Car accidents can change your life in a split second.
Imagine for a moment that you’re driving home from work one day, and as you are stopped at the intersection, a distracted driver rams into the back of your vehicle.
The unfortunate truth is this happens all too often. In fact, it is estimated that the average driver will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years.
What is even more unfortunate on top of all of that is that when you’re seeking compensation due to a not-at-fault injury, you will likely have to deal with an insurance company in some shape or form – and they deduct thousands from a total compensation.
How does the process look like after a car accident?
When you're injured, an insurance policy almost always comes into play, especially in the context of an accident where someone else may be at fault, whether a slip and fall or a car accident.
While we like to believe that total and fair compensation will be paid out to an injured person, the fact of the matter is that insurers still deduct thousands of dollars from an accident victims’ total compensation - because that compensation is subject to a secret insurance deductible.
You might file a claim under your own insurance coverage (and your insurer might turn around and seek reimbursement from the insurance carrier of the person who was at fault), or you might file a third-party claim directly with the insurance company of the at-fault party.
How do you quantify pain and suffering in a not-at-fault accident?
It would typically be looked at two different types of injuries: General vs. Specific.
General damages are the kinds of harm and losses that stem from the underlying accident or injury, but are not easily quantified and can be more subjective. This includes compensation for any pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, lost companionship, disfigurement, and similar harm caused by the accident and resulting medical treatment.
Specific damages can be easier to quantify including, compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, lost income opportunity, property damage, and other economic losses.
Most often include pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and impairments which impact your ability to earn a living.
Victims’ injuries can range from brain, head and spinal cord injuries to broken bones, internal injuries and even psychological injuries. Any of these injuries may require surgery or other medical treatments, and rehabilitation.
An insurance company focuses on minimizing costs and managing risk
The insurer will do everything it can to resolve the claim before it gets to court -- meaning reach a settlement agreement in which you receive a sum of money and the insurer and/or the defendant are released from any further liability in connection with your injuries.
According to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Blog, the reality is that most car accident injuries in Ontario, as serious as they may be, will be assessed below $129,000.
This means that the insurance industry is saving a significant amount of money on the vast majority of car accident cases that occur throughout the province, all at the expense of injured victims and all without a jury’s knowledge.
How a personal injury lawyer steps in to help
Your lawyer also knows how to determine what your specific case should settle for and can use his or her expert legal knowledge and negotiation skills to get you the best outcome.
If you were not at fault, you may be able to get a settlement from the other party’s insurance company. Our lawyers at Harris Law have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve; we’ll even conduct our own investigation to determine who is at fault.