Motor Vehicle Accident Claims

Alberta is a big province, and oftentimes the only way to get from point A to B is to drive. Most car trips are thankfully uneventful, but this reality of Prairie life still comes with inherent risk, especially when most motor vehicle accidents in Alberta happen in rural areas. Serious accidents do occur, leaving survivors to contend with injuries, permanent disability and worse. Impacts of those serious motor vehicle accidents extend beyond the physical— our team can help you feel heard, understood, and supported, while providing the legal support that you need.

Understanding motor vehicle accidents in Alberta

Alberta Traffic Accident Statistics cite the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in Alberta are:

  • Impairment
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Following too closely
  • Running off the road
  • Disobeying traffic signals, including stop and yield signs

Regardless of the cause, it’s important for those injured in a motor vehicle accident to seek legal advice so that they can best understand what course of action can be taken toward recovery and pursuing meaningful compensation.

What to do if you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident in Alberta

Motor vehicle accidents can happen any time and anywhere. Here are some Immediate steps to take if you’ve been in an accident:

  • Don’t leave the scene: Doing so may put you under extra scrutiny and expose you to criminal charges.
  • Check for injuries and get medical attention: If you or anyone you’re with is seriously injured, their wellbeing is of the utmost importance. If they have been injured, call 911. We also recommend you file a police report.
  • Get safe and secure the scene: If it is safe to do so, put your hazard lights on, get out of your vehicle and move out of traffic off to the side of the road while you wait for assistance. Safety first.
  • Gather information: Exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Get their names, their contact information, as well as the policy number and insurance company name. It’s a good idea to make note of their plate(s), car make and model as well. If there are witnesses nearby, collect their contact information. Using your cellphone camera, document everything you can, including the vehicles involved, the damage to your vehicle, and best as you can, take notes about the events that led up to the accident before it transpired.

If you or a loved one have been injured following a motor vehicle accident, here’s what we recommend to do within the next 24 hours after being in a motor vehicle accident:

  • Don’t wait to connect with us: It’s a good idea to get legal advice as soon as possible so that you can better understand your rights and the claims process. Every additional fact can be one that works in your favour toward getting the compensation you deserve. We can help you gather evidence and liaise with insurance companies and the police as your representative. Our initial consultations are also free.
  • Filing an accident report: If there were no injuries in the accident, and each of the vehicles involved were drivable, you can file a collision report at a police district office.
  • Visit a doctor’s office: Motor vehicle accidents can be high stress and overwhelming. If you escape uninjured, count that as a blessing. But it’s also possible for the adrenaline in the heat of the moment to make injuries you’ve sustained not immediately obvious. It’s a good idea to visit a doctor to ensure your physical well-being and to document any injuries you may have sustained.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company: Your insurance company will require you to report if you’ve been in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. A claims adjuster will act on behalf of your insurance company to investigate your claim.

Insurance basics in Alberta

Having basic automobile insurance, both accident benefits and $200,000 in third party liability, is required by provincial law. Insurance coverage such as collision, or comprehensive (ie. covering theft, vandalism, weather damage) is not.

As of 2004, the Alberta government introduced the Minor Injury Regulation (MIR), which puts a limit on the total damages recoverable for any minor soft tissue damages. These injuries are defined as any injury or condition that does not result in a serious or long-term impairment, such as a sprain, strain, or whiplash-associated disorder. This limit is adjusted annually for inflation. While the government has put a cap on how much one can recover for a minor injury, that limit does not affect your ability to claim loss of income, cost of care, or other kinds of damages.

On January 1st, 2022, the Alberta government adopted the Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) system for car insurance claims. Through this system, a driver’s own insurer covers repairs to their vehicle in the event of a collision where the driver and policyholder is not at fault. The DCPD should not be confused with a “no fault” auto insurance system though, as the policy only specifically deals with vehicle damages. Any claims relating to injuries are still dealt with through the insurers of all parties involved in a collision, including whoever is at fault.

If you have questions about how the cap applies to you, or about how to navigate insurance claims after a motor vehicle accident, contact our law firm for a free consultation.

Understanding insurance claim compensation in Alberta

Communicating with an insurance company on your own can be challenging, even if your injuries are minor. These are businesses whose entire model is built around providing you with as little compensation as possible.

There are many factors that affect compensation from a motor vehicle accident, such as:

  • Liability
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

A personal injury lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Once all parties have notified their respective insurance companies, each company will investigate the accident to establish liability, which is where the evidence you collected at the scene, and after the fact, can really help support your claim. The cumulative information that comes via police reports, eyewitness testimonies, and medical records all play a huge role in the strength of your negotiating power.

What if you’ve been injured by an unknown or uninsured driver in Alberta?

If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and the driver either fled the scene or was not insured, there are still various forms of recourse that you can pursue.

The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act (MVAC) is a program in Alberta that allows for payment toward personal injury damages, but not property damage. The program, which was created in 1947, is funded by the provincial government.

This process is still complicated and a number of criteria needs to be satisfied before determining an individual’s eligibility. MVAC is only a final option, if all other avenues of compensation have been exhausted. At this stage, we recommend you reach out to our law firm for a free consultation to see what options might be available to you.

Contact our law firm today for a free consultation

If you or someone you know has recently been in a motor vehicle accident, contact our law firm for a free consultation. During this consultation you can ask our legal team if your claim is worth pursuing, how long it may take to settle and other questions you may have. Call 1-888-494-7191 now – we are open 24/7 to take your call.

 

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