Frequently Asked Questions

Who can claim compensation for personal injuries?

faq

Motor Vehicle Accidents
Every person who has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident potentially has a personal injury claim. This includes pedestrians and cyclists who are injured by motor vehicles, as well as drivers and passengers who have been injured.

Occupiers’ Liability
Any person who has been injured on land or in a building, whether privately or publicly owned, may have a personal injury claim against the person who owns or controls the land or building, if the injuries were caused by failure of the person in control of the property to keep it reasonably safe for the use of other persons. The right to claim for compensation in these circumstances is governed by the Occupiers Liability Act in British Columbia. Our lawyers can advise whether you have a claim based on the circumstances of your injury.

If you have been injured on property owned by a Municipality or City in British Columbia, it is very important that you seek legal advice immediately. Strict time limits and notice provisions may apply where a government entity is involved. Failure to comply with the time limits may result in the loss of your right to claim compensation. If you contact us right away, we can ensure your compliance with these strict time limits and preserve your right to claim compensation.

Wrongful Death
The legal or common-law spouse, child, parent, step-parent or grandparent of a person killed as the result of the wrongful act or neglect or another person, may have a claim for compensation for the death of their loved one. Wrongful death claims are governed by the Family Compensation Act in British Columbia, and may include damages for loss of love and guidance, loss of past and future financial support, loss of household services, loss of inheritance, medical, hospital and funeral expenses.

Other Claims
Injuries caused by animal bites, negligently manufactured products, medical or dental work performed below accepted standards, assaults, train, bus or airplane accidents, all might give rise to a claim for compensation. Contact our lawyers to see if you have a case.

What should I do when I’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident?

Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all drivers, witnesses and police officers involved. Obtain a copy of the police motor vehicle accident report.

Seek medical advice. Go to the hospital for a check up and see your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Report all symptoms to him or her. Continue with regular visits until you have recovered completely. Follow your doctor’s advice and that of any other professionals you may be referred to.

In British Columbia, report your accident to I.C.B.C. If possible, seek legal advice before you report your claim.

Does someone have to be at fault for my injuries?

Yes. The law in British Columbia requires that the injured person to prove that someone caused the accident that resulted in the injuries, through negligence or lack of reasonable care. For example, if a pedestrian is run down in a crosswalk then in all likelihood the party at fault is the driver of the automobile. Similarly, if a cyclist has been forced off the road by a car, then fault would lie with the driver of that car. Most automobile accidents involve two car collisions. Usually, the driver of one of those cars is at fault. The other driver and the occupants of both cars then have a claim against the ‘at fault’ driver. There are cases where someone other than the operator of a vehicle in a single car crash is at fault. An example would be where a driver of a vehicle lost control as the result of road maintenance which fell below a reasonable standard of care.

However, even if you are at fault in a motor vehicle accident and you are injured, your ICBC insurance coverage entitles you to certain benefits which are known as either “no fault benefits” or “Part 7 benefits” because they fall under Part 7 of the Regulations under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. These benefits include medical, rehabilitation and wage loss benefits.

In the case of injuries that occur on land or a building owned or maintained by a person, company, or government body, you must prove that the accident occurred because the person in control of the property did not take reasonable steps to make sure it was safe for use by others. The accident must be one which could have been contemplated by a reasonable person in the context of the intended use of the property.

What if I am partly to blame for my own injuries?

Even if an injured person is partly at fault for his or her own injuries, that person can still successfully recover compensation from the other driver, or in the case of other types of accidents, another person who is partly to blame for the injuries suffered. In law, this concept is known as “contributory negligence.”

If the insurance company or its lawyer can establish sufficient evidence to prove you are partly at fault for your own injuries, the value of your claim may be reduced by a percentage, depending on the nature and extent of your contribution to your injuries. Your lawyer can give you an idea of what percentage might apply based on the circumstances of your accident, and can work at minimizing the effect on the amount of your recovery. For example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and were not wearing a seatbelt, the insurance company may tell you that your claim should be reduced by as much as 25%. However, only in cases where the failure to wear a seatbelt actually caused or worsened your injuries, will any reduction be appropriate, and depending on the circumstances, it may be less than 25%. Your lawyer has the experience to navigate these issues in your favour.

Do I have to make a claim right away?

There are statutory time limits that apply to personal injury claims. You should get prompt legal advice concerning the time limits that will apply to your claim.

Why do I need a lawyer?

If you have been injured through the fault of some other person, typically, you have a claim against that person’s insurance. It is the job of the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim to put a dollar value on the claim from the insurance company’s point of view. The adjuster works for the insurance company, not for you, no matter what he or she says.

Your MacIsaac & Company lawyer will collect all evidence necessary to maximize your claim’s potential, including collecting all evidence pertaining to liability for your accident, interviewing and securing witnesses, securing necessary medical information and medical experts to establish the nature of your injuries and the impact they have on all aspects of your life, and all necessary evidence to prove any income loss, past and future, arising from your injuries. In cases of more serious injuries, your lawyer will obtain compensation for future medical care needs that you might require.

