Q. What should I do if I’ve fallen or been injured on someone’s property?
A. If you are injured, then you should seek medical attention right away. Your health should be the most important consideration.
If you’re able to, then you should take a picture of the hazard that caused your injury. Also take pictures of the surrounding area to show if there were any warning or hazard signs. If you can’t take pictures, then have someone you know do it for you. The sooner the pictures are taken the better. If there are witnesses to your accident, then collect their names and contact information.
It is important to contact a lawyer soon after your accident. Preszler Law BC has a full-time investigator who will investigate the accident location and preserve evidence helpful to your case.
If a municipality has caused your accident, you should report the accident to them in writing within two months and may need to start a lawsuit against them within six months or else your claim could be barred. Contact a lawyer to ensure you are protected.
Q. Should I agree to be interviewed after my accident?
A. After an accident on someone’s property, you will often be contacted by an insurance adjuster or investigator asking to interview you about how your accident happened. They will often want to record the interview or have you sign a statement.
The insurance adjuster does not represent you or look out for your interests. They work for the insurance company who will actually be your adversary in any potential lawsuit. Do not trust them.
It is usually a bad idea to talk with an insurance adjuster before seeking legal advice. Insurance companies use statements and interviews to try and find inconsistencies with your story to later argue that you are not a trustworthy witness.
A Preszler Law BC lawyer will report your accident for you and handle all conversations with the insurance company to prevent you from making an honest mistake that harms your case.
Q. How do I treat broken ankles, legs, wrists or arms?
A. If you believe you may have broken a bone, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Broken bones are usually immobilized or casted for six weeks. If your symptoms do not resolve, you may also need physiotherapy, massage therapy or exercise therapy.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medical and anti-inflammatory medication to help manage your pain. You may be given crutches, a walker or a cane to help with walking.
If you have developed a limp, speak with your doctor. Your limp could cause damage to your hips or knees if left untreated.
Generally speaking, you should reach maximal medical recovery for your fracture within one year of your accident. It may take a further year for your injured muscles, ligaments and tendons to reach maximal medical recovery. If your symptoms persist longer than one or two years, then you may have a permanent injury.
Some fractures increase your risk of developing arthritis, particularly serious or “intra-articular” (meaning fractures involving the joint) fractures. Talk to your doctor about the risk of arthritis.
Q. How do you determine what my case is worth?
A. People who are injured by someone else’s wrongdoing are generally entitled to compensation. The purpose of compensation is to put the injured person back to the same position they were in before being injured.
In order to determine how much compensation someone is owed, personal injury lawyers consider the following questions:
- What are your injuries?
- How severe are your injuries?
- How long will your injuries last? How they will affect you in the long-term?
- How much do your injuries affect your work and personal life?
- How much income will you lose over your entire lifetime due to your injuries?
- Are you less competitive in the market place due to your injuries?
- How much have your injuries affected your housekeeping chores?
- What treatment will you need now and in the future?
- What out-of-pocket expenses do you have related to your injuries?
- How does the law value your injuries and losses?
- Who is at fault for the accident?
People injured by someone else’s wrongdoing are usually entitled to damages for pain and suffering. Lawyers calculate pain and suffering damages by looking at what judges have awarded people with similar injuries. The more severe the injury is, the higher the award. The more the injuries have affected your life, the higher the award. The longer you experience symptoms, the higher the award. The maximum award in Canada for pain and suffering damages is in the range of $360,000.
People who are not able to do their household chores are able to recover compensation for their loss of housekeeping capacity over their lifetime, even if a family member has taken on the tasks for them. You are generally awarded fair market value for each hour of housekeeping that your injury prevents you from doing.
People who have lost income as a result of their injuries or will lose income as a result of their injuries are entitled to have it replaced. If your injuries make you less valuable as a worker (for example, you cannot do heavier tasks or work longer hours), then you are likely entitled to compensation for loss of income earning capacity. Loss of income awards should take into account all money that someone will lose as a result of their injuries over their entire working career.
Injured people are entitled to be compensated for the cost of the treatment or rehabilitation expenses they need for the rest of their lives. You may need physiotherapy, massage therapy or counseling in the future. You may need help cleaning your home or doing your yard chores. You may need re-training at work. You may have to spend money on painkillers or other medications. All of these amounts should be recoverable.
If you were partially at fault for your accident, then your damages will be accordingly reduced. For example, if you were 50% at fault for an accident, then your damages will be reduced by 50%.
Q. What are the signs of a brain injury?
A. Severe and moderate brain injuries generally occur when someone suffers a strong blow to the head and loses consciousness for more than twenty minutes.
Brain injuries do not only occur when someone has been hit on the head. The force of rapidly moving your head back and forth in a rear-end car accident, for example, can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull and suffer an injury.
Not everyone who suffers a concussion or brain injury is knocked unconscious. Some people merely suffer an altered state of awareness — like feeling dizzy, dazed or confused.
Common symptoms of a brain injury or concussion include:
- Memory problems
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Ringing in the ears
- Anxiety or depression
- Personality changes and impulsivity
- Trouble with speech or word finding
- Irritability or a quick temper
- Trouble sleeping
- Problems with hearing, taste, smell or eye sight
Anyone who believes they may have suffered a brain injury or concussion should see a doctor immediately. Always err on the side of caution.
Q. Should I contact a lawyer about a brain injury stemming from an accident?
A. Yes, brain injuries and concussions can cause serious, long-term consequences. People who have suffered brain injuries or concussions can be entitled to substantial settlements due to the severity of their injury.
Lawsuits involving brain injuries often involve complicated medical and legal issues that should be handled by experienced lawyers. Making a mistake on your case could negatively affect your ability to recover fair compensation.
Q. If my case does go to trial, how will a personal injury lawyer help me prepare?
A. It is rare for a case to go to trial. The vast majority of cases settle out of court.
Sometimes, in order to get you the compensation you deserve, we will recommend going to trial. We will only recommend going to trial when we believe we can win your case.
Trials are complicated procedures. They often involve court application on what evidence is and is not admissible. Even for evidence that is admissible, there are better and worse ways to present it to the court. Personal injury lawyers know proper court room procedure and how to persuasively present evidence in court; they handle the entire trial for you.
A trial is an opportunity to tell your story. The court will hear evidence on how your accident happened and how your injuries have affected your life. Your lawyer will spend a lot of time preparing you and other witnesses to give truthful, clear evidence in court. It is our job to make you feel comfortable with the process and remove any surprises.
Preszler Law BC’s lawyers prepare meticulously for trial. We appreciate that little details matter. We gather all of the available evidence about your injuries. We do careful, thorough legal research and witness interviews. We hire some of BC’s best medical experts to explain what injuries you’ve suffered, how they affect your work and personal life now and in the future, and what treatment you need.
Before trial, each party will have many opportunities to consider their case and make decisions on whether to settle out of court.