Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
I’ve been injured in an accident. What should I do?
Your first step after suffering an injury should be to seek medical treatment. Your health should be your number one priority.
Once assessed by a medical professional, you, or someone you trust, should carefully document everything possible about the accident and your injuries. This may include making detailed notes about where you were when the accident occurred, the chain of events leading up to the accident, and any other details you can remember.
You should also photograph as much evidence as possible, including any visible injuries, the scene of the accident, or any other damage (such as damage to a car). Photographing the scene helps document the conditions present that may have contributed to the accident, for example, ice or snow on a walkway or poorly maintained steps that caused a fall. Any potential witnesses to the incident should also be identified at the outset so they can be interviewed as soon as possible.
Your next step should be to contact experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Missing a limitation period or insurance deadline may prevent you from receiving maximum compensation.
What is the deadline for filing a personal injury claim in Alberta?
Under Alberta’s Limitations Act, most personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury or from the time the claimant ought to have become aware of the injury. If a claim is not filed within the limitation period, you may not be able to seek any compensation for your injuries. The Act provides some exceptions for injured minors; for example, when a child suffers an injury, the limitation period typically does not begin to run until they reach adulthood.
It is difficult (and in some situations impossible) to pursue a claim once the limitation period has expired. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident, even if the extent of the injury is unknown. A lawyer can preserve your legal claim at the outset to ensure your entitlement to compensation is protected.
Are personal injury damages “capped” in Alberta?
General damages, otherwise known as non-pecuniary damages, are capped in Canada. These damages cover losses that are difficult to quantify, such as a person’s pain and suffering. The cap for general damages is adjusted periodically to account for inflation.
In Alberta, there is also a cap on damages for minor injuries. This cap is determined by the Minor Injury Regulation under the Insurance Act, which was introduced to limit compensation and keep the cost of insurance premiums down. The amount of the cap changes each year and only applies to minor injuries, which are sprains, strains, and whiplash-associated disorders.
I was in a car accident, but my injuries seem relatively minor. Should I still see a lawyer?
Yes. Some injuries can go undetected immediately after an accident or can take time to develop fully. Even a traumatic brain injury can have relatively minor symptoms at its outset but can progress to a lifelong disability. Therefore, it is essential to contact legal counsel as soon as possible after your accident, so your right to make a claim is preserved.
An insurance company has contacted me about my injuries. What should I do?
Insurance adjusters may contact an injured person to determine the extent of their injuries and the circumstances surrounding the incident. An injured person may inadvertently say or do something to negatively impact their insurance claim. A lawyer can help avoid this risk by managing all interactions with the insurance company on the injured person’s behalf.
If I file a claim for compensation for my injuries, will I have to go to trial?
Most personal injury cases are settled without a trial. A personal injury lawyer can assess your claim and try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If your claim cannot be settled out of court, it may need to be resolved through a trial or alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation.
Contact HMC Lawyers in Calgary for Inquiries About Personal Injury Matters
At HMC Lawyers, we are compassionate and skilled advocates for clients in Calgary and throughout Alberta who have suffered a serious personal injury. Our experienced team of lawyers works diligently to secure a fair result and maximize compensation for every client. Call 1-800-480-3534 or contact us online to find out how we can help you.