There’s no doubt that life-changing injuries cause a car accident victim to rocket into crushing debt if he or she is unable to work and provide for themselves or their family. As Hamilton car accident lawyers, we understand that car accident victims may be left with life long-term physical disabilities which cause disruptions in their quality of life, cause limitations in mobility, interupt the ability to work, cause problems with ADLs and social functioning, psychological complications, medical complications and sleep issues.
It is also common for car accident victims to suffer serious brain injuries whcih cause permanent neural impairment, memory impairment, personality and behavioral changes, impaired social and coping skills, as well as lifestyle consequences such as unemployment, loss of independence and difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships.
Since 2003, our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers have represented victims all over Ontario who have suffered all types of car accident related injuries from catastrophic injury to wrongful death and fatalities. Our only goal is to help you obtain the compensation you and your family deserves to move forward after an accident. To help maximize your compensation, we ensure that insurance companies know that Matt Lalande has tried many cases and will be prepared to take your case to court when and if that is in your best interests. If you’ve suffered life changing injuries in a serious car accident, call us today from anywhere in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton-Toronto area at 905-333-8888. Talking to us is always free.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have only one chance to seek compensation for your car accident injuries. Having the right Hamilton car accident lawyer on your side can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. It will also help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. A Hamilton car accident lawyer will handle every important aspect of your car accident claim, and you will always know the status of your case.
Our goal is simple: to achieve the best possible results for each of our clients in every case we handle and leave nothing to chance. We are practical, reasonable, and respected Hamilton lawyers. Our Hamilton personal injury lawyers know when to settle a case, close a case, or take a case to trial. We recognize the challenges our clients face and are here to provide not only support and guidance, but assertive legal representation throughout the entire process.
Our Hamilton car accident lawyers understand that serious car accident injuries can cause potential devastating impacts including far-reaching physical, social and psychological consequences. Often times, seriously injured victims require an immense amount of rehabilitation in order to property reintegrate into the community and adjustment to a very different lifestyle with the re-establishment of satisfying work and interpersonal relationships. Also, we understand that the emotional recovery from a serious car accident is dependent on proper rehabilitation and structure in one’s life – rehabilitation which is often brutally expensive.
If you have been seriously injured, there is no doubt that life can suddenly become tragic and difficult. Personal injuries may prevent you from going to work, enjoying your life, sleeping, spending time with your loved ones, exercising, and living your life with the comfort and enjoyment you are used to. You also may be overwhelmed and suffering from emotional, physical, and financial burdens.
We also understand that you will have lots of unanswered questions. Who will pay the bills and the additional costs of rehabilitation? Who will help at home if you are unable to take care of yourself? What if you can’t work and earn an income to pay your mortgage? What if you have to borrow money from your line of credit or credit cards to buy groceries? Who will take care of your loved ones?
Matt Lalande has obtained favorable results for hundreds of car injury victims and their families in Hamilton and throughout Ontario, including victims who have suffered major orthopedic injuries and broken bones, rotator cuff injuries, spinal injuries, chronic pain injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and injuries that cause full or partial paralysis. Since 2003, Matt Lalande has represented hundreds of victims and recovered millions of dollars for those injured in various types of car accidents, including the following types:
Understandably clients involved in very serious life-changing car accidents are often concerned with who was at fault. It’s important to understand that the concept of “fault” in car accident cases differs between regulatory provincial offenses or criminal offenses.
When a driver causes an accident, that driver can be charged with a provincial offense such as speeding, careless driving, disobeying traffic signs etc. That person will be charged contrary to the Highway Traffic Act and be required to appear in Provincial Offenses Court to defend themselves. The Provincial Offenses Court hears cases involving the Highway Traffic Act offences, and are considered quasi-criminal proceedings. There are also driving offenses that fall under the Criminal Code of Canada that result in, if convicted, much more severe consequences and penalties. Some examples of driving offenses that fall under the criminal code are dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, street racing, operation of a vehicle impaired, impaired driving causing bodily harm or impaired driving causing death.
