Personal Injury Claims
It’s What We Do!
At Quantz Law we assist clients in maximizing their claim for personal injuries sustained by individuals in wrongful tort claims. These “damages” arise when a person has been injured through the fault or negligence of another person under tort law. The liability for an injury might rest with several parties and it is important to contact us immediately after the injury is sustained to ensure all responsible parties are included in your claim.
Types of Claims:
There are several heads of damages for which a claim may be advanced such as: general damages for pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life, and special damages for such things as loss of housekeeping ability, loss of wages or salary, loss of business income, loss of future income (if unable to return to work or with a reduced capacity), cost of care, and the like. If the injured party was married or in an Adult Independent Partnership at the time of the injury, a spouse may claim for loss of consortium. Many of these heads of damages require expert analysis and often amount to greater damages than the loss for the pain and suffering. At Quantz Law, we have assembled a team of independent experts who can be called upon to provide expert opinion and assist in quantifying the amounts to claim under the various heads of damage. For serious injuries such as quadriplegia and paraplegia, or debilitating brain injury, the total claim for all heads of damages can amount to several millions of dollars.
While we will advise you as to what to do once you retain us to look after your case, there are several important things to be done even before you contact us. These include:
1. Taking photographs of the scene and any vehicles involved, including Plate numbers;
2. Obtaining names and contact information of any eyewitnesses;
3. Obtaining contact information of the parties and the names and agents of Insurance Companies of all involved in the accident (whether or not you think they are liable);
4. If you are injured, even if it seems insignificant, go to emergency at the nearest hospital to be evaluated by an emergency physician.
If you have sustained serious injury requiring ambulance conveyance to emergency, contact us or have a family member contact us as soon as possible as soon as possible and we will come and see you as soon as it is suitable for us to do so.
Why Contact us Immediately?
There are several reasons to give Quantz Law a call as soon as possible.
1. If the road conditions are a contributing factor in the Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC), there is a very short Notice Period within which the responsible municipality must be notified.
2. The vehicles are often whisked away and salvaged before our experts in Accident Reconstruction can analyze the damages to the vehicles for evidence of causation.
3. Insurance adjusters will sometimes seek a statement from the injured party, before they have contacted a lawyer, to gather statements that may hurt your outcome.
How do we get paid?
What a lawyer charges and when it is payable is an important first question. At Quantz Law we don’t get paid until you get paid. Our fees are based on an agreed percentage of the final settlement or court-ordered amount. We will discuss with you at the earliest opportunity and will have you sign an agreement so you will know up front what our charges will be.
Here are some frequently asked questions in personal injury cases.
1. How soon after an injury should I settle?
This will depend largely on the kind of injury sustained. We normally recommend that no settlement be reached until the injury has substantially healed or until the medical interventions have been completed and the overall disability (if permanent) can be properly assessed by a medical expert.
2. How is fault (legal responsibility) determined?
In Alberta, the common law of negligence in tort law is followed and a Court must determine liability for the injury and loss based on the “balance of probabilities”. While many other jurisdictions have “no fault” laws (meaning the injuries and losses are paid regardless of liability), in Alberta, the amount of the award or settlement is based upon the tort of negligence and in many instances, is split among several responsible parties (including the injured party, if there was contributing negligence on the part of the injured party, such as failure to wear a seat belt). However, in Alberta every auto insurance policy must include a “Section B” provision which pays certain amounts to an injured party for wage loss, or medical/physio care, regardless of who is liable for the collision.
3. Why do I need a lawyer?
While you may settle a minor injury claim on your own, seeking legal advice and assistance in a serious injury matter is advisable. What you don’t know can hurt you. Insurance adjusters always work in the best interests of their Insurer and will often try to minimize your settlement. We have access to hundreds of court decisions on what a settlement should be and can assist in negotiating the best possible settlement for you. In cases where settlement cannot be reached, we file your claim in court and pursue your legal rights expertly and vigorously.
4. Can I make a claim against my own driver if I am a passenger in a MVC?
Yes, if the driver of your vehicle was negligent or partially to blame for the MVC, even if it is your spouse or family member. However if you are the driver, you cannot claim against yourself as the law will not allow compensation for your own negligence (such as in a single vehicle accident). However, Section B benefits under the driver’s/owner’s policy will apply.
5. What happens if I am injured and the responsible party has no insurance or inadequate coverage or has fled the scene of the MVC and is unidentifiable?
In Alberta, it is possible to claim against the Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act for the amount of damages suffered, or in some cases, the unsatisfied portion of the claim, however, there are strict deadlines and procedures to follow in making such a claim. Legal advice is always advisable in these situations.
6. What if my child or infant is injured?
A claim can still be filed or settled on behalf of a minor child, but the court must approve of any settlement under the Minor’s Property Act. The settlement funds or the judgment will be paid to the Public Trustee of Alberta to be held in trust for the minor until he or she attains the age of majority.
7. What is the limitation period within which a claim must be launched in Court?
The limitation period for filing a claim in Court in Alberta is 2 years from the occurrence date of the MVC (except in the case of a minor, in which the time is extended until 2 years after the minor reaches the age of majority, which in Alberta is 18 years of age). However, there may be other time deadlines that may apply that are shorter than the 2 year period. For example, if a municipal government may be liable due to road conditions or hazards, then the municipality must be given written Notice of your claim within 21 days of the occurrence of the claim otherwise a claim, may be denied even if commenced within the 2 year limitation period. It is advisable to seek legal advice and assistance at the earliest possible time to ensure your claim will not be barred by a statutory limitation period.
8. What if there is a fatality in the MVC?
If a fatality occurs as a result of injuries sustained in the collision, the estate of the deceased may still launch claim under the Fatal Accidents Act for the benefit of a spouse, adult interdependent partner, parent or child; however, the damages will be limited to the amounts prescribed under the Act. If the injured party dies after the cause of action arises (whether or not as a result of injuries sustained in the MVC), the damages accruing to the deceased’s estate are limited to actual expenses incurred and income lost by the deceased prior to death.
NOTICE TO READER: The summaries of legal rights and remedies described above are general references to the Alberta laws existing at the date of the publication and may not apply to the reader’s individual circumstances. Also, the laws may change. These legal summaries are not to be relied upon as applicable to your individual circumstances and are subject to a complete review of the facts and applicable laws in every case.