Motor Vehicle Accidents

Although you might think that under the "no-fault" insurance regime you are not entitled to sue, that’s simply not true.
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Were you in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? Hit by a negligent driver? Perhaps you were a passenger in car or on a motorcycle? If so, you might be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries.

There are two types of recovery you may be entitled to:

  1. Accident Benefits, or ABs, are provided by your own insurance policy and cover most of the loss of income, medical and housekeeping expenses that you incur as a result of your injury.
  2. Suing in Tort (see Motor Vehicle Accident Tort Claims) allows you to recover for the pain and suffering you have experienced, as well as the loss of enjoyment and amenities of life.
Whether it is severe or minor, motor vehicle accidents can change an individual's life forever. Many times insurance companies make individuals believe that they are unable to sue or gain compensation for their injuries or loss. It is therefore important that an individual involved in a motor vehicle accident learn his or her rights before they run into the resounding "no" of insurance companies.

Almost every driver will get into a motor vehicle accident at least once in their lifetime. Unfortunately no driver is 100 percent safe on the road. A driver may come in contact with another driver who is texting while driving, drunk or distracted in some way or another and so, despite the fact that he or she is driving cautiously a motor vehicle accident occurs.

These motor vehicle accidents are often accompanied by life-changing injuries and even death. Brain injuries, whiplash, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, the loss of legs or other body parts, sight and movement are only a few of the many injuries that an individual may endure after an accident. The number of people who die and receive injuries continues to remain high yearly.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.24 million people lose their lives yearly as a result of a motor vehicle accidents and about 20 to 50 million more individuals suffer non-fatal injuries, many of which end with disability. Despite their efforts to provide statistics on motor vehicle accidents, we rarely hear of the individuals or families who did or did not receive justice for their injuries or loss. How many individuals are left to deal with not only the physical reminders of an accident, but the psychological and financial hardships as well? Do they receive justice? Did they know their rights?

Most times individuals are taught or instructed to follow certain steps after a motor vehicle accident has occurred and most times these steps ignore getting to know your rights or contacting a personal injury lawyer. These steps generally include:
  • Stay at the scene until it is appropriate to leave or unless you are in a deserted area
  • Ensure that passengers and drivers are safe
  • Contact the police and paramedics (if needed)
  • Exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident
  • Converse with witnesses to get a clearer picture of what happened
  • Take pictures of damage and injuries
  • For serious injuries, always go to the hospital; For other injuries, visit your doctor for an assessment.
  • Try to get an evaluation for lost or damaged property in order to send in claims to the insurance company
Several times these steps are not all that is needed to enable an individual to recover fully from a motor vehicle accident. Gaining knowledge of the actions you can take to help you obtain compensation is another important step that should be added to the ‘what you should do’ list. Whether or not you are at fault, contacting a personal injury lawyer can help you become more knowledgeable.

Some of the rights of an individual who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault include:
  • Accident benefits: in the event that the accident leads to a loss of income or earnings
  • Medical and Therapy Compensation: present and future
  • Reimbursement or benefits for caregivers: in the event that the individual needs extra care after leaving the hospital or can no longer take care of his or herself
  • Pain and suffering: for the individual and family members
  • Other expenses: funeral costs and other costs that the individual or his or her family members have to incur as a result of the motor vehicle accident
These are only some of the rights that an individual has if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident. It is important however to note that there are time limitations placed on claims. Many times an individual has to deal with the loss of a family member or a severe injury or both. The complexities of a lawsuit or filing for motor vehicle accident claims is an added burden that most people are unable to carry. This is where the personal injury lawyer comes in.

Contacting a personal injury lawyer can be a huge help during a time where an individual may feel hopeless. At Rastin and Associates, we are here to relieve you of your burden and get you started on the road to full recovery.

Strict limitation periods apply – so if you were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, then you should contact us immediately.

The days, weeks and even months after an accident can be confusing and intimidating. Let us take care of the details while you spend time doing what’s most important – getting better.

Catastrophic Car Accidents

Extremely serious motor vehicle accidents require a slightly different handling than those that cause relatively moderate injuries and property damage. The following addresses this type of accident.

Of course your first priority after being injured in such an accident is to seek medical attention. It is also imperative that you contact a personal injury lawyer to guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you are well represented and start you on your road to recovery. Based on the severity of your injuries, you may need extensive and extended care and rehabilitation. Your injuries don’t disappear after you leave the hospital; they heal over a period of time, and aftercare is just as vital as the initial treatment. When we think of the word “catastrophic” we envision trauma and destruction. When this is referred to in terms of injuries, there are a few specific types of catastrophic injuries that are addressed in insurance claims such as:
  1. Amputation: Total loss of use of limbs (whether removed or not);
  2. Blindness: Complete loss of vision in both eyes;
  3. Paralysis: Tetraplegia or paraplegia; any form that can produce complete or partial loss of use in limbs and torso;
  4. Brain Injury: Severe brain impairment which is medically measured and categorized.
It is important to note that injuries such as cuts, bruises and whiplash fall under the “non-catastrophic” category. Finding a reputable aftercare facility is a crucial step towards your rehabilitation. People can be overwhelmed with the ripple effect which occurs in the aftermath of a catastrophic motor vehicle injury. From physical pain and shock, to recovery and rehabilitation, it is very easy to get lost in the process. This is where Rastin & Associates can help. With a free initial consultation, you are just a phone call away from sharing your burden with someone who will ably help you through the challenges. When choosing a medical rehabilitation professional or facility, it is important that you research your options thoroughly. Your life and wellness literally depend on it. Some suggestions for what you should take note of throughout your rehabilitation include:
  • Ensure that your care physicians actually listen to you and are aware of all of the areas where you need treatment.
  • It is wise to use someone who is easily accessible and who services your area. Odds are it will be easier to obtain referrals and will help with a smoother transition from hospital to home.
  • If you have selected a company, research as much as you can online. See what services they cover and if they pertain to you. Ensure that your needs can be met seamlessly.
  • If you are interested in possibly driving again, it is also good to find a driving rehabilitation program which assesses your needs and helps you get back behind the wheel.
At Rastin & Associates, we have law clerks who are ready and willing to help you sort through the paperwork that will accompany these decisions. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is a government run program that insures residents of Ontario. Not all of your expenses are covered under this plan as, it is sometimes necessary to pay for extended care like physiotherapy and psychological therapy. It is important that you are aware of your options and the changes that have been made recently to motor vehicle insurance policies. In 2009 the “no-fault” insurance coverage was set up for reform which would come into effect the following year. Below we explain the coverage changes that were put in place in further detail. Standard coverage for non catastrophic injuries has been decreased by half, from one hundred thousand dollars to fifty thousand for medical and rehab and from seventy two thousand to thirty six thousand for attendant care benefits. Coverage for catastrophic injuries has pretty much stayed constant at one million dollars each for medical and rehab and attendant care benefits. The most significant change has been for non catastrophic injuries with such a significant reduction. For a more in depth look at the Statutory Accident Benefits plan, please see FSCO:What you need to know about changes to auto insurance in Ontario As with all else, finding the best people in their fields to help you get back on your feet is the only way to increase your chances of full recovery and compensation. Let us at Rastin & Associates help you get your life back.