If you start a lawsuit against the at-fault driver that caused your serious injuries and losses in a car accident, then would not be proceeding in criminal court, but rather in civil court. Your case would be framed within the concept of negligence – meaning you (your car accident lawyers) would have the onus of proving that the at fault driver’s negligence caused your accident. In Canada, someone who commits a careless act that creates harm to another person is considered “negligent.” Negligence is not intentional, not planned and creates some type of injury.
It is when somebody – such as a motorist – is careless and behaved in a thoughtless manner which causes harm or injury to another driver on the road. In other words, our law requires motorists in Ontario to use reasonable care to avoid harming any other motorists or pedestrian on the road. In determining whether or not a motorist was sufficiently or reasonably careful, we would ask the question “would a reasonable prudent person act the same way, in the same circumstances?” Examples of drivers failing to use reasonable care to avoid harming other motorists could be – driving at an unreasonable speed, not paying attention, being distracted, being impaired, failing to maintain control of their car, feeling to maintain and using the car’s equipment, failing to upkeep the proper maintenance of the automobile etc.
You would, through your personal injury lawyer, establish the grounds for legal liability in a car accident and prove that the driver that hit you was at fault on a balance of probabilities – meaning that considering the evidence, was the occurrence of the event “more likely than not.”
If you have been involved in a serious car accident in Ontario, you have only one chance to seek compensation for your injuries. Having the right Hamilton personal injury lawyer on your side can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. It can also ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our dedication to personal service and answering all your questions will give you peace of mind. We strive to achieve the best possible results for our clients. We are practical, reasonable, and respected in our field. We know when to settle a case, or take a case to a jury for decision.
It’s not often that you need a lawyer in your life. Our Hamilton car accident lawyers understand that seeking legal help can be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to how much it will cost. Even if you are confident you will obtain a settlement or good verdict, you may fear that hiring a Hamilton personal injury lawyer will cost too much.
The first step is booking a free consultation. You don’t pay us to talk to us. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will never ask personal injury victims for money up front. If somebody is seriously hurt or killed because of someone else’s negligence, the last thing the family needs is a legal bill. There are no up-front legal fees for you to pay to get your case started. Your legal fees are paid upon the successful conclusion of your case.
If you have been seriously hurt in a car accident, it’s important that you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Hamilton sooner rather than later, especially before you speak with an insurance company.
We often explain to our new clients that retaining our personal injury law firm early can assist with your discharge from the hospital, especially if you suffered orthopedic trauma or underwent surgery. We can also help you hire the proper occupational therapist to measure your functional ability; obtain a true reflection of your home environment and your ability to function in that environment; and have the proper attendant care put in place.
If you wait too long to hire an experienced Hamilton car accident lawyer, insurance companies will hire their own occupational therapists and, more likely than not, provide you with only the minimum requirements to fit your needs.
It’s better to have a patient-retained occupational therapist to assist with your pre and post-discharge assessments, make recommendations regarding fall prevention, assess the ability to transfer you, and review your ability for self-care. If you do not have family members helping you after your accident, your occupational therapist and lawyer can make recommendations for your safety and ensure that the insurers pay for the implementation of these recommendations.
Driving with the greatest possible car and adhering to the rules of the road is no doubt the best way to avoid a car accident. However, a traffic accident is often times an unforeseeable circumstance and sadly, there are many fatal casualties as a result of traffic accidents, and also some people who suffer lifelong injuries, such as:
Wrongful Death – Although there are yearly improvements in car safety, fatal car accidents still occur regularly in Ontario. All too often victims of fatal car accidents lose their lives because motorists were speeding and/or driving recklessly, driving under the influence and more importantly driving while distracted. Distracted driving has become the number one cause of car accident related death not only in Ontario, but throughout North America. Texting, talking with passengers, eating or drinking, fixing makeup etc. can easily cause a driver to take their mind off of the road. Other wrongful death car accidents are caused by improperly changing lanes and failure to obey traffic signs.
