Family Doctors and the Role They Have in a Personal Injury Claim

In this fast-paced day and age, where many traditional business and service models are changing, it is not uncommon for people to be without a family doctor or regular doctor who they see on a consistent basis.

As personal injury lawyers, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of a family doctor, or seeing the same physician on a consistent basis, to a personal injury claim. This blog post outlines the important role that a family doctor has in a personal injury claim. Continue Reading

Who Are the Different People Involved in a Car Accident Claim?

An Example: Car Accident

Imagine a standard car accident claim. You are injured in an accident caused by another driver. Below, is a simplified image depicting a straightforward rear-ending collision, as an example.

Seems simple enough, right? However, there are many people  involved in even the most straight-forward car accident claim. For example:

A car accident can be overwhelming on its own, particularly if someone has been injured or hurt. The various parties involved can add to this sense of confusion. Time after time we hear from people who are overwhelmed and confused by the sheer number of different adjusters and other individuals involved in a claim.

Who is this “PD” adjuster? Why is this person called a “BI” adjuster calling? How are they different from the other person whose title is “AB” adjuster? Who do I talk to about getting more physio treatments approved?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The whole scenario can be much more confusing when both drivers involved in the collision have policies of insurance with the same insurance company, or if one party does not have insurance, or if there are injured passengers.

That is why we have drafted this blog – to help you sort through the complex web of people shown above. Below, we break down the different parties and adjusters involved in a collision and explain what each one’s role is.

Your insurance company

Let’s start off with your insurance company.

After you’ve been in an accident, you will want to report the collision to your insurance company right away, as there are time limits that can affect your ability to open a car accident claim and access coverage. Learn more about what you need to remember to do right after a collision here.

Before we dive into the different adjusters that your insurance company will assign to your file, let’s begin by clarifying who “your insurance company” is, because it is not always straightforward.

If you are both the owner of the vehicle and the driver of the vehicle at the time of the accident, then who “your insurance company” is should be straightforward: it is the company that you have purchased a policy of insurance from. If you are the driver of someone else’s vehicle, then (in most cases) “your insurance company” would be the company that the owner of the vehicle purchased insurance from. If you are the passenger in a vehicle, “your insurance company” would (in most cases) be the company that the owner of the vehicle purchased insurance from.

Please note that the above are simplified examples. There may be other factors that complicate whose insurance will cover you and be considered as “your insurance company” for the purposes of your car accident claim.

To learn more about your insurance policy’s Section B coverage, read our past blog post here.

Your adjusters

When you call your insurance company to report an accident, they will most likely open a claim. Depending on what you report to them and the coverage that you have under your insurance policy, your claim may have up to 2 adjusters assigned to it: a Property Damage (or “PD adjuster”) and/or an Accident Benefits (or “AB adjuster”). Each of these adjusters serves a different role, which we outline briefly below. 

Throughout the lifetime of your file, you will be in contact with the adjuster(s) from your insurance company, as they approve repairs to your vehicle, and treatments, disability payments, and other coverage, as applicable, to help you recover from your injuries.

PD Adjuster:

  • deals with the property damage aspect of the claim (damage to your car, etc)
  • may not be applicable if you or the owner of the vehicle have not purchased “fully comprehensive coverage” or Section C coverage as part of the insurance policy

AB Adjuster:

deals with damage to your person including

physical and psychological injuries, and approves coverage for treatments, prescription medication, ambulance bills, disability benefits etc Continue Reading

5 Things You Need to Remember Right After You’ve Been in a Collision

A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye. You can go from waiting at a stop light one second to a collision the next. You can go from driving down the road to bracing for impact in an instant. Even a minor accident can feel overwhelming. You may never have been in an accident and may not have any idea what to do next. You may have been in an accident before, but in the moment, you might forget what to do. Here are 5 things that you need to remember right after you’ve been in a collision:

5 Things You Need to Remember Right After You’ve Been in a Collision Continue Reading

Chronic Pain, Chronic Pain Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia

As personal injury lawyers, we see a number of people who suffer from chronic pain, chronic pain syndromes, and fibromyalgia. These conditions often have a significant impact on injured peoples’ quality of life. Yet, they remain some of the most misunderstood and difficult-to-prove injuries before the courts and around the negotiation table. This blog post aims to provide a quick overview of the conditions.  A future blog post will review some of the difficulties that lawyers and injured people face in personal injury cases when trying to prove that they are suffering from these conditions.

 

Please note: The information provided on this website does not constitute medical or legal advice and should not be construed as such. The lawyers and staff at Moustarah & Company are not trained medical professionals and do not hold themselves out to be such. If you are suffering from an injury, whether chronic pain or otherwise, please contact your doctor or medical care provider.

What is chronic pain?

Pain that lasts and interferes with a person’s quality and enjoyment of life over time can be considered chronic pain.

Experts vary on how long the pain has to last before it is considered chronic. The most common durations used to define whether pain is of a chronic nature are 3 or 6 months (as set out by Turk and Okifuji in “Pain terms and taxonomies”, in Bonica’s Management of Pain (3rd ed.), pages 18–25). Others classify chronic pain differently and apply different time frames to distinguish between acute and chronic pain. Depending on the expert or taxonomy, pain that lasts for more than a certain number of months can be considered chronic.

Chronic pain can come in many different forms. A person may suffer from chronic back pain, chronic jaw pain, chronic neck pain, and so on. Almost any type of pain has the potential to become chronic in nature.

