Canada pays out an average of $77,100 per plaintiff in minor personal injury cases. That number might seem low, but catastrophic injury settlements often break the million-dollar barrier. Edmonton’s justice system works well to protect its residents, but seeking restitution can be an intimidating process.
If you’ve never used a personal injury law firm, fear of the unknown is a significant barrier. So is the idea of “compensation culture,” which tries to shame injured people into staying away from the courts. Let’s find out what you can expect from your lawyer.
Step One: Assessing Your Case
The first step to any personal injury lawsuit is finding out if you have a case in the first place. Pouring funds into an unwinnable trial will only leave you worse off than you already are, so an ethical law firm will take great care at this stage. There are five common reasons a lawyer might reject your case:
- The statute of limitations has expired. Edmonton’s Limitations Act only allows you to pursue a claim within two years of the injury.
- There is insufficient evidence to prove fault. Personal injury cases can only succeed if your lawyer can prove that the accused had a duty of care that they failed to provide.
- The likely compensation is lower than the cost of the trial. If your case can’t be initiated in small claims court, but the potential compensation is negligible, it only makes sense to pursue it if you’re happy to rack up expenses to hold the at-fault party accountable.
- There’s no option for recovering the money. If the at-fault party is uninsured and lacks the financial means to make good on compensation, your lawyer might advise you to drop the case.
- The lawyer you’ve approached is unsuited to your case or lacks the resources to handle it.
Your first appointment with your lawyer will be a thorough evaluation of all five of these issues. If you have a complicated case, your law firm may do an extended review, which will include an assessment of all your doctors’ bills, future treatments, insurance information, and lost income. The more paperwork you have, the better, so take everything you have.
Step Two: Reviewing Your Injuries
Your lawyer will need to create a full picture of your experience, so they’ll do an in-depth interview. They’ll ask you to describe your injuries and their impact on your quality of life. This will include questions about your pain levels and prognosis. Your law firm will also need to assess the financial aspects of the case, so they’ll ask about your insurance, employment, and any lien notices you’ve received.
Step Three: Paperwork and Fees
If you and your lawyer are both happy to commit to a case, you’ll need to fill out several forms that protect you legally. They’ll also ask for a medical release form so that they can gather your healthcare records. Finally, you will discuss your lawyer’s fees. Many professionals work on contingency, only collecting their fees if they win your case. Once your lawyer has reviewed the paperwork, they might ask for a follow-up with a doctor. This can help their medical experts to ensure that their information is accurate.
Step Four: Calculating Compensation
It’s time to calculate how much compensation you deserve. Your lawyer will use hard evidence to create a fair number. The amount will include:
- Your injuries and psychological trauma.
- Your medical costs.
- Travel costs to and from doctors.
- Any lost income during your rehabilitation.
- Equipment and renovations to cater to a disability.
- The costs of carers.
- Property damage.
Step Five: The Courts
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, saving you legal fees and time. If you refuse the settlement amount, your case will be taken to court. During your hearing, the judge will review the evidence your lawyer has collected as well as that of the plaintiff.
If someone’s negligence has caused you harm, you have the right to restitution. Compensation can revolutionize your quality of life by covering future medical bills, supplementing your earnings, and digging you out of the red if your injury has left you in debt.