In Canada, the number of motor vehicle accidents has increased steadily over recent years. The most recent data shows that fatalities resulting from accidents increased two percent since 2015, while the number of serious injuries has decreased by four percent.
If you recently experienced a car accident, it can be difficult to know how to move forward, especially if you were injured. Here are some tips to keep in mind when recovering from a car accident.
If you haven’t already, you need to call the police to file a report. Ask for a copy of the report at the scene for future reference. In addition, check for any injuries and go to a hospital for anything serious. If you’re unsure of the severity of your injury, you should seek medical help before your injury requires treatment.
You’ll want to file a negligence claim to recover any damages resulting from the accident. Before you file a claim, you need to gather information. Ask for the other driver’s contact information, and gather contact information for any passengers involved — they’ll serve as witnesses later on. You should also ask for the names and contact information of any other witnesses to the accident.
Next, gather any information about the descriptions of both vehicles, including the make, model, year, and any defects. Similarly, write down driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers, as well as insurance company information and policy numbers. Finally, take note of the scene of the accident and the police officer’s information so you can later access the police report.
Before filing your claim
You’re almost ready to file your claim. If it’s safe to do so, extra evidence, such as photos of the vehicles involved in the accident scene, will be helpful. You may be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company or lawyer asking you to sign a settlement — do not sign anything before talking to your lawyer.
Before filing your claim, you’ll also need to find a lawyer. Try asking friends and family for recommendations, or simply searching “car accident lawyer” on Google. Find a lawyer with relevant past experience and positive testimonies from previous clients. It’s best to meet with a few different lawyers before choosing who will represent you, in order to find someone who’s on the same page as you (and who you feel comfortable talking to). Keep in mind that some lawyers charge initial meeting fees, so check with each potential lawyer to avoid additional expenses.
File the claim
It’s finally time to file your claim, so how do you go about it? Insurance companies will allow you to start the claim process immediately and add details as you learn of them. Make sure to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident. You should also contact the other driver’s insurer to get complete information, as well as their side of the story, regarding the accident.
Meet with your lawyer to discuss a reasonable settlement amount, and be prepared to receive less. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you can receive compensation for medical bills, compensation to fix your vehicle, lost wages if you miss work, compensation for pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in extreme cases, and pain and suffering resulting from injuries can be difficult to prove.
Car accidents happen every day. If you’re a victim of a car accident and want to receive compensation for your injuries, finding an experienced lawyer to represent your case is non-negotiable.