Car accidents are unfortunately very common, it’s important to know the best way to prevent them, and your legal rights.
You might think that you’re a safe driver and that accidents only happen to other people. But the truth is, accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. So it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively.
If you do find yourself in an accident, there are certain things you should do to ensure that you are protected both legally and physically.
Tips on how to avoid a car accident
First and foremost, it’s crucial to discuss how best to prevent accidents before they ever happen.
The best way to avoid an accident is to practice safe driving habits.
1. always buckle your seatbelt
2. never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
3. obey the speed limit and posted signage
4. never drive while distracted, whether it be by your phone, passengers, or anything else
5. be aware of your surroundings at all times, including other drivers, pedestrians, and potential hazards
Most common types of car accidents
There are many different types of car accidents, but some are more common than others.
Here are a few of the most prevalent kinds of accidents:
1. Rear-end collisions – these occur when one car hits the back of another
2. Head-on collisions – these happen when two cars hit each other head-on
3. Side-impact collisions – these take place when one car hits the side of another
4. Rollover accidents – these are often caused by speeding or drunk driving, and involve a car flipping over onto its roof
What to do immediately after a motor vehicle accident
The first thing you should do is stay calm and assess the situation. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Once the police arrive, be sure to get the officer’s name and badge number as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses.
If you are able, take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to the vehicles involved. It’s also a good idea to get the other driver’s insurance information.
What to do in the days following a car accident
In the days following the accident, you will likely be contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. It’s important that you do not give a statement to the insurance adjuster without first speaking to an experienced car accident lawyer.
You should also avoid signing any paperwork or agreeing to any settlements until you have consulted with a lawyer. The insurance company might try to lowball you with an offer that doesn’t begin to cover the true cost of your damages.
A car accident lawyer will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, including any medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
What to do in a hit-and-run situation
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, it’s important to stay calm and call the police right away.
If you can, get the license plate number of the other vehicle. Even if you don’t have the full license plate number, any information you can give the police will be helpful in tracking down the other driver.
If you have any type of insurance, whether it be auto, health, or homeowners, you should contact your insurer to find out what coverage is available to you.
Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?
While you are not legally required to have a lawyer after a car accident, it is in your best interests to consult with one. Car accident lawyers will know how to deal with the insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve.
Your rights after a car accident
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be wondering what your legal rights are. A lawyer will help you get a better understanding of your rights and options.
Generally speaking, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if you’ve been injured in an accident.
You may also be entitled to receive compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
Taking legal action after a car accident
You might be able to sue the other driver if they were acting negligently at the time of the accident. Negligence can include things like speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or distracted driving.
Other examples of negligence in car accidents include:
- Making an illegal turn
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failing to yield the right of way
Can someone who’s not at fault still get sued?
If you were in an accident caused by the other driver, you might still be sued even if you weren’t at fault. This is because the other driver could claim that you were partially at fault for the accident.
For example, if the other driver rear-ended you and they claim that you were tailgating them, they could sue you for damages even though they were the ones who caused the accident.
This is why it’s so important to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer before giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer can help protect you from being wrongly blamed for the accident.
Can my passenger sue me?
If you were in an accident and your passenger was injured, they could sue you for damages. This is because drivers have a duty to their passengers to drive safely and protect them from harm.
If you were driving negligently at the time of the accident and your passenger was injured, they could sue you for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
What is the no-fault law in Ontario?
Ontario is a no-fault province, which means that each driver’s own insurance pays for the damages after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
However, you can still sue the other driver if your injuries are serious enough.
The definition of serious injury under Ontario’s no-fault law includes:
- Loss of consciousness
- Brain damage
- Permanent disability
- Severe disfigurement
What happens in an accident involving a pedestrian?
If you’re a pedestrian who’s been hit by a car, you might be able to sue the driver for damages. If you hit a pedestrian with your car, you might be sued by the pedestrian.
It will depend on who was at fault for the accident.
Pedestrians have the right of way on Ontario roads, and drivers are required to yield to them.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the pedestrian was not in a crosswalk or was jaywalking, the driver might not be held liable for the accident.
What happens in an accident involving a bicycle?
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers on Ontario roads. This means that they must obey all the traffic laws, including stop signs and red lights.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the bicyclist was riding on the sidewalk or was riding against traffic, the driver might not be held liable for the accident.
What are the time limits for filing a lawsuit in Ontario?
In Ontario, the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. This is known as the limitation period.
If you don’t file your lawsuit within the limitation period, you will likely be barred from taking legal action and receiving compensation.
How to file car accident claims in Ontario
After you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to file a claim.
The first step is to notify your insurance company about the accident. You will need to provide them with some basic information, such as the date and time of the accident, where it occurred, and the names and contact information of any witnesses.
You will also need to obtain a police report, as well as any medical reports or bills related to the accident.
Once you have all of this information, you can then file a claim with the insurance company. It’s important to keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses and their main goal is to make money.
They will try to lowball you with an offer that doesn’t begin to cover the true cost of your damages. This is why it’s so important to have experienced car accident lawyers on your side who can fight for the compensation you deserve.
