3 Very Important Things To Know Before You Lend Your Car Out

It is common knowledge that if you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, you will likely be held vicariously liable for any property damage or injury they cause while they have it. But did you know that you also cannot loan your vehicle out with conditions, and that you will still be held responsible for any damages caused by that driver?

1.  Vicarious Liability

So, what is vicarious liability? Vicarious liability is a legal idea. It means that you can be held responsible for the actions of a third party. A common example of this in the world of employment. A supervisor may be responsible for the actions of the wrongdoing of their employee. For example, if a construction worker causes property damage while working, the company employing them will very likely be held responsible for the actions of that construction worker, and the ensuing property damage.

2.  Can I be held responsible for the actions of someone I lend my car to?

Vicarious liability can also extend to the world of insurance law as well.

In Alberta, when you give someone permission to drive your vehicle, this permission is unconditional. In other words, you cannot give permission to someone to use your vehicle, as long as they follow certain rules, like returning the car by a certain time or so long as they don’t speed. You also cannot take back that permission when the other person still has the vehicle in their possession. You will still be held responsible for the actions that the person you leant the car to if they cause an accident.

An interesting example of this is Mansour v. Rampersad, a case decided in Alberta in 2022. In that case, Roger Rampersad was given permission to drive a vehicle, so long as the vehicle was returned by a specific time to the owner. However, Roger did not return the car by the deadline, and the car was reported by the owner to the police as stolen. After the car was reported stolen, Roger caused an accident and was sued for the damages. But the owner of the vehicle was sued as well, and the Court found the owner responsible, even though the vehicle was reported stolen.

Both the driver and the owner of the vehicle were held responsible for the damages, and owner’s insurance on the vehicle covered the loss.

3.  Are there any exceptions?

There are very limited exceptions to the rules on vicarious liability. One exception to the rule is if you loan out your vehicle, you can place a condition that this vehicle is only being loaned to that one specific person. In other words, the person borrowing the car cannot later give permission to someone else, simply because they are in possession of that vehicle. For example, if you rent a car, one person might be specified on the rental agreement as the only person allowed to drive that car. That named driver is generally not able to give permission for someone else to drive the rental car.

Another exception is if you give your vehicle to businesses that deal with transporting vehicles or repairing vehicles, such as tow truck operators, valet drivers, detailers, or mechanics. If for example, a mechanic is in an accident while on a test drive for example, typically it will be the mechanic’s specialised garage policy that will cover the loss.

STAGES OF LITIGATION FOR A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM

There are many paths that can be taken to resolve a personal injury claim. This blog will look at the different stages involved in litigating a personal injury claim, and the different ways in which a settlement can be reached.

Settlement

Sometimes, a personal injury claim can be resolved directly with the insurance company, without the need to involve defence lawyers. Your lawyer may work directly with a representative from the insurance company to negotiate a settlement for your claim on your behalf. If an appropriate settlement is reached, the claim can be settled without any further litigation.

However, not all claims can be resolved in this way, and instead, may require litigation.

Questioning (or Examination for Discovery

Often the first stage of litigation is a proceeding called a Questioning (or an Examination for Discovery). During the questioning, the defence lawyer will ask you questions, under oath, about your case, and a court reporter is present to take a transcript of everything that is said at the Questioning.

The purpose of the Questioning is to learn as much information as possible about your claim. It also allows the lawyers to assess their case and the credibility of the witnesses.

After the questioning, your lawyer will often be required to fulfill “undertakings”. Undertakings often include documents which the defence lawyers would like to see in order to help them in assessing your case. This can include updated medical documentation, income documentation etc.… Your lawyer will need to collect these documents and provide them to the defence lawyers following the Questioning.

At some point after the Questioning has occurred, negotiations may resume, and it is possible that a settlement is reached at this stage.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

If a settlement cannot be reached following the Questioning, a Mediation may be scheduled. A Mediation is overseen by a mediator, who is a neutral third-party, and is there to help the parties come to a resolution.

Another alternative would be a JDR (judicial dispute resolution) which is similar to a mediation, except this proceeding is overseen by a judge, rather than a mediator, and is similar to a “mini trial” in that both parties have the opportunity to present their case to a judge.

If a settlement cannot be reached either at mediation, or afterwards, your file may need to be set for trial. However, personal injury files rarely make it to this stage of litigation in Alberta, as the parties must show good faith attempts to settle prior to being able to schedule a trial date.

Overall, there are many ways to resolve a personal injury claim, and a personal injury lawyer can help guide you through every step of the litigation process needed in order to settle your claim.

Complain Complain Complain

Complaining: It’s Not All Bad

When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, visiting your doctor regularly to report your symptoms is essential to your recovery. This builds the medical evidence of your injuries, which is vital to a personal injury claim. Seeing the doctor to report your injuries as soon as possible after the accident is crucial, but it is also essential to return to provide status updates. This is especially true if the treatment protocol isn’t addressing your injuries, and you aren’t seeing improvements with time.

