You have been hurt by someone else’s fault or negligence. You are in pain. You’re struggling to work and deal with the responsibilities of your daily life. It’s an overwhelming time, made worse by the thought of trying to figure out the complicated personal injury claims process so you can receive financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you have been injured and are unsure what to do next, this article is for you. It is an overview of the first steps you’ll need to take to start the personal injury claims process.
Seek medical attention
The first step is to get medical attention. Whether its the hospital, a walk-in clinic, or your doctor's office, go right away after the accident so that your injuries can be diagnosed and properly treated. After that, continue to see your doctor, report your symptoms, and follow treatment recommendations.
Obtaining proper medical care is critical for two reasons: first, it puts you on the best path toward recovery; and second, it creates a record of your injuries and how they are affecting you. The medical records created will provide support for your personal injury claim.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer
Oshawa and Lindsay lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce strongly recommend that you speak to a lawyer before starting a personal injury claim, whether your injuries seem serious or not. You need to know your legal rights and the viability of your case so you can make fully informed decisions about how to move forward.
A personal injury lawyer can also provide you with an estimate of your claim’s value.
That will help you decide if a personal injury claim is worth pursuing, and it will be extremely helpful when it comes to negotiating settlement of your claim. Understanding your claim’s worth puts you in a strong position to evaluate any settlement offers from the insurance company.
Many lawyers—including the personal injury lawyers at our Oshawa law firm—offer a free, no-obligation consultation to assess your case. We welcome you to contact us to set up your free case evaluation today.
Identify the notice requirements and limitation periods
Notice requirements and limitation periods can make or break your claim. Failing to take the required steps within the appropriate timelines could leave you without legal remedy.
There are time limits for filing a lawsuit relating to a personal injury claim, set out in Ontario’s Limitations Act, 2002. The basic limitation period to pursue most claims is two years from the date of loss or injury. Other limitation periods may apply to other specific situations. For instance, some insurance contracts may contain a clause that substantially shortens the limitation period.
In some circumstances, there may also be notice provisions you must adhere to before you can bring a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if you slip and fall on a municipal sidewalk, you only have 10 days from the date of the slip and fall to give notice to the municipality as required by Ontario’s Municipal Act.
These strict timelines are another important reason to seek legal advice early. Speaking with our Oshawa personal injury lawyers early on does not mean you must start a claim immediately. Instead, it arms you with the knowledge of applicable timelines so you can consider your rights and know how long you have to decide whether to bring a personal injury claim.
Notify the at-fault party
The person or company that caused your injuries must be notified that you were hurt and that you are considering starting a lawsuit against them. This is called a “notice letter” in the personal injury law context. If you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will prepare and send this letter on your behalf.
The notice letter should identify you as the injured person, set out when and how you were injured, and inform the at-fault party that you intend to seek damages from them.
In the majority of cases, the at-fault party gives the notice letter to their insurance company who will then respond to your claim on the wrongdoer’s behalf.
Gather evidence to support your claim
People are often anxious about pursuing claims for compensation following an injury because they are fearful of court. The reality is that most personal injury cases resolve without the need for a trial.
That being said, the best course of action is to prepare from the outset as if your case is going to trial. It’s important to gather and review as much evidence as possible, as early as possible. The more evidence you have, the stronger your claim will be. Critical evidence typically includes photos, videos, and measurements of the accident scene; photos of your injuries; police reports; eyewitness statements; and medical records.
Memories fade over time. You should write down everything you remember about the accident as soon as possible. You should also keep notes or a journal detailing the progression of your injuries, symptoms, and limitations over time.
If you choose to retain us, our skilled personal injury lawyers will act quickly to gather and preserve evidence, and where necessary, hire a private investigator or accident reconstructionist/engineer to prove the liability aspect of your personal injury claim. We can also arrange medical examinations and obtain reports from medical specialists to support the nature and extent of the injuries you suffered.
Reach out to a trusted personal injury lawyer in Oshawa
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s fault or negligence, the personal injury lawyers at Kelly Greenway Bruce are here to guide you through the complicated personal injury claims process. We understand that recovering from personal injury is fraught with physical, emotional, and financial challenges. That’s why our lawyers are committed to providing personalized support to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
We can explain your rights, help you determine the options available to you, and ensure you don’t miss limitation periods or notice requirements. Reach out to Kelly Greenway Bruce today for a free consultation and let our staff use their expertise to ensure you obtain your best possible recovery.