People may develop chronic pain as a result of a number of injuries or conditions. Persons suffering from long-term pain can speak with their doctor about their symptoms.

What is Chronic Pain Syndrome?

Some people who suffer from chronic pain can develop Chronic Pain Syndrome (“CPS”) or other similar pain syndromes or disorders. Often, CPS is characterized as going beyond symptoms of physical pain alone, and may include depression, anxiety, or other psychological symptoms or elements.

Persons suffering from pain or other symptoms can speak with their doctor about their symptoms.

What is fibromyalgia?

It may be helpful to think of fibromyalgia as a specific subset of the general category of chronic pain. According to the Arthritis Society of Canada, fibromyalgia is a

nervous system condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body Continue Reading

What is Tort Law Part 2: Liability

In our previous blog post on tort law, we discussed the two cornerstones of all tort law: liability and quantum. This blog post aims to provide a specific overview of the concept of liability, particularly in the context of personal injury law.

Note that this overview is very generalized, and does not cover the full range and depth of possible liability issues that might arise on any given file. Liability can be complex and liability issues may have a significant impact on a personal injury file. If you have been involved in a collision or accident, contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more about your legal rights and options.

What is “liability”? And what does it mean to be “liable”?

Liability is a legal concept. Together with quantum, it is one of the central issues in tort law, of which personal injury is a part.

Essentially, liability is a question of whether someone should be held responsible, in law, for an action or inaction which caused injury, loss, or damage. Legal responsibility is a distinct concept and may not always align with one’s sense of moral responsibility or perception of factual responsibility. Liability in tort law is also distinct from findings of guilt or culpability in criminal matters, and the two should not be confused.

Therefore, to be liable in tort law is to be legally responsible for causing damage, injury or loss to another person. Generally speaking, if a court finds that a wrongdoer is liable, the wrongdoer is obliged, at least to some extent, to pay damages to the injured person.

Who determines liability?

Sometimes, the wrongdoer, or their insurance company (see our blog post on subrogation here), will admit that they are liable for the incident that caused the injured person to sustain loss, injury, or damage.  If the wrongdoer accepts responsibility in this way, the main concern usually then becomes quantum.

Sometimes, the wrongdoer may admit to some liability but also argue that the injured person is also liable for their losses or injuries to some extent (such as with contributory negligence), or argue that they are liable only for some of the losses experienced by the injured party (such as if the injured party failed to mitigate their losses).

If the wrongdoer or their insurance company denies liability, and the injured party still wishes to pursue the claim and hold the wrongdoer responsible, then the matter will likely proceed towards a more involved litigation. If the matter proceeds to trial, the court will decide who, if anyone, is responsible, or liable for the damages or injuries caused and losses sustained.

If more than one person is liable, the court will determine the degree to which each party is at fault.

The courts use different legal tests to determine liability in different situations. If the injured person sufficiently proves each element of the requisite test, then the courts will find the wrongdoer liable.

Can a person be liable even if he or she didn’t mean to cause damage, injury or loss?

There are situations where a person can be held liable even if he or she did not intend to cause damage, injury or loss. In many personal injury cases, the wrongdoer does not intend to cause harm to the injured party. However, they may still be found liable for negligence, or admit to liability.

Can more than one person be held liable for causing the same damage, injury or loss?

The

Contributory Negligence Act, RSA 2000, c C-27 Continue Reading

5 Things You Need to Know When Choosing the Right Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision or as a result of someone else’s negligence, you might be wondering where to go from here. What are your legal rights? What are your options? What can and can’t the insurance companies involved do? What can you do? Who can you turn to for help and relevant advice? A personal injury lawyer can help you to navigate this difficult situation.

Here are 5 things that you need to know in choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case.

1. Finding the right personal injury lawyer for your case will depend on the specific facts of your case.

There is no one perfect personal injury lawyer for everyone, but there may be a lawyer or law firm out there who is right for you. Selecting a personal injury lawyer is an individualized process.

2. There are many factors to consider in choosing the right personal injury lawyer for your case.

There are many factors to consider, including:

  • The reputation of the law firm
    • Is the law firm well-respected in the community and before the courts? Have they received positive reviews and feedback? Have they received any awards or praise for their work?

    The level of experience of the law firm when it comes to dealing with accidents and injuries like yours

    • There are many types of personal injury cases and claims. Not every personal injury lawyer or law firm will deal with every type of personal injury case. For example, some law firms may not handle medical malpractice, product liability, or WCB cases.

    How comfortable you feel with the lawyers at the firm and their support staff

    • Do they make you feel respected and listened to? Do you feel that you can comfortably ask them questions and get the answers that you need?

    3. Don’t be afraid to do your research.

    This might be the first time that you have ever had to look for a lawyer and you might be uncertain about where to even start looking. Choosing a lawyer to represent you, advocate on your behalf, and stand up for your rights is a big decision. Don’t be afraid to do your homework and look into the different personal injury lawyers and law firms that are practicing near you.

    A simple search engine query can be a good place to start to give yourself a sense of the different firm and personal injury lawyer options near you. You may also want to ask your friends and family, or even your doctor or physiotherapist, for referrals or personal recommendations. Others in your social circle may have had experience with personal injury matters in the past and may be able to provide you with the names of the lawyers they consulted or retained.

    You can also visit the Law Society of Alberta’s website. The Law Society maintains a

    directory of lawyers Continue Reading