If you have been injured, you may want to start a personal injury claim to recover damages from the person who hurt you. Personal injury claims can be complicated and involve many steps. Those steps may differ from case to case; however, they will follow a general pattern. The experienced team at Robinson LLP will guide you through the process – from the time you are injured until you reach a successful settlement.
With exceptions, the following steps can be expected:
Step 1 – Identify the Defendants
It is important that we are able to accurately name the at-fault party. That means that we have to know HOW the event took place and who to sue.
With car accident files, this involves ordering the full police report, doing registry searches to determine who owned the vehicle that hit you, contacting witnesses and even hiring reconstruction engineers to determine how the collision occurred.
Slip and Falls & Other Accidents
In the case of slip and falls or other accidents, we must determine fault by first understanding how an incident occurred. This may involve the simple task of looking at photos and speaking to witnesses or it might include hiring engineers to determine slip coefficients in the area of the accident. We will also find out who owns the property and who is responsible for maintaining it. This may include land titles searches, corporate searches, and detailed review of maintenance contracts.
In short, determining who is actually legally responsible can be difficult, but your personal injury lawyer knows all of the ways to investigate and find out who is responsible for your personal injury claim.
Step 2 – Gather Information
Personal injury claims are only as strong as the evidence supporting them. Insurance companies will dispute both how much your claim is worth and who is responsible for your claim. That is why it is important to gather all evidence which identifies and supports your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will order notes and charts from your physicians and treatment providers and may send you to experts to help quantify your claim and prove your injuries.
Your personal injury lawyer will be able to hire the appropriate experts and help you gather the evidence you require to build a strong claim.
Step 3 – Quantify your Claim
Once the information and evidence are gathered, your personal injury lawyer will “quantify” your claim. What this means is that we will determine the damages to which you are entitled. There are a number of types of damages you are legally entitled to including:
- General Damages for Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Housekeeping Damages (past and future)
- Cost of Care (past and future)
- Loss of Income (past and future)
- Special Damages (out of pocket expenses)
Your personal injury lawyer will go through the evidence and determine how much you have lost under each heading of damage. For example, to find your past loss of income, your personal injury lawyer may look at your income tax returns, your business records, or your missed time from work. Your personal injury lawyer may also hire experts at this stage such as accountants, vocational consultants or occupational therapists to help quantify your damages.
In some cases, losses are obvious and easy to assess. In others, it is complicated to extrapolate how an injury will affect someone’s career progress. Needless to say, there is only one opportunity to resolve a file. If you settle but continue to have problems that have not been accounted for, it will be too late to collect on them.
Step 4 – File a Statement of Claim
Sometimes personal injury files can be settled before beginning any formal litigation process. However, if the insurance company is unwilling to pay a reasonable amount, your personal injury lawyer must proceed through the formal court process. This process starts with filing what is called a Statement of Claim. In Alberta, a Statement of Claim must be filed within two years from the date of your accident. Your personal injury lawyer will file this document at the courthouse and your claim will continue past the two-year mark.
Step 5 – Negotiation and Settlement of your Claim
Most times, your claim can be settled before going to trial. Sometimes it will take more time and work from your personal injury lawyer to settle. Either way, the process involves negotiating with the Defendant’s insurance and convincing them to pay a settlement. Some of the common ways to help negotiate your claim are mediations, settlement conferences, and Judicial Dispute Resolutions. These are all steps that can be taken before trial and can be very effective in settling your claim.
Step 6 – Trial
At Robinson LLP we do as much as we can to settle claims prior to going to trial; however, some claims are complex and an insurance company will not settle short of trial. The personal injury lawyers at Robinson LLP are known for not backing down or giving in to pressures from insurance companies. If necessary, our team will take your claim to trial to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
Personal Injury Claims
Settling a personal injury claim is not an easy process and different steps and actions are required for each and every case. The experienced team of personal injury lawyers at Robinson LLP know what steps to take to ensure that your claim is settled as quickly and as fairly as possible. Contact us for a free consultation and remember, we work on Contingency Fees so we don’t get paid until you do.