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    7 Quick Questions about Canadian Personal Injury Law

    A personal injury caused by the negligence of another person or entity can disrupt the personal and professional life of an individual as well as their family members, which is why Canada has comprehensive laws in place to make negligent persons accountable for their actions that resulted in physical or psychological distress to another person.

    The following information will give you a quick heads up on Canadian personal injury law, the branch of Canadian law that covers personal injury claims and lawsuits.

    7 Quick Questions about Canadian Personal Injury Law

    What types of injuries are covered under the personal injury law?

    Canadian personal injury law covers physical as well as psychological injuries, including
    Injuries sustained in road accidents
    Public liability
    Negligence by schools
    Occupier’s liability
    Injuries sustained when using public transport or recreation
    Product liability
    Grievous, life-altering injuries resulting in permanent disability

    Fighting personal injury claims can be complex as many factors come into play when negotiating a fair compensation with an insurance company. Occupier’s liability claims, for instance, are subject to certain conditions. Dairn Shane at PreszlerLawBC.com explains that if a person willingly assumes a risk when entering an occupier's property, the occupier owes them a lower standard of care.

    What is a tort claim?

    The word tort, with its origins in Latin, simply means “wrong.” In legal terms, tort claims enable an injured individual to claim compensation from the person or entity responsible for the injury.

    Tort law makes it possible for injury victims to obtain damages for their physical and psychological suffering and acts as a deterrent to such harms. Under tort claims, the injured person can claim damages for medical treatment, lost wages, loss of future income, physical pain, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, disability, loss of companionship and any out-of-pocket expenses, such as hiring someone to help with chores.

    Can I file a tort claim if I was injured in a road accident?

    Yes, you can, if you meet certain requirements. You can file a tort claim only if you were not at fault, if you suffered a permanent impairment or disfigurement, and if your injuries are over the legal deductible of CAD 30,000.

    What is a toxic tort?

    A toxic tort is a wrong that occurs as a result of exposure to a toxic or dangerous substance such as asbestos, lead, pesticides, industrial chemicals, arsenic, heavy metals or electro-magnetic field.

    What is professional negligence?

    Canadian personal injury law also covers injuries caused by professional malpractice or negligence on the part of professionals such as doctors and other healthcare professionals, lawyers, accountants, engineers and architects.

    Aside from individuals, an organization, business or facility may also be sued under tort law if they committed an act of negligence or malpractice that resulted in personal injury or loss.

    What is the difference between a personal injury claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

    You can claim monetary compensation for your personal injuries and other losses either by filing a claim for settlement or by filing a lawsuit.

    The greatest difference between the two is that a claim is filed with your (or third-party) insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement. You do not deal directly with the at-fault party in this case, as they are represented by their insurer. A lawsuit involves suing the party at fault to claim compensation through the court of law. A majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court and don’t lead to a lawsuit, unless the insurance company denies liability or doesn’t offer a fair settlement.

    Why should I consult a lawyer for a small claim?

    A personal injury lawyer can help you get maximum compensation for your loss. The insurance company will have an attorney to safeguard its interests and find ways to undermine your claim. Having a seasoned personal injury lawyer by your side will send a clear message to the insurance company and ensure that they cannot take advantage of your limited knowledge of legal procedures and loopholes.

    Consult a lawyer even if your claim is too small—lawyers generally don’t charge a fee for the first 30-minute consultation. Meet a lawyer for expert opinion on the value of your claim and how to negotiate a fair settlement on your own. 

    If you believe you should have access to legal counsel throughout the process, hire a lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will bill you only if they win your case.  As part of the contingency fee agreement, they will take a percentage of the amount you receive.

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