July 18, 2023 from Cam LLP
In today’s era of social media, it’s easy for personal injury lawyers to encounter a flood of misinformation and conflicting narratives regarding the process of pursuing personal injury lawsuits. With daily automobile collisions happening on Albertan roads, it’s crucial for legal professionals to have a clear understanding of the truths behind personal injury claims. This blog post by Cam LLP aims to dispel common misconceptions about the Alberta personal injury claims procedure.
Myth 1: You have 2 years to resolve your claim.
Reality: The clock starts ticking from the accident date. You have a two-year window to file a statement of claim and preserve your right to pursue a personal injury claim.
Myth 2: A 90-day period is all you can get physical treatment for.
Reality: There’s a 90-day treatment restriction for specific injuries covered by the Alberta Diagnostic Treatment Protocols Regulation. Physiotherapy expenses for protocol-covered ailments are billed directly to the insurer. Once the protocol expires after 90 days, you can continue physiotherapy for longer if your injuries don’t fit within the protocol. However, you may need to pay upfront and seek reimbursement, with extended health benefits potentially covering some costs.
Myth 3: The most physiotherapy sessions you can have at one time is 21.
Reality: If your ailment is governed by the Diagnostic Treatment Protocols Regulation, you can receive up to 21 physiotherapy sessions. However, if your injuries fall outside the protocol or if your physicians recommend further treatment, you can receive more than 21 sessions. But be prepared to cover these costs initially and seek reimbursement.
Myth 4: It costs too much to hire an injury attorney.
Reality: The majority of personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and offer free initial consultations. Their fees are contingent on the money you recover for your claim, covering legal expenses and disbursements, which include fees for court paperwork and expert medical reports. Typically, clients pay nothing upfront, but it’s essential to discuss the specifics of the contingency fee arrangement with any attorney you’re considering.
Myth 5: If you hire an attorney, the settlement process will take longer and you will receive a lower settlement amount.
Reality: Most personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win. Experienced attorneys know how to expedite the claims process and negotiate with adjusters and insurance attorneys to secure a fair settlement that fully compensates your losses and injuries. The time it takes to reach a settlement is often more influenced by the nature of the injuries and liability issues than the presence of an attorney.
Myth 6: In order to receive compensation, you must appear in court.
Reality: Most personal injury cases are resolved out of court, with personal injury attorneys skilled in claim negotiation. They streamline the process and ensure fair compensation while guiding clients through the necessary procedures and deadlines to protect their rights.
Myth 7: Compensation is only available for physical harm.
Reality: Courts now recognize the psychological effects of accidents, such as anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A skilled personal injury attorney can gather the medical documentation needed to support claims for both physical and psychological harm. Compensation can also extend to additional losses, including lost wages, the inability to carry out daily tasks, and reduced companionship and support.
Myth 8: For lawsuits involving minor injuries, you don’t need a lawyer.
Reality: Even for minor injuries, legal representation can streamline the claims process and ensure fair compensation. The severity of injuries may not be immediately apparent, and there are exceptions to the minor injury cap, such as lost wages and out-of-pocket costs, which require expert evaluation by a personal injury attorney.
Myth 9: It will take years to settle a personal injury claim.
Reality: The time to settle varies based on the extent of injuries and healing. While some cases may take longer due to severe injuries or complex medical diagnoses, an experienced attorney can expedite the process.
Myth 10: After speaking with an adjuster, you cannot hire a lawyer.
Reality: You can retain legal counsel at any point, even after speaking with an adjuster. Once you hire an attorney, they will handle communications with the adjuster on your behalf.
Myth 11: You cannot switch attorneys.
Reality: You have the right to choose your representation. Changing attorneys is possible at any point in the legal process. Your old and new attorneys can negotiate the transfer of files, including medical reports and evidence, as well as payment details.
In the world of personal injury law, staying informed and dispelling misconceptions is crucial. Knowing the facts empowers personal injury lawyers to better serve their clients and secure the compensation they deserve.
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