Following through with your doctor’s medical recommendations is also key. If your injuries aren’t improving over time, you may be hesitant to return, thinking that they cannot do anything for you or that there is nothing to report. However, this is incorrect. Seeing the doctor when things aren’t improving allows them to suggest alternative treatments, request imaging, or provide referrals to specialists.

Prompt intervention prevents your symptoms from escalating and shows that you are actively mitigating your injuries. Your doctor’s chart notes reflect their objective findings once they examine you, as well as what you subjectively report. Therefore, describing your symptoms and how your injuries affect you provides medical evidence of your ongoing suffering. Recovery takes time. Trusting the process and following up with your doctor ensures you reach maximum medical improvement and maximize compensation for your injuries.

Documenting your injuries begins with noting all your complaints to your doctor and treatment providers. This can be difficult for us as Canadians to accept, as ‘complaining’ has negative connotations and we are socialized to be polite and downplay what bothers us. However, this doesn’t serve your best interests after an accident. Your treatment providers document your complaints, so if they ask how you are doing, resist the urge to reply with an unqualified ‘great.’ Keep the focus on your injuries and why you are there. Instead, respond by telling them whatever injuries have been bothering you lately, and how your symptoms are progressing. Otherwise, your visit won’t truly reflect your pain and suffering.

Comprehensive complaints about your injuries are helpful. Communicating openly and describing your concerns to your medical professionals provides evidence for your personal injury claim, giving them the opportunity to tailor their treatment in response to your changing needs. Complaining is not the same as embellishing or exaggerating. Anything that is different after the accident, whether physically, psychologically, professionally, or personally, is worthy of note so long as it is legitimately impacting you. Do not minimize your injuries for fear of embarrassment, or at the expense of putting on a brave face to maintain a tough persona.

Even after you have recovered, see your doctor to report that your injuries have resolved or when they have subsided. The next time you see your doctor for another matter, feel free to give them an update on your accident injuries. This provides a clean slate for anything that might occur in the future. If you are in a second accident, a note in your doctor’s records that your injuries had resolved or were minimally bothersome at a certain date will go a long way towards any future claim. This helps avoid the argument that your injuries are due to the first accident. In the absence of clear medical evidence, even after a significant amount of time it can still be an uphill battle to prove that your prior injuries had resolved or were not a factor in any subsequent accidents.

Your recovery demands more than just immediate medical attention – it requires ongoing care and commitment. Reporting when your complaints have resolved is important to establish a baseline for the sake of any future injuries. Distinguishing between those which are brand new, aggravated, or reactivated also demonstrates the impact of each individual accident. This ensures you receive maximum compensation for your claim, as well as any future claim.

Did you know that Car Accidents can cause Erectile Dysfunction

Did you know that car accidents can cause erectile dysfunction?

Yes, you read that right. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of motor vehicle accidents, it occurs more often than you might think. As with any other injury that you sustain in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else, you can receive compensation for it under your bodily injury claim so long as it can be shown that it was caused by the accident.

So how can a car accident cause erectile dysfunction?

The obvious answer is direct trauma to the genital and pelvic area of your body. This doesn’t happen all too often from car accidents though. Less obvious and much more likely, is through either a psychological injury, head injury, or spinal cord injury. It’s possible to develop emotional trauma after a car accident, with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorders being common. These psychological injuries that can be caused by a car accident can impact how you think and feel and can contribute to issues with performing.

Head injuries or concussions are also common as a result of car accidents. It’s reported that about half the people, both men and women, with a traumatic head injury experience a drop in sex drive and between 40-60% of men experience temporary or permanent impotence. Depending on the nature of the head injury, it is possible for a certain part of your brain, called the pituitary gland, to be damaged. This part of your brain regulates your sex hormones, and an injury could result in reduced sex drive or inability to perform.

Spinal cord injuries can also result in erectile dysfunction by affecting the nerves that lead to the genitals, resulting in reduced sensation, muscle motion, etc. Where on the spine the injury is located can also result in different types of erectile dysfunction. Damage to the sacral area of the spinal cord can result in issues with “reflex erections,” which happen in response to physical touch. Whereas damage to the thoracic spine, around the mid-back, can result in “psychogenic erectile dysfunction,” which means you have difficulties with the mental aspects of getting and maintaining an erection.

While this might be a hard topic to talk about (no pun intended), it shows how important it is to bring up any health issues you might be experiencing after a car accident with your doctor to get diagnosed and to receive the treatment and care that you need. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it would also be important to bring it up to your lawyer to determine if you can receive compensation for it, even if you think it may seem unrelated.