Spinal Cord Injury – Spinal cord injuries make up a minority of traumatic victims and car accidents, however when they do happen, the consequences are devastating and disabling, and have a very serious impact on a person’s entire life. In both Canada and the US, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents in motorcycle accidents, accounting from his half the new spinal cord injuries that occur each and every year.
Fractures and Broken Bones – Common fractures which occur in car accidents that we see, are fractures of the humerus, femur, tibia, patella, spinal cord and fractures of the hips. Car accident fractures often lead to victims requiring surgery and hardware to repair and/or reposition the broken bones. Often times, fractures that require surgical intervention in the joints areas often develop posttraumatic osteoarthritis which is the wearing out of joint surface cartilage due to physical injury to the joint. Post-traumatic arthritis normally progresses as time goes on, as the joint surface wears out further with more use over the years. This, mixed with the metal hardware or titanium plates in the joints, can cause extremely serious medical problems and long-term complications for individuals.
Brain Injuries – Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in Ontario. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries often have a wide range of both psychological and physical issues which can appear immediately after the accident or appear weeks, if not months later. Our firm deals with serious life-changing brain injuries such as diffuse axonal brain injuries (when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull, causing axonal damage) and midline brain shifts (which happen when pressure caused by the buildup of blood and swelling around the brain pushes the brain off centre). Sadly, many brain injury victims experience very serious cognitive deficits such as memory problems, the inability to understand, decreased awareness of self and others, motor deficits, perceptual deficits, sensory deficits as well as communication and language problems.
Psychological and/or Mental Health Disorders – In our practice, it’s fair to say that most victims involved in serious car accidents go on to develop serious psychological and/or mental health disorders. Many seriously hurt victims, as well as their families often end up suffering from issues such as depression, anxiety, irritability, frustration issues, PTSD, distress with musculoskeletal issues, self-esteem issues etc. Very severe injuries that occur in car accidents (catastrophic injuries) such as a severe traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns to the body, blindness etc. are traumatizing and debilitating for the accident victim then normally lead to extensive psychopathology and psychological distress. Many of our clients and up suffering from troubling and disturbing symptoms associated with elevated anxiety and major depression.
Most of our clients ask us this question – and we will try to answer it as extensively as possible here. Unfortunately, putting an exact dollar amount on your case is a very difficult thing to do, mostly because every case is different. It’s simply not possible to accurately estimate or determine what each case is worth until we are approaching resolution or trial. There is no formula or magic chart to determine a range of compensation.
What we can tell you is that our Hamilton car accident lawyers are dedicated to obtaining the maximum compensation for you and your family. We never recommend resolving a case without full investigation, without our clients recovering to their full possible potential, or without obtaining proper medical opinions from experts to provide an opinion on how your injuries will affect your future.
While insurance companies are dedicated to minimizing your compensation, an experienced Hamilton car accident lawyer from Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers will present your case in a professional and persuasive way. In a free consultation, we will explain this process to you in detail so you understand how it works.
Factors that will no doubt be important in determining your entitlement to compensation are the severity of your injury, your medical treatment, the permanency of your injury or disfigurement, the amount of your lost wages, and, more importantly, how much insurance is available under policy limits. Equally important is the reputation of the insurance company defending your case. While all insurance companies are more than happy to withdraw monthly premiums from the bank accounts of their policyholders, several insurance companies have a reputation for being determined to pay out as little as possible.
Below are some car accident questions that we are commonly asked:
Police in Ontario have recently reported that distracted driving is causing more collisions than speeding and impaired driving combined. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that they have made roughly 15,000 to 20,000 distracted driving charges on OPP-patrolled roads every year from 2011 through 2016.
Unfortunately, many people inaccurately think distracted driving is only talking or texting. Distracted driving is being focused on anything that diverts your attention from the road. Activities like using a GPS device, putting on makeup, fiddling with a radio, shaving, using a smartphone, eating, drinking, watching a video, and texting can take your attention away from the road and cause a crash.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a group that educates Americans about the dangers of distracted driving, shows that texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a single text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At ninety kilometers per hour, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
There is no doubt that distracted driving accidents can cause a variety of devastating injuries. If you have become the victim of someone else’s failure to focus on the road, we can help you recover the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Book a free consultation to tell us about your case and learn more about your options.
