According to Transport Canada, there were just over 165,000 people injured in motor vehicle collisions in 2013. In Vancouver, like any other major city, car accidents are an unfortunate reality of life that occur on a daily basis. When people are injured in car accidents, it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected. In many cases, people who retain legal counsel obtain much higher settlement offers or awards than people who choose to represent themselves. When you retain the car accident lawyers at McLarty Wolf, we will represent you in any communications with the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC), investigate your claim, connect you with medical service providers and obtain no-fault benefits (Part 7 benefits) to help you recover and obtain replacement services during your recovery for such things homemaking and childcare, and initiate a legal action on your behalf, should it become necessary.
Vancouver Auto Accidents Can Be The Result Of Many Forms Of Negligence
Victims of car accidents are entitled to financial recovery for their losses when their accident was the result of another’s negligence. There are myriad forms of negligence that could lead to a car accident, including the following:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Failure to properly maintain a vehicle
- Improper road maintenance
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop
- Failure to observe traffic signals
- Defective vehicle design or manufacture
- Driver error
- Failure to signal a turn or lane change
In many cases, the fact that an accident was caused by someone else’s negligence may not be clear to the untrained eye. As a result, anyone who has been hurt in a car accident should have the circumstances of their case reviewed by an experienced lawyer.
What to Do After a Car Accident
When you are suddenly in a car accident, you may be stunned, in shock about what just happened, and unsure about what to do next. The following are some steps to take if you are conscious and not on your way to the hospital in an ambulance.
- Stay put. Do not leave the scene of the accident.
- Make sure you are in a safe spot. If not, and you can move your car to a safe place, do so.
- Put on your emergency blinkers.
- Check on passengers and other drivers if you can safely get out of your car. Provide emergency care to those who need it, but unless there is a risk of fire, do not move an individual who may be unconscious or who is in pain.
- Call 911. The operator will ask you if anyone is hurt.
- When the police arrive, get the name and badge number of the responding officer or officers. Report matter-of-factly what happened without admitting fault even if you think you did something wrong.
- Exchange insurance information with the other involved driver or drivers. Get the driver’s license number of each involved driver.
- Note the make, model and license plate number of all involved vehicles.
- If possible, take pictures of the damages to all vehicles and any photos of the scene that may seem relevant, such as overgrown trees, branches jutting into the roadway, potholes, etc.
- Obtain witness statements.
- Contact a lawyer and then report your accident to ICBC.
Types of Compensation
In any personal injury case, an individual whose suffered any injuries or any kind of loss such as property damage may seek compensation from whoever contributed to the individual’s injuries and losses. These kinds of compensation are legally termed as “damages.”
Some types of damages are as follows:
This form of damages seeks to compensate any monetary expenses incurred due to the loss or injury. There are no limits to the types of special damage claims that can be made, or to the amount an injured party can claim. Some common forms of special damages are:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical expenses such as chiropractor, acupuncture, massage therapy expenses
- Cost of future medical care
- Household expenses, and
- The cost associated with canceled trips or altered plans.
This is a form of compensatory damage that compensates an injured individual for non-monetary damages incurred. Common types of general damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
Pain and suffering focus on the actual pain and discomfort the injured party suffers as a result of the injury. This includes anguish from dealing with the accident itself as well as the pain from the injuries.
Punitive damages are awarded to an injured plaintiff and are awarded not to compensate the injured victim for their losses, but for the egregious and reprehensible conduct of the injuring party. The general objective of punitive damages is to punish (in the sense of retribution) and deter wrongdoers. Common scenarios where the court awards punitive damages to the injured victim are in situations where the injuring party acted fraudulently or maliciously.
BC Motor Vehicle Accidents Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be able to recover compensation for losses?
Whether you will be able to recover for your losses depends on the nature of your losses and whether you were at fault for your accident. Even in cases where a driver is wholly at fault for an accident, he or she may be able to claim medical and rehabilitative benefits from the ICBC. On the other hand, in cases where a car accident is caused by someone else’s negligence, you can claim damages such as property damage, lost wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and loss of future earning capacity.
Do you need a lawyer in order to recover?
There is no rule requiring people who are hurt in accidents to retain a lawyer in order to file a claim with the ICBC. It is important to keep in mind, however, that ICBC employees work for the company and are trained to minimize the amount that they pay out. For this reason, people who are represented by a lawyer often obtain significantly more compensation that those who choose to represent themselves.
Deadly Car Accidents: Head-on Collision
One of the most deadly types of car accidents is the head-on collision when the fronts of two vehicles collide directly into one another. These accidents often occur when one driver crosses into oncoming traffic, and head-on collisions often result in catastrophic, if not fatal, injuries.
Who is Responsible After a Head-on Collision in Vancouver?
The examples stated above are only some examples of negligent acts that may lead to a head-on collision. In some situations, the negligence that caused the accident will be very obvious, such as a driver who is clearly intoxicated driving the wrong way. In other instances, a thorough investigation may be required to determine the appropriate negligent party and to establish their fault.
For example, if you hit a pothole and your tire blew out, sending you into oncoming traffic, you may immediately look to the government for negligent maintenance of the roads. However, if the tire manufacturer sold a tire that was made from inadequate materials and, therefore, could not withstand the pothole, the manufacturer may also be held partially responsible for the accident. A lawyer with experience handling this type of case will know how to identify all possible negligent parties so that you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve for your losses.
Contact Vancouver Car Accident Lawyers McLarty Wolf Today
Car accidents that are caused by the carelessness, negligence, or recklessness of others can result in significant injuries. People who are hurt in car accidents often incur significant medical expenses, lost income from being unable to work, experience substantial pain and suffering, and have severely damaged vehicles. Thankfully for victims, British Columbia tort law generally allows people who are injured by the negligence of others to recover financial compensation for these and other losses. To discuss your case with one of our lawyers, please call our office at 604-688-9542 or fill out our online contact form.