If you have recently been injured in a car accident and are considering seeking compensation, please contact Moustarah & Company today for an initial consultation and to answer any questions you may have.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim in Alberta

 

It can take as little as a few days to several years to settle a car accident claim in Alberta. The main factor that drives the length of time it takes a file to settle a claim in Alberta is how long it takes a person to recover from their injuries. Since each person recovers at a different pace, this is why there is so much variance from one file to the next. Claims in Alberta are typically settled once a person is either fully recovered, or, reaches “maximum medical recovery”, which means the person has recovered as much as they possibly can from their injuries.

Generally speaking however, many people recover from their injuries within two years, meaning their claim can be settled around the two-year mark after their accident. This is not set in stone however, and again, as discussed, is entirely circumstantial upon a given person’s experience.

The law on recovery periods

Our Alberta courts have identified that, generally speaking, some injuries are of a lesser nature in that the person injured can expect to be fully recovered from them after a few short months, so long as they are pursuing all the appropriate treatments that are recommended to them by their doctor, such as physio, massage, chiro, and more.

However, there are some types of injuries that no matter how well the person is doing in terms of following their recommended treatments, the recovery will still take quite a bit of time – several months or more. See McLean v Parmar for more discussion about “chronic pain” as well as examples of expected recovery times.

Additionally, while you are recovering from your injuries, there might be other types of losses you are also experiencing at the same time, that would need to be measured and accounted for with supporting documents or evidence. These could include:

  • Loss of incomefor time off work while you recovered;
  • Loss of income earning capacityif your injuries will permanently impact your ability to work and earn income;
  • Future cost of careif your injuries will require further treatment for the continued foreseeable future after your file settles;
  • Loss of housekeeping capacityfor your lessened ability to keep up with chores, groceries, and other activities of daily living while you recovered;
  • Specialsout-of-pocket costs for items or treatment for the accident that were not already reimbursed to you;
  • and more.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help handle your claim by taking a proper look at the circumstances of your injury and recovery process to determine how long your file may take to settle, and provide you the advice over what types of claims you may be entitled to.

If you have recently been injured in a car accident and are considering seeking compensation, please contact Moustarah & Company today for an initial consultation and to answer any questions you may have.

The Average Settlement Amount for Injuries from a Car Accident in Alberta?

 

 

Pain and suffering claims in Alberta can be settled for as little as just a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. The number all depends on several things: the type of event that gave rise to your injury; the nature of your injuries; the complexity and length of your recovery process; and what types of losses you suffered that you can prove; and more.

To give you a baseline idea however, if your injury was not “minor”, an “average” personal injury file in Edmonton and in all of Alberta might settle for anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. Note that recovery of this amount is never guaranteed, and it is best to discuss your individual claim with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can properly assess the merits of your claim and provide you with the advice for how to best advance it and what you might expect in terms of hard numbers.

Can you even advance a claim in the first place?

To even be able to advance a claim in the first place, you need to be able to prove that the other party’s negligence or wrongdoing caused you your losses. If it cannot be proven that the other party was negligent or that they did anything wrong in the process that led to your injuries, then you likely cannot advance a claim for compensation at all.

What elements go into a personal injury settlement?

The main driving factor that drives the dollar figure up in someone’s settlement is the “pain and suffering” category of damages – it’s also commonly referred to as “general damages”. This is a type of loss that is used to compensate someone for the extent of pain, injury, and inconvenience they experienced as a direct result of their accident injuries as well as the time it took them to treat and recover from them.

However, in addition to the “general damages/pain and suffering” category, there are other categories of losses you can claim for, depending on the evidence you have to support each one. These could include:

  • Loss of incomefor time off work while you recovered;
  • Loss of income earning capacityif your injuries will permanently impact your ability to work and earn income;
  • Future cost of careif your injuries will require further treatment for the continued foreseeable future after your file settles;
  • Loss of housekeeping capacityfor your lessened ability to keep up with chores, groceries, and other activities of daily living while you recovered;
  • Specialsout-of-pocket costs for items or treatment for the accident that were not already reimbursed to you;
  • and more.

“Minor injuries”: the difference between a car accident injury versus a slip-and-fall injury, or other types of personal injuries

There is an important difference between car accident injuries versus other types of personal injury claims. For a car accident injury, you can still claim for all of the categories of types of losses we discussed above, however, the “pain and suffering/general damages” category might be limited based on one of our provincial “statutes” (statutes are documents that set out the controlling rules in a particular area of law in a province).

If your car accident injury falls within the legal definition of a “minor injury”, then your claim might be capped at $6,061 for accidents that occurred in 2024. For injuries that occurred in other years, please see the Superintendent of Insurance’s Interpretation Bulletin that sets out the calculation for other years – as this “minor injury” amount changes slightly from year to year.

This “minor injury cap” applies only to car accident injuries – it does not apply if your injury was a result of a slip-and-fall or other type of personal injury claim.

To read more about what a minor injury is defined as, please see the Minor Injury Regulation.

We also encourage you to contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Moustarah & Company, who can advise you what you might expect to receive in compensation given how your injuries classify as well as your circumstances.