical bills, physical therapy, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, or disability.
- Do not take responsibility for the accident, assume that you are liable, or sign any statements regarding who is at fault.
- Do not pay, or make any promises to pay, for vehicle damages at the scene of the collision.
- Do not agree to “let the accident go”. Even in a minor accident, you may be in some shock and your adrenaline is likely running high, meaning you might not even be aware of your injuries. Although you may feel “okay” at the time, physical injuries are often not felt until later. And similarly, although your vehicle might “look fine” there could be damage to your vehicle that is not be externally visible.
- Do not accept money from the driver or discuss settlement.
What type of compensation is available? What are Section B Benefits?In Alberta, all vehicle insurance policies offer no-fault Section B Benefits, regardless of who was at fault, provided that the driver of the car had valid Alberta insurance. Put simply, if you have been hit by another vehicle and you were injured, you are entitled to have a portion of your medical treatments paid for as well as expenses related to disability and death, if applicable. The ultimate limit of Section B coverage for medical treatment in Alberta is $50,000 per person and you must notify the Section B insurance company within 30 days of the accident to qualify. IMPORTANT: if 30 days has passed, we may still be able to help you access these benefits; call us now for more information. The sooner you access Section B benefits, the sooner you get back on the road to better health. You can download Section B forms here. Section B Benefits are complex and confusing, so much so that even insurance adjusters at times misunderstand or misapply the law. If you need help filling out the forms, or if you have questions about Section B benefits, please call or email us and our team will be happy to help you.
What if the driver fled the scene or was uninsured?If you were struck by a vehicle and the driver fled the scene, you may feel frustrated and angry. You may also be wondering if it’s even possible to make a claim to get compensation for your injuries. If so, contacting Personal Injury lawyer right away can make all the difference as there are important deadlines for accident claims. In the case of a hit and run accident, it can be more difficult to gather evidence as time goes on; the sooner a case is opened, the better the chance there is of locating the responsible party. An experienced Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer may still be able to get you coverage under Section B benefits through a different route. If the at-fault driver has not been identified, or does not have insurance, you may still be able to apply for compensation through Alberta’s Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Program, or MVAC. Our Calgary Motor Vehicle Accident lawyers know the complexities of dealing with hit and run accidents and uninsured drivers; if there’s a way to get you compensation for your injuries, we will find it. At Litwiniuk & Company, we will do everything we can to find the driver responsible. We will pursue legal action on your behalf and file a claim for your injuries; call or email us for help and details.
What is my accident claim worth?Rule #1. Do NOT accept a settlement offer or sign any documents before you speak to an experienced Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer. Rule #2: Do NOT settle your claim before you have the right medical treatment providers assess the possible long-term effects of your injuries. In the days and weeks following an accident, you may be contacted by the at-fault party’s insurance company and asked to sign various releases or liability documents. Always speak to a Motor Vehicle Accident lawyer before you sign anything. Although you might feel pressured by insurance adjusters, you are under no obligation to sign anything. Insurance companies are often quick to offer settlements to Motor Vehicle Accident victims in the hopes of:
- Resolving your claim quickly for the lowest amount possible,
- Getting you to agree to a settlement before you decide to consult a lawyer and realize the full amount you are entitled to, or
- Before you realize the full extent of your injuries and possible long-term implications from the accident.