If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s perfectly normal to feel upset and anxious about what the future may hold. However, the actions you take in the days after the accident will significantly impact your ability to collect compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. At Chodola Reynolds Binder, we recommend all car accident victims take four key steps to help protect their legal rights.
1. See a Doctor
Your health should always come first. You and anyone in the car with you should have your injuries checked out at a local Emergency Room immediately following the accident. Take this step even if you don’t feel as though you are seriously injured. Some injuries don’t become immediately apparent following an accident. Follow up with your family doctor and report all your symptoms to them.
2. Notify Your Car Insurance Company
Ontario operates on a no-fault auto insurance system. If you have been injured in a car accident, your car insurance company will pay you accident benefits according to your policy. You have seven days after the accident to notify your insurer by telephone that you have been injured and wish to apply for accident benefits. If you do not inform your insurance company within seven days, your accident benefits may be delayed.
Once you have notified the insurance company of the accident, you will receive an application for accident benefits. Within 30 days of receiving the application form, you must send the completed form to your accident benefits insurance provider.
These accident benefits will help you to recover from your injuries. They also create a paper trail in your file that could be important to your case. If you plan to file a claim against the other driver for pain and suffering, you will want to have a complete and thorough accident benefits claim on file with the insurance company. If you don’t receive much (or any) treatment, the insurance company often assumes that you have recovered entirely from your injuries or that any injuries were minor.
3. Consult a Windsor Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss a Possible Claim
Contact a personal injury lawyer for a consultation to determine whether you have a possible claim. An experienced Windsor personal injury lawyer will assist you in the following ways:
- Investigate your case
- Make sure your legal rights are protected
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Ensure you receive the maximum possible compensation for your injuries
If your claim cannot settle, your lawyer will file the required documents and prepare your case for trial.
4. Tell the Insurance Adjuster Assigned to Your File to Communicate With Your Lawyer
The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your file once it receives notice of your claim. From that point, the adjuster is the main point of contact with the insurer. If you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer, all communication with the insurance company should be between your lawyer and the adjuster. You should not be talking to the insurance company directly.
Why not? You are already working with a personal injury lawyer entrusted to protect your interests. There is an old saying, “Why buy a guard dog and then bark yourself?” Your Ontario personal injury lawyer is there to act for you to obtain the best possible results. If you speak to the insurer personally, you could undo the work your lawyer is trying to do for you.
If there is property damage to your vehicle, it is separate from any injury claims. The adjuster will assess the damage to your car and determine whether the vehicle can be repaired or written off. If the insurer determines the car can be repaired, the adjuster will refer you to some local repair shops to have the work performed. You can go to one of the repair shops suggested by your insurance company, your usual repair shop, or choose another repair shop. If you feel your insurance company is not giving you fair value for the damage to your vehicle, discuss the situation with your lawyer.
Our Windsor Personal Injury Lawyers Will Fight for You
When results matter, you can count on CRB Law to give you the effective representation you can trust. Our law firm helps clients in Windsor, Tecumseh, LaSalle, Belle River, Kingsville, Leamington, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton, and across Ontario who have been injured in car accidents. If you need help, call us at (519) 254-6433 or fill out our online contact form to set up a free consultation.