If you find yourself injured due to a motor vehicle accident, how do you go about getting compensation for your injuries? Brent McQuestion is an associate lawyer at the Morris Law Group is here to provide some answers.
What should you do if you suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident?
Bob Cowan, Host: Well, God forbid but if you find yourself injured due to a motor vehicle accident. How do you go about getting compensation for your injuries? Brent McQuestion is an associate lawyer at Morris lawyers and is here to provide some answers. Thanks for joining us.
Brent McQuestion, The Morris Law Group: Thank you for having me.
B.C.: It is a long road with many steps. The first step, and of course it's not compulsory. But well advised, is to get a lawyer it's always
B.M.: It is always important to consult a lawyer, particularly in Ontario. When a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident that can be a very challenging process through the legal system.
How long does it take to be compensated for injuries from a motor vehicle accident?
B.C.: It’s a case by case, but in a ballpark, in getting to the award stage, how long?
B.M.: Well, I mean each case is specific but on average four to five years. And with respect to being able to pursue compensation for your injuries, a plaintiff has to clearly demonstrate that their injuries pass the threshold.
What is the threshold injury test?
B.C.: Right, that's the threshold injury test. So, there's three components you have to meet one of those three, correct?
B.M.: Right. So, the three criteria, the first is death, that's permanent. The second is the serious, permanent, and disfigurement. The third category is a serious and permanent impairment of an important function. From a psychological, physical, or mental basis.
B.C.: Obviously this requires a lot of documentation.
B.M.: It does, and it requires physician to opine on each element of that test.
B.C.: Before we even get to that stage of the threshold injury test, what steps are required after they speak with you?
B.M.: Well, the important part is to mitigate your damages. So, seek medical treatment, follow reasonable recommendations, and do your best to recover. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't recover and that's where the compensation is important. To return you back to the place or closest that you can be before the accident.
How much insurance coverage is there in a motor vehicle accident?
B.C.: Now there's two components here. There's the insurance coverage, and then there's actually going after the other party. Now with insurance coverage the numbers have dropped significantly as far as coverage.
B.M.: They have, and so what the government has done is taken a lot of the mandatory provisions of insurance policies and move them into the optional side. So, it's important for people to look at their insurance policy and look at their optional benefits in order to close the gap, and so that's with respect to your own insurance company. In terms of the at-fault driver. So, when there's circumstances where you can sue the at-fault driver. With respect to the threshold, in addition to that injury threshold test. So, even if you're successful before a jury, the defendant could ask the judge to determine whether your injuries meet that threshold. Now if you're successful in that regard, then there's a secondary threshold, a monetary threshold. That has gone up significantly. So, in 1990 the threshold was $15,000. This year it's over $126,000. So, if your injuries, if the jury award surpasses $126,000, there's no deductible.
B.C.: Now the deductible has gone up as well, what's that at?
B.M.: The deductible was approximately $38,000, so if a jury comes back and says you know your award should be a $100,000 for pain and suffering damages. Then right off the bat there's a $38,000 reduction from that.
B.C.: Unless it exceeds that a formation threshold. And again, this is a long road to get to and get to that stage. The jury can award the damages. But again, this is subjective. Down to the judge.
B.M.: It is, you know. And the juries are not allowed to know of these thresholds. So, they're making their awards within a vacuum. And then a judge after the fact, looks at the facts and makes its independent determination.
B.C.: Well, again there's lots to navigate through this. And thanks for the primer, but we're going to link up your website as well. And if viewers need more on this, they can go to CHCH.com and we can hook them up with you.
Okay, all right. Brent McQuestion, the Morris Lawyers. Thanks so much.
Automobile accidents are a leading cause of injury and death in Canada. You may be entitled to compensation.Read More >>