Ontario has some unique rules when it come to car accidents and insurance. The law is complex and most of the time, you’re better off with an excellent injury lawyer on your side to help you navigate the situation. There are a few times, though, when you can be pretty certain that it’s not worth your time and effort to bring a personal injury case. Here’s what you need to know.
There must be documented injuries
This might seem obvious, but there are times when people call a Toronto personal injury lawyer even after an accident where nobody was hurt. This is understandable, as most people feel they have been harmed or wronged if something as expensive or important as a car was seriously damaged. Although there may be great damage done to personal property, you have less legal options if no one is actually injured. This doesn’t mean you can’t bring a case at all, but it can’t be a personal injury case.
It’s also important to remember that even if you think you were not hurt, you could still clear yourself with a doctor just to make sure. Sometimes symptoms of your injuries don’t appear straight away, so don’t dismiss the possibility if you “feel fine” after an accident.
Injuries must be serious and permanent
Under Ontario law, there are two types of suits you can bring after an accident. One is against your own insurance company — known as an accident benefit case — and the other is a tort case against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You will always deal with your own insurance agent first, regardless of who was at fault. Your deductible is waived, however, if the accident was the fault of someone else.
In a tort case, you can seek redress for pain and suffering; however you will not be awarded anything unless the judge decides that your injuries are “serious and permanent”. If they are not, there is no reason to go ahead with a tort case. Here again it is a good idea to ask for professional advice from a lawyer if you’re unsure whether your injuries will pass this test.
The insurance company offers a reasonable amount
When it comes to insurance companies, you’re always involved in a bit of bargaining. It’s in their best interest to pay out as little as possible and to work out the deductible negotiationsthat are unique to Ontario.
You aren’t allowed to know much about these negotiations. But if your insurance company offers you something that a court is likely to deem appropriate, then you will probably not succeed in getting much more out of them. In that case, you probably don’t need to push a suit and don’t need an attorney.
There isn’t much for you to get
Even if you think the insurance company is offering you too little, it’s still important to weigh out how much you can realistically expect to receive. There are caps on the amount of compensation you can seek, and in some cases it might not be worth the enormous amount of time, emotional energy, and money that it would cost to get a bit more.
In this situation, it’s always a good idea to talk with a personal injury lawyer in order to find out exactly what you can realistically expect and whether or not you have a viable case. A good attorney will always be upfront with you about whether your personal injury case is worth moving forward with.
There will be times when it’s just not worth it to hire a lawyer and try to prosecute a case for personal injury. However, it’s nearly always worth it to at least get some good advice if you’re unsure.