Assessing Injuries with Your Car Accident Lawyer
Every year in the past 5, nearly 80,000 motor vehicle accidents involve injuries in BC and an average of about 282 crashes involve fatalities.
When approaching a car accident lawyer about the compensation available for a personal injury suffered, many new clients want to know how much their claim is worth before starting the claim. There is no easy answer to this question as the true cost of an injury is unknown until you have had time to seek medical care, obtain therapy and your body has had a chance to heal as much as it can. The process can take years and it will depend on several factors, including the nature of the injuries, how they impact your life and if the injuries are affected by your pre-existing medical history.
Nature of the Injuries in a Car Accident
When assessing the ability to make a tort claim, it is important for your car accident lawyer to know about the types of injuries incurred in the accident. Often, there will be several injuries at once. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) accident claims in Vancouver often include brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractures, amputation, whiplash and wrongful death claims. Your lawyer will need to know details such as where on the body the injuries occurred (e.g., the left side of the jaw or the right knee), what the symptoms are and how long they last or are expected to last, including whether there is chronic pain.
The nature of your injuries also extends to the treatment of the injuries. Did you need an assistive device such as crutches, neck brace, wheelchair, or orthopaedic supports? Was there any clinical treatment such as physiotherapy, acupuncture or massage? How often are these treatments required? Are they ongoing? Are you following the treatment recommendations? Some of the same questions can be asked about any medication required post-accident. Were any surgeries required? Did any of the treatments cause adverse side effects, such as infections following surgery or nausea from medication? Did you take the same actions as another person would have with the same injuries? The nature, duration and impact of the treatment are all considered as part of the injuries sustained.
Non-physical injuries, such as psychological injuries, are also an important factor in the assessment of a claim. Non-physical injuries that many individuals experience following an accident include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, intrusive thoughts, tearfulness, nightmares, or anger. All of these emotional or psychological changes are included in the assessment of your claim.
Impact of Injuries on Work &Personal Life after a Car Accident in Vancouver
In order to determine the impact of your injuries, the assessment will consider how your injuries have affected your employment, hobbies, housekeeping and caregiving abilities.
When assessing how your injuries have affected your employment, many facts are considered in addition to the amount of time you needed off work to heal and the impact it has had on your employer. Can you still do the same type of work? If not, why not? What modified duties or alternative work are available? Did you ever return to work? When? Who advised you not to return to work? There are other less obvious ways that your injuries may be affecting your compensation such as reduced seniority, loss of promotions or raises and overall loss of competitiveness in your field. All of these help in assessing your pain and suffering after an accident.
Similarly, for hobbies, housekeeping and caregiving, the assessment is a review of how the accident impacted your life in these areas. For example, what did you like to do before the accident that you can no longer do or do less or in pain? For example, did you travel, play a musical instrument or play sports? Were you an avid volunteer or active in your church? What is your family situation? Do you have child care responsibilities? If so, are you able to fulfill them? The assessment for housekeeping and caregiving will consider what you were able to do before the accident that you are no longer able to do. For example, do you have to modify the task? Do you complete the task in pain?
Role of Pre-Existing Medical History
No matter how young or how old you are, your medical record could impact your claim. Having a pre-existing medical condition does not preclude you from bringing a claim, however. In assessing a claim an examination of the medical history is used to determine what aspect of the pain and suffering were caused by the relevant motor vehicle accident.
In assessing the role of your pre-existing medical history, some previous illnesses, injuries and surgeries may be considered to be affecting you currently, depending on the date, nature of the illness and its duration, particularly if you are currently receiving compensation through disability benefits. Your injuries may also be compensated if they were made worse by the accident. The role of credible witnesses may have an impact here, including that of an expert who conducts an independent assessment
Compensation for Damages Following a Car Accident
Specific losses in a personal injury claim are compensated in two ways. You can receive compensation for pecuniary damages (those which are calculable losses, such as lost income or medical costs) and for non-pecuniary damages (the extent of your “pain and suffering, loss of amenities, and loss of enjoyment of life”) at the same time.
The facts in each particular case are considered uniquely, even where the same injuries occur. This is because the same injuries can impact two people completely differently and, so, their compensation should be different. For example, a professional piano player who uses his hands as part of his work and passion will suffer a far greater loss from a hand fracture than a professional singer with the same injury. Skill of your car accident lawyer in outlining how the accident applies to your personal situation will also have an impact in the claim.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation
Arriving at compensation in a car accident personal injury claim can involve many factors. To find out more about how these factors might impact your claim, contact us at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation in Vancouver. A car accident lawyer in our Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey and Langley offices can help you as well. Our personal injury law firm charges fees only if we recover funds for you. Call us for your free consultation at 604-654-2250 today!