Personal Injury Lawyers: Why Do You Need One?

By Elaine Bright | January 21, 2014

Elaine Bright – Pace Personal Injury Lawyer in Kenora: Personal injury lawyers – why would you need one? If you are in a motor vehicle accident won’t OHIP cover your treatment? And why not just call your insurance company to find out how to submit your receipts for expenses?

There are two main reasons people use legal services after an accident.

Insurance Benefits After an Accident

The first, and most common, reason is to get the insurance benefits they are entitled to. Directors and Officers of insurance companies are required by law to operate the companies in the best interests of the corporations – which means that earning revenue for shareholders takes priority over offering clients everything they ask for. Every dollar paid out in claims is a dollar less for the company. Therefore, it is not uncommon for insurance companies to vigorously resist paying out money in claims beyond the bare minimum they are required to pay.

For example, Alex Voudouris, an experienced personal injury trial lawyer with Pace Law Firm, currently represents a client who was offered $3,500 by an insurer, plus income replacement benefits, for a claim that Alex is confident is worth at least $2.5 million – far more than the insurer’s offer.

Victims think that by suing a driver who was at fault, the driver’s insurance premiums will go up, and/or the victim will cause other problems for the driver. Both of these beliefs are wrong.

Accident victims who are admitted to a hospital have a large team of health care professionals working to help them, but once victims leave the hospital their access to OHIP covered services is limited. Without a lawyer to advocate for them, many people do not get insurance coverage for all of the support they need from physiotherapists, chiropractors, home care staff, housekeepers and others.

Suing The Driver Who Was At Fault

The second reason lawyers get involved after a motor vehicle accident is to launch a lawsuit on behalf of a victim and/or their family members against someone who was at fault. In Ontario, a victim who suffers a serious, permanent injury can often sue for uncovered expenses, lost income and for pain and suffering.

Bear in mind, Canada is not like the US in terms of compensation – here, claims for pain and suffering are limited to about $350,000. This maximum is reserved for the most serious cases, such as someone who sustained permanent brain damage. Yet even in Canada, if the victim has a significant claim for loss of future income and the cost of attendant care, awards and settlements run into the millions of dollars.Law suits often include claims by family members of accident victims. Family members can sue for their own economic loss, and for any loss of care, guidance and companionship from the victim.

There are lawyers in most communities who practice personal injury law. They will usually provide an initial consultation at no charge. 

Personal injury lawyers are often told: “I don’t want to sue the person who was at fault because he/she is my husband/ father/ daughter/ aunt/ friend.” Victims think that by suing a driver who was at fault, the driver’s insurance premiums will go up, and/or the victim will cause other problems for the driver. Both of these beliefs are wrong.

Will My Premiums Go Up After an Accident?

Drivers who are at fault in an accident may see their insurance premiums go up but, according to an underwriter, the amount of the increase will be exactly the same whether the insurer pays $100 for a dent in a bumper, or millions of dollars for a very seriously injured victim by way of settlement or award in a law suit. And, if an insured is not at fault, there is no increase in premiums whatsoever.Does a law suit against an at-fault driver cause other problems for the person sued? Probably not, because all the person who is sued has to do is cooperate with their insurance company and answer questions truthfully. If I was at fault in an accident that injured someone, I would be happy to answer questions to help the victim get the compensation they deserve from an insurance company.

There are lawyers in most communities who practice personal injury law. They will usually provide an initial consultation at no charge. If you or someone close to you is the victim of a motor vehicle accident, it is wise to ask for advice about getting the insurance benefits you’re entitled to or whether to consider launching a law suit.

Elaine Bright is a lawyer with Pace Law Firm. She handles cases in Kenora and throughout Northwestern Ontario. Pace’s personal injury lawyers have been helping accident victims since 1980.