car accident claim

In a Car Accident

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Car accidents can dramatically change our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The effects of an accident impinge on us physically, emotionally and financially.

To make matters worse we are thrust into an ever-changing legal system that has increasingly reduced the insurance coverage available. Fewer and fewer therapies and services are covered by OHIP or insurance companies.

Often the first encounter with the difficulties of the legal and insurance system occurs when help is needed most. Faced with an environment that increasingly favours insurance companies over accident victims, the need for a lawyer who can take charge and simplify the complexities is vital.

At Carranza, we understand the many challenges you face after having an accident. Our response to an insurance company’s impersonal denial of your benefits is clear and direct: your recovery is our first priority.

From the outset of your claim, you will receive immediate guidance and expertise from Cesar Carranza based on your individual needs. Carranza has a dedicated, success-oriented Accident Benefits team with the experience and focus necessary to advocate on your behalf in tough and complex benefits disputes. We have expert knowledge and a keen understanding of the insurance and medical system, which enables us to help you obtain the services and compensation you deserve.

Our team continues to succeed and excel in representing the following claims:

  • Motor vehicle collisions where an injury has occurred:
    • As a driver or passenger in a car or truck
    • As an operator of a motorcycle or ATV
    • As a pedestrian or cyclist
  • Fatality or wrongful death claims
  • Disability insurance disputes that arise from your impairments irrespective of whether a motor vehicle collision was the cause of that impairment.

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car accident claim

Common Injuries

During every meeting, phone call and contact, our mission is to make you feel comfortable, safe and supported.

Symptoms from serious injuries often do not arise or are not typically diagnosed until months or years following your accident. We are with you every step of the way to help you understand what is involved in your recovery and how best to proceed from both a legal and healthcare standpoint. We offer you the benefit of our years of experience working with specialists who will help you and your family through each stage of recovery.

We specialize in helping those who suffer from a:

  • Brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Orthopaedic injury
  • Paediatric injury
  • Catastrophic injury

The law distinguishes “catastrophic” impairments from other serious impairments by increasing the amount and type of Accident Benefits available to you. It is a legal definition that affects your access to medical support.

Our team advocates for that status when you have suffered from:

  • Spinal cord injuries causing quadriplegia or paraplegia
  • The amputation of an arm or a leg
  • The loss of use of an arm or a leg
  • A complete loss of vision
  • A brain injury as measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Physical, mental or behavioural disorders that result in a 55% whole body impairment (according to certain legally defined medical criteria).

car accident claim

Following a Car Accident

1. get, and keep, contact information from parties involved.  Write down the names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information of anyone involved in the accident including witnesses. Make sure the police have this information.

2. contact your family doctor. Seek medical treatment immediately.  Even if you leave the scene by ambulance, it is vital that you let your family doctor know within 24 hours so they can properly help you.

3. seek legal advice.  Contact a personal injury law firm and find out all your options. Always get legal advice prior to making any written or sworn statement to an insurance company.

4. call your insurance company and tell them you were in an accident.  Do not speak to any insurance company other than your own. If you do not have insurance, report the accident to the insurance company of the car that hit you.

5. make a claim. Within 30 days of receiving an application for benefits from your insurance company, you must initiate a claim for benefits, either personally or through a law firm.

6. find out about other coverage you may have.  If you have medical or disability insurance through your employer, make sure you comply with the time lines for making a claim with that insurance company.

7. keep detailed records.  No one has a perfect memory – least of all after a collision. Record the names of the medical/health professionals who treat you, keep all receipts of any expenses related to your accident and make notes of all your health problems following the accident.

car accident claim

Your Case

After an auto accident, we will:

  • Meet with you to understand your life situation, the accident, and your injuries
  • Assist you while you are in the hospital, arranging for parking passes and food vouchers for your family and ensuring a TV and phone are available for the duration of your stay
  • Assist in bringing immediate family to visit you – even from outside Canada
  • Determine which insurance company is responsible for paying your Accident Benefits
  • Complete your Accident Benefits claims forms, explain the process, and follow up with the insurance company to ensure your benefits are paid as expeditiously as possible
  • Open claims for any of your immediate family members who need treatment even though they were not in the accident—this protects your med- rehab limits
  • Obtain police records about the accident and, if necessary, seek out and interview witnesses
  • Put the at-fault party on notice that a lawsuit is likely
  • Request and review as much documentation as necessary to prove your prior earning capacity, dependency relationships, future employment prospects, impairments, and other losses
  • Wait until the extent of your injury is fully understood by medical experts before attempting to settle
  • Obtain expert reports about what happened in the accident and how that has affected you and your life
  • Prepare you for important steps in the case, including examinations for discovery, mediations, and hearings
  • Negotiate a settlement of your case as expeditiously as possible without compromising your recovery; where that is not possible, we will represent you through arbitration or a trial until you recover your compensation

car accident claim

Cultural Perspective

Not only can the personal injury lawyers and staff members at Carranza help overcome the language barrier, we can also assist with any cultural issues that may arise, including:

  • Traditional versus modern medicine and conflicts about medications
  • Informing loved ones of medical issues and facilitating discussions between rehab teams and key decision makers in the family
  • Explaining body language and how its interpretation might affect your care
  • The impact of religion on care, treatment and recovery
  • Cultural stigmas surrounding shame, depression and isolation
  • The importance of nutrition, diet and the use of herbal remedies
  • How brain injuries affect the family, their social status and future possibilities
  • Bridging the gap between a family’s beliefs and the Canadian healthcare system

real examples of cultural issues in a case

At Carranza, we understand how difficult it can be when English is not your first language. Cultural differences can often affect your case. Having the right representation can make a big difference.

views of authority

One of our clients grew up in a country where the police were corrupt and violent. He learned early in life to fear and obey the police without question.

In Canada, he was involved in a car accident. He was issued a traffic ticket at the scene for making an improper turn, even though the other vehicle had run a red light. The officer told him to pay the ticket, and the client obeyed even though he did not believe the accident was his fault.

In the resulting civil action for damages, the insurance lawyer argued that our client’s payment of the ticket meant that our client admitted responsibility for making an improper turn and causing the accident. Since we were aware of our client’s previous experience with police in his home country, we were able to demonstrate his deference to police and were able to settle the claim on the basis that the other driver was 100% at fault.

car accident claim

How we can help

Families are often surprised and overwhelmed by how much an injury can impact their lives and their financial situation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your current situation better and explain your legal entitlements.

At Carranza, our involvement begins the moment we meet you. Through every interaction, we strive to make you feel comfortable, safe and supported to the best of our abilities.

We are so committed to ensuring we consistently meet you and your family’s needs, Carranza has become the only ISO certified personal injury law firm in Canada.

This ISO certification ensures that our firm is held to the highest standard of client service, that we continually improve our communication, our training and our procedures. We did this, because you are the focus of all we do. We did this, because you are important.

At Carranza, our job is more than helping you through litigation; it is also our responsibility to ensure you have the right resources for your rehabilitation. Your medical and rehab teams work hard to help you recover. They will address your physical, emotional, mental and social needs. We will work closely with them, so you and your family do not have to worry about the additional costs of rehab treatments and assistive devices.

Take care of you.

We'll take care of the rest.

car accident claim

Your options for compensation

If you are involved in a vehicle accident there is help available.

You are entitled to:

accident benefits

Whether or not you were at fault for the accident, all Ontario auto insurance policies provide compulsory benefits outlined in the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS).

Your family members and dependents may also be entitled to some benefits even though they were not involved in the accident. Accident Benefits can be claimed no matter what your legal residence status is in this country.

disability insurance

Short-Term or Long-Term disability benefits available from your job or a private policy must be applied for immediately. These benefits are always primary. Your car insurance will only cover what your private disability policy will not cover.

fault-based lawsuits

In addition to the Accident Benefits claim, you may also sue the person or people responsible for the accident.

This type of claim, called a tort claim, seeks compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Economic losses (e.g. present and future income losses)
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • The cost of future medical treatment and care
  • The cost of future attendant care
  • The cost of housekeeping and care giving needs
  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Loss of shared family income
  • Loss of care, guidance and companionship suffered by your immediate family
  • Economic losses of family members incurred due to the accident

Once we have a firm understanding of the particulars of your case, we can provide you with an estimate of what you can expect to recover. We look at every means of compensation available to you. We know how important every dollar recovered is to you and your family.

With significant changes made to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule as of September 1st, 2010, it is imperative that you consult a lawyer to find out what you may be entitled to. For a printable overview of what you may be entitled to, click here.

car accident claim

Time Limits

Insurance companies will generally only pay for any treatment or expense after you apply for the corresponding benefit, so it is important that you apply for all the benefits you will need as soon as possible. Strict time limits apply. We will meet these deadlines for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

Some of the key limits to keep in mind:

7 Days – you must inform the Accident Benefits insurance company of the accident and that you were hurt.

30 Days – you must complete and send the Accident Benefits application within 30 days of it being provided to you by the insurance company. If you take longer, the insurance company can delay your benefits 45 days and may be able to deny you benefits altogether.

120 Days – you need to give written notice of your intention to sue the at-fault parties.

2 Years – to commence a lawsuit against an at-fault driver or your own insurance company if your benefits are denied.

You must provide the insurance company all the information it needs to determine your entitlement. You have 10 business days after it requests such information to provide it, or it can suspend or deny your benefits.

car accident claim

Disclaimer

This website is meant as a general reference for injured persons and their families. The medical and legal information contained in this manual is not intended to offer legal or medical advice. The content of this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the professional judgment of a legal and/or healthcare professional, and you should not rely upon any material or statements made on this website for legal or medical advice. It is not intended to create a solicitor-client relationship.

It is recommended that you review any medical information carefully with your doctor or healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health or recommended medical treatment. While reasonable attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website, our firm cannot make express or implied representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information. Each person's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Please contact an Ontario Personal Injury lawyer for a consultation on your particular personal injury matter.