Finally, if your MacIsaac & Company lawyer cannot settle your claim through negotiations or mediation with the insurance company or their lawyers, then your MacIsaac & Company lawyer will take your case to court so you can obtain a court judgment for the amount of compensation you are entitled to according to the law.

How long will it take to settle my claim?

It depends on a number of factors, and your lawyer can advise you more specifically based on the facts of your case, usually during your initial free consultation. One of the most important factors is the type of injuries you have suffered, and the length of time it takes you to recover, if in fact you do obtain a full recovery. No claim should be settled until the medical doctors involved in your treatment have provided your lawyer with a clear assessment of what the future holds with regard to your injuries, including your ability to work and otherwise enjoy your life. If necessary, we can hire the appropriate experts to answer these questions.

Other factors that may determine the time involved to resolve your claim are whether fault for your injuries is an issue with the insurer, how many parties are involved, such as in the case where more than one person might be at fault for your injuries, and whether you might have had previous injuries or accidents that the insurer might argue are contributing to your symptoms or length of recovery. Your MacIsaac & Company lawyer is experienced in handling all of these issues and can work to minimize the time involved to sort them out.

Is a lawsuit necessary?

Not always. Sometimes your lawyer will be able to settle your claim directly with the insurance company’s adjuster, without the need to commence a lawsuit. Typically, this is when the injuries are less serious, you recovery fairly quickly, and fault for the accident or injuries is not an issue. In many other cases, however, your lawyer will find it necessary to file papers in the Court Registry to commence a lawsuit. This does not mean that your case will have to go to trial. Statistically, only a very small percentage of personal injury lawsuits will be tried in court.

Managing the lawsuit is your lawyer’s responsibility. He or she has the required skill to ensure that your case is properly prepared for the possibility of a trial in court, and that includes preparing and filing all of the necessary documents, following the Rules of Court, and obtaining the necessary evidence and witnesses to support your claim and present it to the judge or jury in a manner that will make the most of your claim. This is what you pay your lawyer for.

What if I can’t afford a lawyer?

Your MacIsaac & Company lawyer doesn’t get paid until you get paid. Until we recover your settlement, you owe us nothing. This type of arrangement is called a “Contingency Fee Agreement.” If we recover nothing, you pay us nothing. When we do effect a settlement, we charge a percentage of the amount recovered as compensation. Typically, the percentage will be between 25% and 33.3 %. Discuss this with your lawyer during your free consultation. In many cases, we will also recover “costs” and “disbursements” which are not subject to legal fees.

If you elect to proceed on a contingency fee basis, we will advance all of the expenses required to gather evidence, retain experts if necessary, fund your travel expenses for attendance with medical experts if necessary, and file court documents. These expenses in most cases can add up to thousands of dollars. They are paid back to us at the conclusion of your claim, and are usually reimbursed by the insurance company. Where your claim is settled on an “all-inclusive” basis, disbursements are reimbursed to us from the all-inclusive amount, and fees are only payable on the remainder of the settlement. Your lawyer will ensure you are well informed of the nature and amount of any negotiated settlement before concluding your claim.

How much will my settlement be?

1. An injured person is entitled to be compensated for the injuries suffered and the losses incurred as a result of those injuries. Generally, most personal injury claims involve compensation (money) for: 1. Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life caused by the injuries. This amount is variable and is usually based on a range of values established by our Courts in cases involving comparable injuries and associated losses. Your lawyer can discuss this with you in relation to your particular injury profile. In Canada, this type of compensation is “capped”, and periodically increases with inflation. Currently, the upper dollar limit for pain and suffering is about $360,000.

2. Income loss. You are entitled to recover income lost from the time of your injuries until the time your claim is resolved, and if your injuries will continue to affect your ability to earn income into the future, you are entitled to compensation for loss of future income, which can be either calculated or estimated depending on the circumstances of your case. Your lawyer can explain to you how any future income loss will be assessed.

3. Out of pocket expenses you have paid which are a result of your injuries. Some examples of these expenses are costs of therapies, medications, adaptive aids and housekeeping expenses.

4. The cost of future medical or rehabilitation expenses, adaptive aids, and household assistance. Typically, these will be based on recommendations provided by your treating medical practitioner or experts we hire to specifically assess your future care needs.

Further, you are entitled to interest on some of the money which you will obtain in a settlement or judgment. Your MacIsaac & Company lawyer has the knowledge and experience necessary to obtain for you the full compensation you are entitled to.

I can see why it would be better to hire a lawyer. Why should I hire a MacIsaac & Company lawyer?

MacIsaac & Company lawyers specialize in the prosecution of personal injury claims, involving anything from relatively modest injuries to catastrophic injury and death claims. Together, we have many decades of experience.

We use a “team approach” in pursuing your claim, which includes the use of professional backup and support, including consultants and experienced investigators. We have access to highly qualified experts of various medical specialities, as well as experts specializing in rehabilitation, economic loss, vocational assessments, and work capacity evaluations. By hiring one of our lawyers, you can tap into the vast experience available to us which can go a long way toward maximizing your claim’s potential.

MacIsaac & Company’s lawyers have successfully acted for thousands of injured people from all over North America, and have recovered tens of millions of settlement dollars for our clients.

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