When it comes to injury claims, the top questions on people’s minds are often… How much will I get from my claim? How long will it take to get my settlement payment? Are there any hidden fees? We sat down with our Personal Injury lawyers here at Litco Law to find out the answers to these questions, and more! Whether you are considering filing a Personal Injury claim, or you already have an ongoing claim, here’s what you should know:
1. How much is my claim worth? There is no quick and easy way to put an exact number on an injury claim in Alberta. But this is actually a good thing for you and your claim. And here’s why: In Alberta, the law treats you like an individual. It takes into account how your injuries have changed your life and affected you personally. In particular, the courts will consider how severe your injuries are, and how long they last when determining the amount of compensation you are entitled to. A person who is paralyzed for life would be entitled to more compensation for pain and suffering than someone with a broken wrist. If the person with the broken wrist is a highly paid professional hockey player who can never play again, the value the courts assign to the injury might not change. That being said, the overall value of the claim would increase because that person’s career and income are significantly impacted as a direct result of the injury.
2. How long will it be until I receive my injury settlement payment? It can take months or even years to fully realize the extent of your injuries. If your injuries are minor or heal quickly, your claim could be complete within a few months. For more serious injuries, it usually takes longer to have a clear picture of the impact of your injuries on your long-term health and ability to work or enjoy life. This usually extends the time frame for reaching a settlement. In most situations, a quick settlement is likely not in your best interest. Often injury claims are settled out of court in less than three years, but each claim is different, and the length of time will depend on many factors including how complicated the accident was, the number of people involved, the seriousness of your injuries, and the length of time it takes you to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). MMI means that you are either 100% healed from your injuries, or at least as healed as you can ever expect to be. Once your file settles and the funds are released, it can take anywhere from five business days up to a few weeks for you to receive your money.
3. Do I have to pay income tax on my settlement payment? As a client, you will typically not pay income tax on your Personal Injury settlement. The funds you receive are usually tax-free and you do not pay GST or income tax on the money that you receive. Because the government of Canada requires GST to be paid on fees for services rendered, you will pay GST on our fee. For all Personal Injury claims, we work on a contingency fee basis here at Litco Law, and our fees are based on a percentage of the settlement.
4. Are there hidden fees on injury claims? At Litco Law, we believe in complete transparency, and that includes being completely open with you about our pricing. When you meet with us, the legal team will always make sure you know and understand our fees before you hire us, so there are never any surprises. All legal actions cost money, and not just lawyers’ fees. There are usually expenses associated with Personal Injury claims, called disbursements. Disbursements for injury claims run from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the severity and complexity of your case. They include fees for things like:
- Accessing medical reports;
- Gathering expert witness assessments and reports;
- Accessing police reports for a motor vehicle accident;
- Requesting charts from doctors and other medical providers; and
- A land titles search for slip and fall accidents.
We’ll always cover the cost of disbursements during your claim, which means that Litco Law pays for those expenses while your claim is ongoing. In most cases, your lawyer will be able to recover all the disbursements from the insurance company of the person(s) you made the claim against, so you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket.
5. How is the settlement payment sent? There are a few convenient options you can choose from. We can issue you a trust cheque, send the money directly to your bank account via EFT, or wire the payment directly to your account.
Have questions? It won’t cost you anything to speak to a lawyer. And if you do choose us, you don’t pay us anything until your claim is resolved. You can give us a call, send us a message through our online chat, or fill out our contact form online and we’ll reach out to you!