Guide to Winning a Car Accident Case
Winning a motor vehicle accident case can be a lengthy and difficult process. However, each year many Nova Scotians settle small, uncomplicated car accident claims on their own. That’s right—despite law firm sponsored ads that suggest compensation will not be paid unless a lawyer is on your side, you can actually do just fine in many cases without a lawyer. If you plan on handling your own case or are unsure on what step to take next, “The Must-Read Guide to Nova Scotia Car Accident Claims” offers tips and tools for you to use on your case. The book is written by Jeff T. Mitchell; a personal injury lawyer, and can be ordered for free by clicking here.
The Must-Read Guide to Nova Scotia Car Accident Claims is a guide for claimants who do not need the full assistance of a lawyer for their injury claim. This post will briefly summarize the books most important factors in helping you win your case. However, do keep in mind that you can always hire a lawyer at any stage in your claim to assist you until you have signed the final release.
After reading The Must-Read Guide to Nova Scotia Car Accident Claims you should be able to answer the following important questions:
- Is my claim a viable self-settlement claim?
- Is my claim past its deadline?
- What are the different components of car insurance?
- How to open an accident benefits claim?
- How do I negotiate a fair settlement?
- And many more!
When Should You Try to Settle Without a Lawyer?
The following claims may present an excellent opportunity for lawyer-less settlement:
- The property damage (i.e. generally physical damage to the vehicle) is minor.
- You did not need immediate medical care.
- You were discharged from care by your treatment provider and you agree that no further treatment is needed for the accident-related injuries.
- You missed no more than 1 week of work.
Situations like those highlighted above will be seen in hundreds of accidents across Nova Scotia on a yearly basis. However, each claim is different and if you ever run in to difficulties it is always recommended to seek help from a lawyer.
Deadlines For Taking Action on Your Car Accident Claim
In Nova Scotia, recent updates to the law have tightened timelines for claims. Generally, a two-year limitation period applies to most claims, often beginning from the date of the accident. If the clock runs over the 2-year mark, you risk losing your right to make a claim for compensation. If you are in a situation where the at-fault driver in unknown, the process is different, and you must file your claim within one year.
What happens if I am in an accident and the at fault driver is uninsured? See this post.
Main Sections of a Car Insurance Policy
Before you can move on to opening your claim it is important to understand the basic components of car insurance. The standard automobile policy has six sections, the first three are summarized as follows:
Section A: Third Party Liability
The insurer agrees to pay a claim for injury or death, or property damage caused by the insured, or someone who drove with permission from the insured.
Section B: Mandatory Accident Benefits
The insurer agrees to provide medical, rehabilitation, funeral, and income benefits to a person insured under the policy, regardless of fault.
Section C: Loss or Damage to an Insured Automobile
This section covers costs that an insurance company will pay for the damages to your vehicle. Most people are encouraged to purchase some type of coverage (often referred to as All Perils, Collision or Upset, Comprehensive, or Specified Perils) for an extra premium. See: “The Must-Read Guide to Nova Scotia Car Accident Claims” for more info on the remaining car insurance sections.
Opening An Accidents Benefits Claim
Now that you understand the basics of car insurance, we can move into a discussion on how to open your accident benefits claim. This is usually done in 3 steps:
Step #1: Get Treatment
Your health must always be top priority. Further, it is challenging for you, or an injury lawyer, to advance your claim if you are resistant to seeking assistance from medical professionals.
Step #2: Complete Notice of Loss & Proof of Claim Form
The insurance companies require a form before your access to the accident benefit piggy bank can be unlocked. This form, referred to as Form NS-1, has two sections, both of which can be completed on your own.
Step #3: Your Completed Treatment Form is Submitted
Once you have completed the NS-1, the next step is to have the NS-2 Form completed by a primary healthcare practitioner (i.e. physician, chiropractor, or physiotherapist).
See: The Must-Read Guide to Nova Scotia Car Accident Claims for a more in-depth walkthrough of the above three steps.
The settlement stage represents the resolution of a claim between two parties. A settlement is a consensual agreement to surrender a right to sue or pursue a future claim arising from the accident in exchange for compensation. Once a settlement agreement is accepted, a release is generally sent to the claimant for signature. A release is a legal document to be signed by the claimant which waives any and all of her/her right to sue at any time for any damages or loss arising from the accident at issue.
In 2010, the damages recoverable for non-monetary losses for all minor injuries was capped at $2,500. As of 2019, the cap has been increased with indexing to $8,768. Settlement should only be attempted when you have a clear picture of your injuries. Why? If you settle your injury claim before your injuries are known, or before key investigations have occurred, you may have made a bad deal! A premature settlement may leave you with medical bills and financial losses from injuries that were not initially diagnosed, or that had a detailed onset.
If settlement talks break down and a lawsuit is the answer, it is always recommended that you seek help from a lawyer.
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you have questions about a car accident claim you are wise to seek out the opinion of an experienced lawyer who practices in the are.
Jeff Mitchell is the Principal Lawyer and Founder of NOVA injury Law. Jeff has dedicated his practice to the area of personal injury, accident, and disability benefits law. He founded NOVA Injury Law to help injury victims after an injury, be it a car accident, slip and fall, or any other kind of serious injury.
Jeff offers a free consultation for car accident personal injury claims as well as many other types of personal injury claims. He offers competitive contingency fee agreements and covers the costs of running your claim without interest.