Common Reasons for Needing a Personal Injury Lawyer
There are many different reasons to contact a lawyer, with personal injury being a field of specialty. Personal injury law deals with the intentional or unintentional wrongdoing that affects individuals physically or psychologically.
Experts in this field are highly knowledgeable about tort law, which entails a civil law suit to redress a wrong done to a person, usually by providing monetary damages to compensate the injured person for the loss incurred. Additionally, spouses and other family members are able to claim compensation for loss of care, guidance and companionship, the provision of services caused by the injury and any other financial losses that resulted. Most cases in the field of personal injury law are settled out of court.
Personal Injury Claims
When looking types of claims, most personal injury cases involve negligence, such as damages that occurred due to an accident. Other types of personal injury cases occur on the basis of breaking a contract, lack of informed consent or deliberate harm of another.
When you hire a lawyer at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, it is usually because of harm resulting from the failure of another person to exercise a certain level of care. When driving, every motorist has a duty of care where it is reasonably foreseeable that harm will result if reasonable care is not taken. Governments, businesses and homeowners also have a standard of care as owners/occupiers of property to take reasonable measures to keep users safe from harm. When a motorist or occupier of property falls short in providing that standard of care and an injury results, he or she may be liable under the law. Not every situation is one where an injury leads to liability, however.
Accidental collisions spur the most personal injury cases, such as motor vehicle accidents, boating and watercraft accidents, snowmobile and ATV accidents, and aircraft accidents. The next highest incidence of personal injury case types is slip and fall accidents, where a person slips or trips and then falls and gets injured as a result. Accidental collisions and slip and fall accidents in British Columbia are discussed in more detail below as they are the most common. Other reasons for person injury cases include medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, animal bites, children’s injuries, assault, denial of long-term disability or Canada Pension Plan disability benefits, mass tort and class actions, workplace injury and defamation of character.
Vancouver Accidental Collisions
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common accidental collisions in British Columbia, governed by the Motor Vehicle Act. Claims are handled by a provincial crown corporation, Insurance Corporation British Columbia (“ICBC”). Approximately 32 percent of 260,000 motor vehicle accidents resulted in injuries, according to ICBC’s 2013 statistics. Motor vehicle accidents include car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicyclists and pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle. Injuries that are compensated most frequently are whiplash, fractures, brain injury, amputation and paraplegia/quadriplegia. Payment is also possible for psychological injuries.
Where a motor vehicle accident leads to a personal injury case, it is because an injury occurred (at least in part) at the fault of another party. Fault is determined by the insurance company, not the police, or the court if a fault determination remains disputed. A party may be responsible for the accident for failing to take adequate care and/or failing to follow the rules of the road. While everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to accident benefits, only an injured person who is not at fault may purse a tort claim for additional damages.
If you are an injured party who behaved negligently when the accident occurred, then your claim for damages will be reduced to the extent that you “contributed” to the accident. Your compensation could be reduced, for example, if you were driving distracted, impaired, recklessly, or you were speeding or undertaking some other driving infraction.
Injuries from collisions involving other recreational vehicle accidents may also lead to a personal injury case, such as boats and watercraft accidents, snowmobile or ATV accidents and aircraft accidents. ICBC does not handle these accident types and different laws apply (e.g., the Marine Insurance Act governs boating and watercraft accidents). A liable party may have purchased additional insurance protection from an insurance company that also provides automobile insurance or insurance from a specialized insurer (e.g., marine insurance policy insurer for a boat and watercraft). Or, if no separate insurance was purchased and the liable party owns a home, liability insurance from a home insurance policy may cover some or all of the total third party damages claimed.
Vancouver Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of personal injury cases, governed largely by the Occupiers Liability Act. While a property owner or operator is not an insurer required to compensate for an injury, he or she can be found responsible for an injury because of the legal duty to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards.
When slip and fall accidents occur, the cause is often wet or slippery surfaces (e.g., ice-covered parking lot, driveway, walkway, entrance or spills inside), flooring that is uneven, loose or having debris on it, carpeting that is torn, worn or broken or bulging, inadequate lighting or unsafe structures (e.g., loose railing). A slip and fall accident can cause death or lead to injuries, such as broken or fractured bones, bruises, sprains or strains, concussion, or internal damage.
The exact nature of an owner’s/occupier’s legal duty will depend on each situation. For example, if you slipped and fell on a floor that was still damp just after being cleaned and the area was not closed off and no warning signs were provided, the property owner may be held responsible, even if you were not watching where you stepped.
Compensation for damages in slip and fall accidents is reduced to the extent that an injured victim is found to have contributed to the accident. Walking while eating, drinking or talking on a cell phone, for example, when the accident occurred can reduce your compensation due to “contributory negligence.” Everyone has a duty to take appropriate measures to care for their own safety.
Contact Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation
When you have been injured in a personal injury accident in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley or Surrey, you will want to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident as strict time limits apply. At Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, we are experienced personal injury lawyers that provide a free case evaluation. Contact us at 604-654-2250.