Car Accident Injuries
Your future should not be compromised because of the carelessness of another
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, through no fault of your own, you are entitled to compensation. At Kantor LLP, we have the skill and knowledge, developed over 15 years, to assist you in getting you the right medical treatment, dealing with the insurance company on your behalf, and advancing your injury claim for compensation. While we address the legal issues and deal with the insurance companies, you can focus on recovery.
There is no fee to meet with us and determine whether this is a matter you wish to pursue. We are 100% confident that if you wish to pursue a claim for damages and injuries, you’ll choose Kantor LLP to assist.
Do you need a lawyer for a car accident?
Only by assessing the nature and extent of your injuries are we able to determine whether you need a lawyer. Sometimes the full impact of the accident is not felt for months. It may be best to take a “wait and see” approach, where we monitor your injuries and recovery over a period of time. There is no downside to contacting our office for a free consultation to (a) protect your rights; and (b) maximize your recovery of compensation / damages. We can advise you of your options and guide you through the process of dealing with your insurance company. Kantor LLP will ensure you receive the care and attention you deserve and that you receive an amount of compensation commensurate with your injuries.
Every situation is unique to the individual. If your concerns warranted a visit to our website, we encourage you to contact our office for a free consultation.
I was in a low-impact collision with minimal to no vehicle damage, do I need a lawyer?
One of the traps people fall into is assuming that because the damage to their vehicle was minor so too are their injuries. In the case of Jensen v. Thompson, 2002 ABQB 1066, a woman whose vehicle sustained only $675 in damage was awarded over $380,000 in compensation. The positioning of her body at the time of impact and the design of her vehicle contributed to the severity of her injuries which ultimately resulted in her being unable to return to work.
How long does a car accident settlement take?
A car accident settlement, from start to finish, can range depending on the type of injury. Historically, with more significant injury claims, it can take 2 to 5 years to obtain a settlement.
At Kantor LLP, we attempt settlement upon one of two events:
- You reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), meaning all treatment options have been exhausted and your condition is not likely to be improved any further – the healing process has plateaued and an expert has opined you will likely suffer permanent impairment moving forward; or
- Complete resolution – you have fully recovered from your injuries. The only way to increase the likelihood of complete resolution is through early intervention with the right treatment providers. Kantor LLP can assist with referring you to the right treatment providers so you can get better faster.
What is the average settlement amount?
The amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive is dependent upon the nature and severity of your injuries, the amount of time you were unable to work, as well as the overall impact the accident has had on your life and is dependent on the heads of damage that you qualify for compensation under. The heads of damage are:
- Pain and Suffering – the physical and/or emotional stress caused by your injuries;
- Past and Future Loss of Income – lost wages for time off work and/or the inability to earn income in the future;
- Loss of Earning Capacity – inability to perform a job you have been training to do and/or diminished job prospects in your chosen field or industry;
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses – costs not covered by your insurance benefits;
- Future Cost of Care – anticipated ongoing cost of treatment post settlement; and
- Loss of Housekeeping Capacity – inability to perform housekeeping tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
- As the injured party, the onus is on you to prove your case. That’s where Kantor LLP comes in. If you can demonstrate you satisfy each of these heads of damage, your settlement amount can be significant.
What is considered pain and suffering in a car accident?
Pain and suffering is defined as the physical and/or emotional stress caused from an injury. This could include physical pain, permanent limitations on activity, chronic pain, depression, and/or scarring.
How much money do you get for pain and suffering?
The amount you are entitled to receive for your pain and suffering (the physical and psychological injuries you sustained as a result of the accident) wholly depends on the severity of your injuries.
In 2004, the Government of Alberta capped the amount of compensation recoverable for pain and suffering for injuries classified as “minor” at $4,000 ($5,202 in 2019 dollars). Generally speaking, an injury that completely resolves itself within 6 months is typically considered to be a “minor injury”. However, if you have symptoms that persist beyond 6 months your compensation will increase considerably.
In 1978, the Supreme Court of Canada capped the amount any one person could receive for pain and suffering at $100,000 ($380,000 in 2019 dollars). The maximum allowable is awarded to persons rendered paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result of a car accident.
While you may be limited to the amount you can receive for pain and suffering, you may still qualify for additional compensation under other heads of damage, such as future cost of care. As an example, if you need to hire professionals to assist you with your everyday life, such as a home care nurse, that but for the accident you would not have required, you are entitled to claim those ongoing expenses, even if they exist beyond settlement, meaning we will account for future anticipated expenses when negotiating your settlement.
In the example of a paraplegic, that person may be limited to $380,000 for pain and suffering; however, their future cost of care may be estimated at millions of dollars – we would seek that amount on your behalf.
The recent Court decision of Jones v Stepanenko, 2016 ABQB 295 (CanLII), awarded $80,000 to a woman who suffered a severe whiplash injury which caused her to develop fibromyalgia and chronic pain. The Court awarded a further $125,000 for loss of earning capacity as she was forced to change her career path to accommodate her pain. Adding in the other heads of damage (past loss of income, loss of housekeeping capacity, cost of future care, and out-of-pocket expenses), the total amount awarded was $282,683.65.
I have pre-existing medical issues, will that effect my settlement?
You are not held to the physical standard of a person in perfect health. Everyone comes into a car accident with their own set of either emotional or physical “baggage”. It’s not your fault that the negligence of another has made a pre-existing issue worse (an “aggravation” or “exacerbation” of a pre-existing injury) or caused a condition that was previously asymptomatic to become symptomatic. All injuries sustained as a result of a car accident are compensable.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in Athey v. Leonati,  3 SCR 458, 1996 CanLII 183 (SCC), dictated that, generally speaking, you take your victim as you find them. You are entitled to be restored to the position you would have enjoyed but for the accident. Simply put, if the accident caused an aggravation or exacerbation of an existing condition causing injury, you are entitled to compensation for that injury.
Thin Skull versus Crumbling Skull
The term “thin skull” applies to individuals who are particularly vulnerable to injury or more fragile than the average person because of a pre-existing medical condition. The law dictates that you take your victim as you find them, meaning you are to be compensated for all injury caused, even if those injuries are elevated because of a pre-existing injury or condition. In other words, insurance companies cannot argue you are entitled to less compensation for your injury because a person of greater strength or emotional makeup would have been less injured or quicker to recover. You are entitled to be restored to the position you would have enjoyed but for the accident.
The term “crumbling skull” applies to individuals with a pre-existing medical condition that would have left them impaired whether or not they were injured in the accident. The distinction between a “thin skull” and a “crumbling skull” is that individuals with a “thin skull” are in a stable condition before the accident and, but for the accident, would have remained so. Individuals with a “crumbling skull” are not in a stable condition before the accident, rather a state of continuing deterioration which the accident has merely accelerated. In other words, they would have eventually suffered from the condition in question anyways. You are not entitled to be put in a better position than you would have enjoyed but for the accident.
Do lawyers get paid before medical bills?
We work only on a contingency fee basis. Our fee is dependent or contingent upon you receiving compensation for your injuries and damages.
Our fee is a percentage of the monies we recover on your behalf, either by way of negotiated settlement or a judgment awarded by the Court following trial. This percentage is calculated using your net settlement amount, meaning we get paid after any outstanding medical bills are paid.
We are happy to take the time, free of charge, to initially assess your matter and give you options as to your potential next steps.
Kantor LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of clients in Calgary, Canmore, Red Deer and Lethbridge.