If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries in a car accident, working with an experienced car accident lawyer is critical. They will make it far more likely to receive a favourable financial settlement than you would otherwise. In many cases, insurance companies will downplay or dismiss the seriousness of a person’s injuries and try to exploit the lack of familiarity with the legal system.
It is critical for you to get in touch with our Toronto car accident lawyers as soon as possible to gather evidence, including witness statements, photographs, police reports, and medical opinions. In addition, in the case of a car accident, you must file a claim for statutory accident benefits within 30 days of the accident. This is why speaking with a car accident lawyer before talking to the insurance company is crucial.
When you or a loved one is injured, contact a Toronto personal injury lawyer at Beyond Law immediately to find out how we can help you. Call us at 416.613.1225 or fill out our convenient online form.
This blog will answer the question of when you should hire a lawyer after a car accident.
Understanding the Basics of Car Accidents
Common Types of Car Accidents
While every accident is unique, there are some common categories of accidents.
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of accidents when a car gets hit by another vehicle from behind. Injuries can range from bruises and broken bones to neck injuries and damage to the spinal cord.
While less common than most accidents, head-on collisions are among the most dangerous. As both vehicles move toward each other, the force of the impact is amplified and can cause severe injuries or even death. Injuries can be traumatic, including brain injuries, spinal cord damage, internal organ damage, broken bones, etc.
Often colloquially called “t-bone,” side-impact collisions occur when a vehicle is struck at a perpendicular angle. This kind of collision is particularly dangerous for the occupants on the side of the impact as there is less mass to absorb the impact. Common injuries are whiplash, broken bones, spinal cord damage, head and traumatic brain injuries.
When two vehicles travel parallel to one another, and one vehicle strikes the side of the other car, it is called a sideswipe collision. The initial impact may not cause injuries, but it often causes the other vehicle to lose control and veer off into other lanes of traffic or off the road, where it may hit pedestrians, cyclists or objects on the side of the road.
Injuries can range from mild to severe, depending on if there is a secondary impact after the initial accident.
Single-vehicle accidents are also relatively common and can lead to a wide range of injuries depending on the severity of the impact when striking something in the vehicle’s path.
Multi-vehicle accidents, meaning three or more, have the potential for catastrophic injuries, especially if one vehicle is caught between two other cars.
Rollover accidents are among the types of accidents with the highest potential for catastrophic injuries, from the force of the accident, potential ejection of passengers or resulting fires.
Causes of car accidents
Like many different types of accidents, there are even more potential causes. This includes speeding, reckless driving, impaired driving, fatigue, and distracted driving or, in the case of single-vehicle crashes, negligence by others.
The parties involved in a car accident
Two parties are generally involved in a car accident—the one that caused the accident and the victim that was injured.
The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Why do you need a lawyer after a car accident?
Typically insurance companies will downplay or dismiss the seriousness of a person’s injuries and try to take advantage of their lack of familiarity with the legal system. This is why speaking with a personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance company is crucial.
While it may seem innocent enough to be asked by the insurance company to hear your side of the story, any recorded statement can give the insurance adjuster details that could be used against you in your case.
Benefits of hiring a lawyer
Experience and Expertise
An experienced car accident lawyer has the knowledge and expertise gained through years and countless hours of studying the particulars of law and participating in negotiations and trials. They use this experience to represent their clients to the best of their abilities to give victims powerful legal representation to get the compensation they deserve. These skills can often distinguish between fair compensation and a denial of benefits.
Understanding of the Legal System
One of the most significant benefits of having a personal injury lawyer by your side is their intimate knowledge of the law and its complexities. One of the most critical steps in the legal process is the establishment of guilt. Every accident is very fact specific, so an experienced personal injury lawyer will use their knowledge of the legal system to advocate for your rights.
Proper Representation and Advocacy
With their experience in personal injury law, negotiations and trials, a personal injury lawyer will represent you and your claim with their full legal expertise. They have faced skilled defence lawyers and seen all possible strategies to confidently advocate for your rights and work toward a fair settlement or judgment.