Matt Lalande is a Hamilton car accident lawyer with extensive experience representing victims who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries, as well as families who have lost loved ones in car crashes. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our Hamilton car accident lawyers would be happy to explain your rights to you – at no cost and without obligation. Our firm will go over the details of your crash, determine your options, hire the appropriate occupational therapists, help with the discharge plan to bring you home, and make sure your insurer is paying your medical bills and attendant care benefits. We are here to protect you and your family every step of the way.
You will find that the legal team understands your worries and is easy to talk to. Please complete the contact form below or give us a call from anywhere in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Hamilton-Toronto area at 905-333-8888 and let our family help yours today.
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Absolutely. Ontario is not a victim friendly Province and the insurance system is an extremely convoluted and complex system. In addition, if you’ve suffered life-changing injuries, you are entiteld to significant funding from the insurance company. A car accident lawyer can ensure that all insurance funding is in place and occupational therapists are retained to help with your discharge planning. It’s important that all your medical needs are met and paid for on an ongoing basis – and a car accident specialist can assist with all of this.
In Ontario, anyone injured in a car accident are entiteld to apply for accident benefits, which are benefits that are provided to persons who become injured as a result of the use or operation of a motor vehicle. You can be entitled to receive up to $3500.00, $65,000.00 or $1,000,000 in accident benefits, depending on your level of injury. The benefits are to help pay for your care, rehabiliation, replaces lost wages and help reintegrate you back into society. Under certain circumstances, you will be entitled to sue the negligent driver as well, for compensation for your pain, suffering, wage losses and anything else you require to assist you into the future.
Accident benefits are part of Ontario’s no fault insurance scheme. If you have been hurt in an accident – whether it’s your fault or not, you may be entitled to receive accident benefits to assist with your recovery. The amount of benefits you are entitled to will depend on the severity of your injuries that you have sustained in the accident.
An insurer is not required to pay an income replacement benefit, a non-earner benefit, benefits for lost educaiton or visitors expenses in respect of a person who was the driver of an automobile at the time of the accident (i) if the driver knew or ought reasonably to have known that he or she was operating the automobile while it was not insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, (ii) if the driver was driving the automobile without a valid driver’s licence, (iii) if the driver is an excluded driver under the contract of automobile insurance, or (iv) if the driver knew or ought reasonably to have known that he or she was operating the automobile without the owner’s consent. In addition, if a person was engaged in an act for which the person is convicted of a criminal offence, or was an occupant of an automobile that was being used in connection with an act for which the person is convicted of a criminal offence – accident benefit coverage may not be available.
You are entitled to sue for such things as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities, past wage loss, future wage loss, the loss fo housekeeping capacity or the inability to care for your home, as well as future costs of care that would not be covered by OHIP or your accident benefits carrier.
If you’ve suffered serious injuries you need hire a car accident lawyer right away. Remember insurance company adjusters will begin investigating the accident and evaluating your injury claim right away. It’s vital that you hire representation to protect your self. Also, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer early on will ensure that you hire your own occupational therapy team without the insurance company appointing one first, who will only serve in it’s best interest. An experienced car accident lawyer can also make sure that all insurance funding is in place to pay for anything you need and help you get dischgarged and back home safely.
It depends – it’s vital that you speak to a car accident lawyer to learn your rights. Sadly, the Province of Ontario and the insurance companies have made it notoriously difficult to sue a driver that has ruined another person’s life. Fault determination must be investigated and you must have suffered a certain level of injury before being entitled to sue a negligent driver. Speak to one of our Hamilton car accident lawyers as soon as you can to learn about your rights.
In Ontario, if you are awarded compensation or you settle your case, it is NOT the defendant that pays this money. It is that driver’s insurance company that will pay your settlement or Court award.
You have two years from the date of your accident to sue a negligent driver for compensation. After two years, you lose your entire rights to file suit and collect daamges.
