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Insurance | 05.05.2014 - 19:41

Valuable Legal Advice For Canadian Auto Accident Victims

Canadian auto insurance laws have their own nuances that you must know when you file a claim. Read on to learn how to get the most from your claim.


Believe it or not, federal laws can have big impacts on final outcome of car accidents. This holds true for both minor fender benders that barely put a scrape on the shiny new finish and catastrophic crashes that totally destroy your prize possession and favorite toy. Here is some valuable legal advice for auto accident victims in Canada.


Canada Tort Claims Law


In lawyer parlance, “tort” denotes an area of civil law that allows recovery of most economic damages in court. In auto accident contexts, tort claims are monetary losses that fall outside ICBC no fault provisions. Common examples are lost income due to disability caused by physical injury and compensation for pain and suffering. Moreover, medical expenses incurred in connection with a car wreck may be recovered. This includes cost of travel to obtain treatment, special devices or equipment required for mobility impairment, and decreased income potential.


Results of Recent Tort Reform


During the last decade or so, increasing backlash from auto insurance carriers and citizens has led to broad changes in Canadian personal injury laws. The main cause of mutual concern was astronomical damage awards that caused premiums to be cost prohibitive for many drivers. More uninsured drivers on the road create higher risk of unrecoverable personal injury damages.

This phenomenon was especially prevalent in New Brunswick, where a relatively small population of 750,000 lives mostly in rural locations and comprises just 5 percent of the country’s entire car insurance market base. Due to comparatively limited choice of carriers, the average annual premium was $6,500, despite roughly half of high-risk policyholders having good driving records and a decreased overall frequency of auto accident claims. Nonetheless, per-claim damage awards and settlements rose to cause a corresponding premium increase of more than 7 percent. Consequently, provincial lawmakers enacted statutes that limit certain types of personal injury damage awards.


How Much Can I Receive for Damages?


Damage award amounts are highly case-specific and vary widely by surrounding facts and circumstances of a claim. In all instances, however, courts evaluate the severity of injuries, overall impact on current lifestyle, continuing adverse effects of injuries such as long-term medical care or treatment and ongoing impact on future quality of life.

To balance competing interests of insurers and the public, New Brunswick lawmakers enacted legislation that imposes a $2,500 cap on non-monetary claims for minor injuries. Such damages include physical injury that does not cause permanent disfigurement or impair an important body function. It is not always easy to distinguish between “minor” and “substantial” injuries, however. This often means that expert witness corroboration is required to ensure full compensation of all potential losses.


What to Do After an Auto Accident


First, ascertain whether any involved parties are injured. If this is so or you are uncertain, call 911 to summon medical assistance. Next, call local police to have an official written report prepared. This is essential, as all details must be recorded for future reference, since witness memories fade and motorist statements may change over time.

Obtain contact and insurance coverage information from all other drivers. If possible, snap pictures with your smartphone camera and do not move any disabled vehicles or injured occupants until medical assistance and police arrive. Even if you feel responsible for causing the accident, do not apologize or admit guilt. Limit all statements to name, address, telephone number and insurance details. Then, consult a Vancouver car accident lawyer experienced in auto accident cases such as those with Taylor and Blair.


Do I Need a Lawyer to Deal with ICBC?


A Vancouver auto accident lawyer can help injured clients obtain full and fair compensation for all damages. These legal professionals are experienced with navigating ICBC procedures and are able to anticipate possible difficulties that often result in claims denial or inadequate recovery. Applicable personal injury laws are complex and change frequently. In addition, ICBC adjusters are not obligated to educate claimants about case preparation. For all those reasons, competent legal representation is highly advisable to protect the legal rights and interests of auto accident victims.

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