Will I get a settlement for my Ottawa accident?
Like most people visiting this website, you are probably looking for a settlement for your Ottawa accident claim. Not every Ottawa accident will result in a settlement. Here are some factors that may impact on whether or not an insurance company will pay a settlement in your case.
Did someone’s negligence cause your Ottawa accident?
You will only be compensated for your injuries if they are someone’s fault. Sometimes bad things happen and there is no-one responsible. For example, sometimes you will slip and fall because you have inappropriate shoes for the conditions or because you are out walking in the middle of a snow storm or because you are walking somewhere where you could not reasonably expect it to be maintained. When that happens, there is no-one to collect a settlement from.
However, if your Ottawa injury was caused because someone did not meet the standard of care that was reasonably expected from them, you may be able to establish the legal test for “negligence”. In that situation, you may be able to obtain a settlement for your injuries. A consultation with an Ottawa accident lawyer will help you understand if you will succeed in a claim based on negligence.
Were your Ottawa injuries caused by someone’s negligence?
There is a concept in negligence law called “causation”. In order to collect damages from someone who was negligent, you have to link the negligence to the injury. In some cases, this is easy. If you slip and fall and break your ankle, the link is pretty clear. However, if you suffer soft tissue damage that results in back pain or headaches, it may be more challenging to prove that it was the accident that caused those injuries. An Ottawa personal injury lawyer can give you information about whether your accident meets the test for causation.
Can you justify the amount of money you are claiming for your injuries?
This is a bit of an over-simplification, but broadly speaking your damages fit into two categories: damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering and damages to compensate you for past or future financial losses. Damages for pain and suffering in Ontario are based on what is called “precedent”. The damages you are entitled to for your injuries are based on what other cases in the past have determined are appropriate damages for your type of injuries. For example, if you have suffered a broken shoulder and now have arthritis in it as a result of an accident, we would look at cases where other people have suffered broken shoulders to see how much money a court awarded them in the past. The amounts of older cases are adjusted for inflation. In Canada, there is also a “cap” on damages for pain and suffering. An Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you figure out the amount of damages you may be entitled to on a settlement.
The financial losses include amounts for past and future loss of income, housekeeping, attendant care, damages for equipment or anything else you have had to purchase because of the accident. In order to claim future losses, you need medical evidence that shows that you will need those funds in the future. When we calculate the out of pocket amounts for our clients, an Ottawa personal injury lawyer will use actuaries and other professionals to ensure we can advance convincing numbers.
There is still no guarantee of a settlement for your Ottawa accident claim.
There is no obligation for the insurance company to offer to settle your accident claim. The insurance company will only settle a claim where it believes that there is a strong chance that you will be entitled to damages at a trial. For starters, that means the insurance company has to believe that you are prepared to take the case to trial. If you are using an Ottawa personal injury lawyer, make sure she is prepared to go to trial if that is required to get you a fair settlement. You should also obtain the evidence required to demonstrate the value of your case. This includes evidence of both the liability component (was there negligence?) and the damages component. Only when your personal injury lawyer has all the ducks in a row will the insurance company consider offering a fair settlement.