The answer is, we don’t know. If you suffered serious injuries that were life changing and the accident was not your fault, then there is a good chance that our lawyers and the insurance company can work out a resolution and save both sides hundreds of thousands of dollars in Court fees. We normally tell clients that if the accident is partially your fault, your injuries turn our to be not life changing, there is a plethora of evidence that is inconsistent with what your are saying or there are credibility issues that the insurance company has issues with – then your case can in fact go to trial and the onus is on you to prove your losses.
Absolutely, our consultations for car accident cases are always free and if we decide to work together, we will never, under any circumstances, as you for money upfront.
Firstly – were you an occupant in a vehicle that was involvd in a car accident? If so, then:
i. you have recourse against the insurer of an automobile in respect of which you are an insured;
ii. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i, you have recourse recourse against the insurer of the automobile in which he or she was an occupant;
iii. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i or ii, you have recourse against the insurer of any other automobile involved in the incident from which the entitlement to statutory accident benefits arose;
iv. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i, ii or iii, you have recourse against the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
If you were not an occupant (a pedestrian or cyclist) if so, then:
i. you have recourse recourse against the insurer of an automobile in respect of which the you are an insured,
ii. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i, you have recourse against the insurer of the automobile that struck the you;
iii. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i or ii, you have recourse against the insurer of any automobile involved in the incident from which the entitlement to statutory accident benefits arose,
iv. if recovery is unavailable under subparagraph i, ii or iii, you have recourse against the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
Income replacement benefits (IRBs), as set out in sections 4 to 11 of the SABS, compensate accident victims for their loss of income from employment or self-employment, so long as the applicant meets the necessary requirements. The SABS puts tight limits on the amount of income that can be recovered under the SABS, and many applicants will find that the income replacement benefits they receive do not adequately compensate them. Many will have to look to the tort claim to recover additional pecuniary damages.
Starting one week after the accident, IRBs compensate an insured person for 70% of gross income up to a weekly maximum of $400.
A claimant cannot receive IRBs if one has elected to receive either non-earner or caregiver benefits.
The non-earner benefit, covered in section 12 of the SABS, is unique among the benefits available under the SABS. Unlike the other benefits, which aim to compensate claimants for specific financial losses or expenses, the non-earner benefit compensates for daily loss of life functions. It is similar in nature to non-pecuniary damages and general damages in the tort claim. Given its strict requirements, it is one of the toughest accident benefits to qualify for under the SABS. In particular, it is difficult to qualify for applicants with soft-tissue injuries or psychological impairment. Claimants must suffer from a complete inability to perform their daily activities in order to qualify.
Non-earner benefits pay a base rate of $185 per week for the qualifying period. Prior to June 1, 2016, some claimants, such as students, could potentially qualify for higher amounts. These higher amounts are not available for accidents after June 1, 2016.
Caregiver benefits, as set out in section 13 of the SABS, are only available to catastrophically impaired claimants who were also the primary caregiver of one or more dependants at the time of the accident. Non-catastrophically injured claimants who purchased optional benefits may also qualify.
Caregiver benefits pay eligible claimants $250 for the first person in need of care per week, and $50 per week for each additional person in need of care. They last up to 104 weeks after the accident unless claimants can show that they suffer from a complete inability to carry on a normal life.
Medical and rehabilitation benefits, covered under sections 14 to 20 of the SABS, are the most common of all the benefits available to motor vehicle accident victims under Ontario’s no-fault accident benefits regime. Medical and rehabilitation benefits provide you with the modalities needed to restore your health and return to work and society.
Maybe – if the defendant has not been convicted criminally with an imposed sentence. In some cases, Courts may be reluctant to award punitive damages if a Defendant has already been dealt with by the criminal courts. If a Defendant has been convicted of a criminal offence such as impaired driving causing bodily harm and that a custodial sentence has been imposed with a period of driving prohibition, some Courts have taken the position that it would be inappropriate for a civil court to go behind the determination of the criminal court and substitute its own finding as to whether that sentence appropriately met the objectives of retribution, deterrence and denunciation.