Typically insurance companies will downplay or dismiss the seriousness of a person’s injuries and try to take advantage of their lack of familiarity with the legal system, even if provincial laws or the insurance policy would provide for compensation. This is why speaking with a personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance company is essential. You are far more likely to receive a favourable financial settlement by working with an experienced Toronto personal injury lawyer than you would otherwise.
Types of lawyers for car accidents
It is critical to hire a personal injury lawyer with experience with car accidents. Personal injury law is very complex and ever-changing, so it is vital to have someone who has in-depth knowledge of the field and experience with similar claims to help you get fair compensation.
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
The severity of the accident
A simple fender bender is unlikely to necessitate the services of a lawyer, but in the case of a serious accident with injuries and severe property damage, an experienced car accident lawyer is essential to ensure you are legally represented.
Establishing guilt can be one of the most challenging factors in a personal injury claim. A car accident lawyer has the experience to review the evidence and analyze the facts to resolve liability disputes.
Insurance companies deny your claim
In Ontario, you are legally entitled to Statutory Accident Benefits. Insurance companies are businesses that look out for their bottom line. So they will typically attempt to downplay or dismiss the seriousness of your injuries and avoid paying compensation or trying to keep the payout as low as possible, regardless of provincial laws or the insurance policy. This makes speaking with a personal injury lawyer before talking to an insurance company critical.
Injuries sustained in the accident
Generally, a few light bruises and cuts are not likely to require the assistance of a lawyer. Car accidents, however, can also potentially cause severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury, fractures, spinal cord trauma, amputation or even death. An experienced car accident lawyer can fight for the proper classification of your injuries and fairly evaluate the short- and long-term costs of traumatic accident injuries.
Complex legal issues
Car accidents can become very complex legal issues, whether establishing guilt, correctly classifying your injuries or interpreting insurance policies and personal injury law. Here, an experienced personal injury lawyer is critical to ensure you are properly represented, and your rights are advocated.
What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is critical for several reasons. Given the complexity of personal injury law, you need an experienced lawyer to help you navigate the legal process. The opposing side will try every trick to avoid or reduce compensation, so it is essential to have a lawyer with negotiation and trial experience. Even though most personal injury cases are settled without a trial and still give you compensation, it is crucial that your lawyer can also represent you in court with confidence and experience.
Do your research online to make sure to choose a lawyer that is specialised in car accidents. Due to the intricacies of personal injury law, your lawyer must be an expert in this field.
While this can be time-consuming, you must remember that you want to get a reputable car accident lawyer you can trust. Check the lawyer’s website for client testimonials and websites like Google, Trustpilot or Yelp for reviews by previous clients. This can give you additional information on the quality of service.
Communication is critical in personal injury cases. You need a professional who will listen to your story, communicate clearly and promptly, and answer any questions. Cases involving personal injuries can often take a long time to resolve. This makes it essential to be comfortable with your lawyer. As cases can take months, if not years, it is crucial to have a competent lawyer available for any questions or issues that may arise and feel comfortable talking to regularly.
Most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid once and if they successfully obtain compensation for you. This fee model is designed to alleviate the financial hardship and stress experienced by their clients, many of whom cannot work due to illness or injury. The fee our Toronto personal injury law firm charges at the end of your case is based upon a percentage of the amount achieved.
The Process of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
During the initial free, no-obligation consultation, you will discuss the full details of the accident. We will then assess the situation, explain your rights and the law and provide an outline of which options are available to you. Any evidence you could provide us with is beneficial as it helps evaluate the situation, such as a police report, medical records or any correspondence from the insurance company.
Should you decide to retain Beyond Law as your lawyer, we will sign an attorney-client agreement and begin the claims process on your behalf.
Investigation and evidence gathering
The first step is the investigation of your case and the gathering of evidence. Here, we will go over every detail of the accident and gather and review all available evidence, such as police reports and medical records. Photos and videos of the accident scene or the accident itself are also beneficial. If there are any witnesses, we will also speak with them to get a complete picture of the case.
