What to Do After a Car Accident

Car accidents happen suddenly and unexpectedly. And few people have prepared a list of what to do and what not to do in the event of a car accident. Obviously, the first thing to do is to figure out if anyone is injured and to make sure that emergency personnel are on their way. If the police and other first responders have not been called, call them yourself or ask someone to call them for you.

Even assuming that there are no obvious or serious injuries, here is a list of things to do and not to do at the scene of an accident:

  1. Do remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is an offence and you can be charged.
  2. Do exchange license and vehicle information with any other drivers involved.
  3. Do ask any witnesses to the accident to wait for the police to arrive or at least provide you with their contact information.
  4. Do take photographs of the position of the vehicles and the surroundings.
  5. Do not move your vehicle unless you have to do so and you have already photographed the positions of the vehicles before you do.
  6. Do not argue with any other drivers or witnesses about how the accident happened.
  7. Do not refuse medical attention. Many people do not believe they are injured and later find out that they are.
  8. Do notify your insurer as soon as you can.
  9. Do contact an experienced lawyer who can advise you about your rights following a car accident.

In some cases it is obvious to people that they need to consult a lawyer immediately following an accident.  Where someone has suffered serious injuries it is recommended that they or a family member consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. In some cases it is important to notify the potential defendants of a claim. In other cases, it is crucial to have a lawyer involved to gather and preserve important evidence. In other cases, the lawyer and his or her staff can play an important role in accessing insurance benefits and making sure the best people are involved in the rehabilitation effort.

In cases where it is not clear to the injured person that they have a claim, people are reluctant to consult a lawyer. This can be a serious mistake. The safest thing to do is to arrange for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  He or she will be able to tell you what steps to take and can provide important advice about whether you have a claim and how to protect your rights.

At McNally Gervan our focus and specialty is protecting the rights of accident victims. There is no cost involved in consulting with one of our lawyers. Contact us for a free consultation on the phone or in person.

When you are looking for the best personal injury lawyer for you or your family, the best place to start is by asking questions. Your lawyer will take on an important role in protecting your rights and the best interests of your family. You need to have confidence in your lawyer and you need to trust in his or her judgement and experience. You also need to feel that the communication between you and your lawyer is clear and direct.  At McNally Gervan we pride ourselves on being open and accessible to our clients. We do our best to respond to calls and emails within 24 hours and to ensure our clients are informed about the next steps in the process.

Here is a short list of questions to ask in any consultation with a lawyer, to ensure you hire the best lawyer for you and your family:

  1. Does your firm specialize in personal injury litigation?
  2. Do the lawyers in your firm have real trial experience?
  3. Do your fees depend on how much work is done or is it a flat fee?
  4. How do you determine the percentage you charge for fees?
  5. Does your firm have the resources to invest in my case or will I have to pay for medical reports and other expenses?

The decision to hire a lawyer is as important as almost any other decision people have to make in their lives.  Finding the best lawyer for you and your family may not be easy and you may have to meet with three or four lawyers before choosing the best lawyer for you. Take your time and do not feel pressured to sign a retainer agreement until you are ready.

Most personal injury lawyers in Ontario work on the basis of what are called contingency fee agreements.  These agreements provide that the client will only be charged legal fees if and when their claim is settled and money is recovered for them.  The legal fees are usually calculated on the basis of a percentage. When law firm advertisements say “No Fee Until You Win”, or something similar, they are referring to the standard form of contingency fee agreement that most personal injury lawyers use.

If you have a serious injury and a viable legal claim against the person who caused the injury, it will probably not be difficult to find a lawyer to represent you. Most or all of those lawyers will be willing to represent you in exchange for signing a contingency fee agreement. The real question is whether you have found the best lawyer for you and your family.  The best lawyers will always ensure that the fees they charge are fair and reasonable, and not simply the amount set out in the contingency fee agreement the client signed.

At McNally Gervan we represent injured accident victims on the basis of contingency fee agreements all the time. We take care to ensure those agreements comply with the applicable law and that the fees we charge for our work are fair and reasonable. If you have questions about a case or about a contingency fee agreement, contact us for a free consultation.

The time it takes to investigate, document and then resolve a personal injury or other claim varies depending on the injury and the complexity of the issues.  The best lawyers always give conservative advice about how long it may take to resolve your claim.  And sometimes quick settlements are not in the best interests of innocent accident victims.

At McNally Gervan we take the approach that we need to be as sure as we can that we have the full picture before recommending settlement to our clients. We will wait for the medical and other information to develop and to be gathered before assessing your claim and giving advice about settlement ranges.

Complex cases involving significant legal issues and financial losses can take between three and four years to resolve, after the claim has been issued.  Innocent accident victims face real challenges during this time. We understand these challenges and stresses, and will do everything we can to get your claim moving towards settlement as soon as we can, but without rushing the claim to settlement before it is ready.

The compensation (damages) that accident victims receive depends on a number of factors and varies with each individual case. The word “damages” relates to the losses suffered by an accident victim. If the damages were caused by the fault of another, they can be recovered by a personal injury lawyer on your behalf.  Damages can be recovered for pain and suffering, for emotional distress, for past and future economic losses (lost wages) and for past and future medical expenses (this is not a complete list). Some damages can be calculated. These are called special damages.  Some damages cannot be calculated. They are called general damages.

 

The damages in any given case depend on a number of factors, including the prognosis and whether the injuries will prevent someone from working to their full potential or will result in a need for assistance at home. What is certain is that in every case the best personal injury lawyers will take their time to assemble all of the evidence they can, and to investigate the kinds of damages you have suffered, before assessing the claim and before discussing settlement with you or with anyone else.  An early settlement may not be in your best interests, and it is better to be safe than sorry. That’s why we take the time and invest the resources necessary to assess damages in every case and to ensure our clients are fairly compensated.

The lawyers at McNally Gervan have years of experience handling all types of claims involving serious injuries. We know its Personal. ®  Contact us for a free consultation.

Most cases are concluded with an out of court settlement.  The risks, delays and costs of trial, and the desire for certainty and closure, are powerful motivators for clients and for defendants and their insurance companies.  When a case is settled it typically results in the payment of a fixed sum of money in exchange for a promise that no more claims will be advanced in connection with the same accident or event.  The money that is paid to settle a claim can be received in a lump sum or it (or part of it) can be paid into what is known as a structured settlement. Structured settlements can be an important part of a settlement. Under a structured settlement, a certain amount of money is paid into the structure, which is then held by a financial institution, and certain amounts are then paid out (tax-free) to the recipient. At McNally Gervan we will investigate whether a structured settlement is right for our clients and will involve a structured settlement specialist so that our clients can make informed decisions before the case is settled.

The lawyers at McNally Gervan have years of experience handling all types of claims involving serious injuries and structured settlements. Contact us for a free consultation. We know its Personal. ® 

If you have a question or need assistance, our team of personal injury lawyers is here to help. We know every personal injury case is unique and we work hard to make sure our clients are fairly compensated.

If you are unable to travel to our downtown Ottawa office, one of our lawyers or paralegals can come to meet you at your home or some other convenient location. During the free consultation, we will get to know you and to understand the nature of your injuries, as well as the impact the accident is having on you and your family. Contact us for a free Consultation. We know it’s personal.