Common car accident injuries
Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, some of which may not be immediately apparent. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention even if you don’t think you’re injured.
Other injuries include:
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
What to do if you’re injured in a car accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not be immediately apparent.
Filing a personal injury claim
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.
In order to file a claim, you will need to show that the other driver was at-fault for the accident and that their negligence led to your injuries.
You will also need to prove the extent of your injuries and the financial impact they have had on your life.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong claim.
What to expect from the personal injury claims process
The personal injury claims process can be long and complex. It’s important to have realistic expectations about what it will involve.
The first step in the process is to file a claim with the insurance. The company will then investigate the accident and decide whether or not to accept liability.
If the insurer accepts liability, they will make a settlement offer. If the offer is fair, you can accept it and the case will be resolved. If the offer is unfair, you can reject it and proceed to trial.
The whole process can take months or even years to complete. It’s important to be patient and understand that these things take time.
When to hire a personal injury lawyer
If you’ve been injured, you may be wondering if you need to hire a personal injury lawyer. The answer depends on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of your case.
If you’ve suffered serious injuries or if the other driver was clearly at-fault for the accident, then it’s likely in your best interest to hire a lawyer.
A lawyer will be able to handle all the legal aspects of your case so that you can focus on your recovery.
Can a personal injury lawyer also handle my car accident claim?
Yes. A personal injury lawyer can also handle your car accident claim, and vice versa. In fact, it’s often in your best interest to hire a lawyer to handle both your personal injury claim and your car accident claim.
I already know a great real estate lawyer, can they help me with my car accident or personal injury claim?
No. While a real estate lawyer may be knowledgeable about the law, they likely don’t have the experience or expertise to handle your car accident or personal injury claim.
It’s always in your best interest to hire a lawyer who specializes in the type of claim you’re pursuing.
What kinds of accident benefits are available in Ontario?
If you’ve been in a car accident, you may be entitled to receive certain benefits from your insurance company. These benefits are typically called “accident benefits” and they can help cover the cost of your medical expenses and lost wages.
The specific accident benefits available to you will depend on the province you live in and the type of insurance you have.
For example, in the province of Ontario, all drivers are required to have certain types of insurance coverage. This includes:
- Coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Coverage for income replacement benefits
- Coverage for death and funeral expenses
Average compensation for a car accident in Ontario
The average compensation for a car accident in Ontario is $30,000. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and include things like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
The insurance company is giving me a settlement offer, should I take it?
The insurance company is likely to make a low settlement offer, especially if you don’t have a lawyer. Before you accept any settlement offer, make sure to speak to a personal injury lawyer to get an evaluation of your case.
Your lawyer will be able to advise you on whether or not the offer is fair and if it’s in your best interest to accept it.
What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the other driver involved in the accident doesn’t have insurance, you may still be able to get compensation for your damages.
In some provinces, there is a government-funded program that provides compensation to victims of car accidents who are not covered by insurance.
For example, in Ontario, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund can provide compensation to victims of car accidents who are not covered by insurance.
Car accident lawyers vs. personal injury lawyers
Car accident lawyers specifically help people who have been injured in a car accident. They understand the unique issues that can arise in these cases and they know how to build a strong case for maximum compensation.
Can paralegals handle a personal injury case?
No, they must be handled by a licensed lawyer.
Paralegals are not licensed to give legal advice or represent people in court. If you try to handle your claim without a lawyer, you will likely end up getting less money than you deserve.
How to find experienced personal injury lawyers
The best way to find an experienced personal injury lawyer is to ask for a referral from a friend or family member.
Once you’ve found a few personal injury lawyers that you’re interested in, you should set up consultations with each one. This will give you a chance to ask them questions and get a feel for whether or not they’re the right lawyer for you.
I met with a few personal injury lawyers, how do I choose one?
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is an important decision. You should choose a lawyer that you feel comfortable with and who you believe will be able to get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Some things to consider when choosing a personal injury lawyer include:
- Their experience handling similar cases
- Whether they work on a contingency basis
- Their reviews and ratings from past clients
- The consultation fee
How to pay personal injury lawyers
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if you win your case.
Contingency fees are typically a percentage of the total amount of money you recover, so you will only have to pay the lawyer if you win your case.
Personal injury lawyers may also charge an hourly rate, but this is less common. If you are paying an hourly rate, you will need to budget for the lawyer’s time in advance.
Qualities that all great personal injury lawyers have
A great personal injury lawyer will have extensive experience handling cases like yours. They will also be knowledgeable about the applicable law and willing to fight hard for you.
Great personal injury lawyers will be compassionate and understanding. They should make you feel comfortable and confident that they have your best interests at heart.
Finally, a great personal injury lawyer will be honest with you about your case. They should give you an accurate assessment of your chances of success and how much money you can expect to recover.
Can you switch personal injury lawyers?
Yes, you can switch personal injury lawyers at any time.
If you’re not happy with the lawyer you’re currently working with, or if you feel like they’re not doing a good job, you can hire a new lawyer.
You should never feel like you’re stuck with a lawyer that you’re not happy with.