Generally, insurance companies and clients want to avoid costly litigation. Litigation can be expensive, lengthy and drawn out, so insurance adjusters typically try to negotiate a settlement to prevent the case from going to trial.
As the main focus of any insurance company is protecting their bottom line, it will try to negotiate the least possible amount. The experienced personal injury lawyers of Beyond Law are well-versed in tough negotiations, applying their thorough knowledge of the law to negotiate the most favourable settlement for your case.
If mediation is unsuccessful, the litigation process begins, meaning the case will be placed on the trial list. The next step is a pre-trial conference where the judge will listen to the parties’ positions and try to find a resolution. If no resolution is found, the case will go to trial.
At trial, both parties will present their evidence and expert opinions and may also call witnesses. After both sides have stated their case, the judge will deliberate and deliver a judgment. Both sides can file an appeal if they are unsatisfied with the ruling.
Also Read: Why you May Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I do immediately after a car accident?
Stop. First of all, never drive away from the scene of an accident, whether minor or more severe.
Protect the scene. Make sure that the scene is safe so no further accidents can happen.
Call the police. You may need a police report to file an insurance claim.
Take pictures. If you can, take photos of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle and any visible injuries.
Exchange information with the other party, such as contacts and insurance information. Also, if there are witnesses, try to get contact information as well to allow your lawyer to contact them in the future.
Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel pain or see any visible injury, we recommend visiting an emergency room or personal physician. Often you will only feel pain after the adrenaline in your body has gone down, which can take several hours or even days. Medical records are a critical piece of evidence in a personal injury claim.
Contact a personal injury lawyer. Insurance companies often want you to make a statement immediately after the accident. It is critical to have legal advice before making any statement because anything you tell your insurance company could be used against you in a personal injury claim.
Report the accident. Notify your insurance company about the accident. Many insurance policies require you to report any accidents immediately.
Keep a file. Make sure to keep all documents and information related to your accident together. This could be the claim number, contacts of your claim’s adjuster and witnesses, medical records and receipts for expenses incurred due to the accident.
2. How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?
We operate on a contingency fee basis. This means we only get paid once and if we successfully obtain compensation for you. The fee our Toronto personal injury law firm charges at the end of your case is based upon a percentage of the amount achieved. This fee model is designed to alleviate the financial hardship and stress experienced by you, especially if you cannot work due to illness or injury.
3. How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident?
While you technically have two years to file a personal injury claim, we strongly recommend filing your claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to gather critical evidence and clear statements from all parties involved. You must also file your claim for Statutory Accident Benefits within 30 days of your accident.
4. Can I handle a car accident case on my own?
While it is possible for you to handle a car accident case on your own, your chances to win fair compensation significantly increase with an experienced car accident lawyer by your side. Personal injury law is complex, and insurance companies employ skilled lawyers to find ways to deny or reduce potential compensation. Hiring a lawyer with both negotiation and trial experience is critical to ensure your rights are properly represented.
5. How much compensation can I get for my car accident case?
The compensation varies depending on the nature and severity of the accident. We will study your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
6. Will my car accident case go to trial?
The vast majority of car accident cases will not go to trial but are settled out of court. Litigation is costly and time-consuming, and trials are unpredictable, so insurance companies will try to avoid it. This being said, if the two sides are too far apart or if there are too many contentious issues, a case might still go to trial.
7. What if the other driver does not have insurance?
If the other party does not have insurance, you can still receive compensation from your insurance. According to the Ontario Automobile Insurance Policy, car insurance policies must cover up to $25,000 for accidental damage to your vehicle and/or its contents, with a $300 deductible. If you have additional optional coverage, the policy will cover up to this limit.
In conclusion, contacting a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident is critical. This will ensure you know your legal rights and are protected against your information being used against you. Due to the complexity of personal injury law, competent legal representation is crucial to protect your right to fair compensation.
When you or a loved one is injured, contact a Toronto car accident lawyer at Beyond Law immediately to find out how we can help you. Call us at 416.613.1225 or fill out our convenient online form.
Beyond Law offers free, no-obligation consultation sessions to identify potential compensation paths and help you understand the law and your rights as an accident victim.