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What to do if you are in a motor vehicle accident

Date: Sep 9 2011
Author: Michael Sutherland

Nobody wants to be in a car accident, especially one where you or someone you love is injured. Unfortunately it happens many times a day in British Columbia.

When an accident occurs, many questions arise as to what to do next. You do have an obligation to report the accident to ICBC in order to secure certain medical and wage loss benefits, and to co-operate with the police. It is generally helpful to hire a lawyer early in the process, as we can help you report the accident in the most accurate way possible and prevent statements from being misconstrued later.

It is important to recognize when you are a victim of a car accident, that the adjuster you are dealing with does not represent you, he or she represents the person who is at fault and has injured you. Adjusters are professionals at this, and if you are representing yourself, you are at a disadvantage.

In most cases, the lawyers at Mair Jensen Blair will provide a free consultation and are generally prepared to take on motor vehicle claims on a contingency fee basis. This means our fee is based on a percentage of the award collected, and not until you get paid by the insurance company. As well, Mair Jensen Blair often funds the cost of obtaining medical and other expert reports until the conclusion of the case. This allows you to hire us early in the process, as you no money is required up front.

Once you have hired a lawyer from MJB, it is our responsibility to deal with the insurance company and their representatives. This can include things like obtaining medical reports to document your injuries, and to document what your future will look like after rehabilitation and into the future. To document what medical costs you will have in the future as well as whether or not your ability to earn an income will be affected, or whether you need to be retrained in a different profession. While these expenses can be significant, they are necessary to properly present your claim to obtain the best settlement or judgment possible. Your job is then simplified to getting treated and doing what is needed to get better.

Brain injuries are a current topic in the media and in sports. The lasting and potentially devastating impact that a brain injury can have on an individual and their families has long been known by trial lawyers and the experts that treat people with brain injuries. It is imperative to have the proper investigations and testing done throughout the length of your insurance claim so that the injury, and improvement, if any, is documented and presented in the most thorough manner. You only get one chance to settle your claim or obtain a judgement, and it is vitally important that the proper investigations are undertaken and presented to a court in the most effective manner possible.

Important factors in hiring a lawyer is to make sure they have experience in the area of motor vehicle claims, have the ability to fund the necessary litigation expenses to move the file to its conclusion, and perhaps most importantly, hire a lawyer and a firm that you trust and with whom you have a good rapport. In most cases, a personal injury claim will take somewhere between one to three years to conclude. During that time, most clients open up about their difficulties in recovering from their injuries, physically, emotionally and financially. By necessity you need to have confidence that the lawyer that you hire to represent you can be trusted to listen and represent you in the best manner possible.

Mair Jensen Blair has a team of experienced trial lawyers that can help you get through this difficult time.