Motor Vehicle Accidents

Get help for anybody that may be injured. Do not move anybody unless his or her life depends on it. Keep the injured warm.

Call emergency services if someone is injured or there if there is damage to any vehicle (over $1,000)

Turn on your hazard lights and warn oncoming traffic of the accident.

Stay at the scene until emergency services arrive (ambulance, police, fire) and cooperate with them after their arrival.

Gather as much information about the other driver as you can. Obtain the driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, insurance company name, and insurance policy expiration date. It is also important to obtain information about the vehicles involved (make, model, and licence plate numbers).

Seek medical attention as soon as possible and inform your family physician of your injuries.

BEFORE YOU CALL ANY INSURANCE COMPANY, call a lawyer to know your rights. The lawyers at Fidelis Law Droit will explain your rights and obligations to you at no costs to you.

Call your insurance company and ask the representative to send you your accident benefits forms also know as initial Section B forms.

Complete the accident benefits forms (one for you, one for your doctor, one for your employer) and send the back to your own insurance company.

Do not speak or meet with an insurance representative until you have spoken with a lawyer and you know your rights.

You should not talk to an insurance company representative until you have spoken to a lawyer and know your rights.

You will need to talk to your own insurance company to request the accident benefits form to initiate your accident benefits claim. Do not give them any more information until you speak with a lawyer.

Under no circumstances should you speak with the insurance company of other drivers before you speak with a lawyer. You are not obligated to give them any information or to meet with them.

If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, no matter if your injury seems minor or is very serious, you could have the right to make a personal injury claim.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and what can be claimed. With that information, you can decide you wish to do.

In our current legal system, a claim based in negligence needs to be filed against a negligent driver. The claim against a friend or family member in a single vehicle accident will usually be paid by the insurance company insuring the car you were in. The chance that you will have to testify against the driver in court is low as about 97% of cases settle outside of court.

If you were injured in a single car accident and no one else is at fault (i.e. you lost control because of black ice, you hit a deer crossing the road), you could receive accident benefits from your own insurance company. This is commonly known as Section B benefits or no-fault accident benefits. Accident benefits can reimburse you for medical expenses and pay for part of your loss of income as a result of the accident, even if you are at fault.

In New Brunswick, from July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2013, there was a $2,500 cap for pain and suffering for minor injuries, as defined by the applicable regulation. On July 1, 2013, the cap was changed to $7,500 and the definition of minor injury was changed.

The cap does not limit your claim for loss of income, cost of treatments and medications, loss of ability to do housekeeping and home maintenance and more. The cap only applies to pain and suffering for MINOR injuries.

Do not let an insurance company representative tell you that your injuries are minor and you can only get as much as the cap.

Filing a claim against an at-fault driver is technical and time limits need to be respected. You should hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure rules and time limits are respected. Your lawyer will also explain the litigation process and provide you with advice throughout based on past experience.

In personal injury cases, most lawyers will work on a contingent basis. What this means is that the lawyer will charge a percentage of the compensation you receive as a settlement or in court. If you have a contingent fee contract, you will never have to pay more in legal fees that what you receive in compensation.

No lawyer should be able to tell you exactly what your case is worth immediately following your accident. Many factors influence the value of a case, factors like whether or not your injury will affect you at work in the long-term or whether or not you will need medications and treatments on a long term basis, just to name a few. Until we obtain a firm medical prognosis from your various doctors and other health professionals, the value of your case may be difficult to estimate.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will know what information to look for immediately following your accident and still be able to tell you whether or not you case is worth pursuing.

In a typical personal injury claim against a faulty driver, you can claim for the following:

  • Pain and suffering (the cap can apply here)
  • Loss of income, past and future, and your loss of earning capacity and loss of competitiveness on the job market
  • Costs of medications and treatments
  • Cost of housekeeping and maintaining your home
  • Increased insurability costs

What is important to know, and this applies to all personal injury claims, is that it is the injured person (claimant) that has the burden of proof to show how the accident has affected them. The insurance company will defend, dispute, or question any claims brought forward by the claimant.

The injury claim process has many steps, too many to list here, therefore we will present a general overview. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to provide you with more details as your case progresses.

The first step is notifying the faulty driver’s insurance company that you are presenting a claim. Do not do this before speaking with a lawyer.

After you have retained a lawyer, he or she will be speaking to the faulty driver’s insurance company, or their lawyer, on your behalf. One of the first things your lawyer will do is request relevant information in your case, most of this information will be medical and financial in nature but information about the other driver, his or her insurance details and the details of the accident are also necessary.

Once the essential information is gathered, the lawsuit is filed in court within the time limits. After this is done, the other driver is notified that you have filed a claim against him or her and they notify their insurance company. The faulty driver’s insurance company usually then appoints a lawyer to defend the claim against its driver.

The defendant’s insurance company has a right to pay your claim as a one-time payment. This payment will include all past losses and will also include any future losses.

In some circumstances, an advance payment on special damages can be requested. You lawyer will be able to give you advice on the possibility to get an advance payment.

About 97% of cases settle outside of court. Some cases end up in court because of issues that cannot be resolved in pre-trial negotiations. In choosing a personal injury lawyer, ask them when is the last time he or she went in court to fight for their client’s rights.

Long-Term Disability

Long-Term Disability insurance provides you with payment of a certain percentage of your income when you become disabled. Your policy is a very important document. In order to receive the payments, you will have to meet the requirements set out in the policy and the policy will also indicate what amount you will receive, the length of time you will receive the payment.

This is determined by your long term disability insurance policy. It is often called the “elimination period” or “qualifying period”. Usually the waiting period is several months. In the meantime you may have a short term disability insurance, sick days accumulated with your employer and you may qualify for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Your long term disability insurance policy will answer this question. The definition of “total disability” or “totally disabled” can vary from one policy to another. To qualify for benefits, you do not need to be totally helpless.

The policy will indicate what disability is covered. Most long-term disability insurance policies covers disability caused by an injury or illness that prevents you from working. However, some disability will no be covered and the exclusions will be set out in the policy. For example, if the disability is caused by an injury that was sustained while committing a criminal act, you may not qualify for benefits

As explained at question 3, the policy indicates the definition of “total disability” or “totally disabled”. You must keep in mind that the definition may change after a specific amount of time.
Most long-term disability Insurance policies set out two tests the “own occupation test” and “any occupation test”. Generally, the first 24 months the “Own Occupation Test” is applicable, and after the first 24 months the “any occupation test” applies.

Therefore, during the first 24 months, even if you can return to another occupation, you will most likely still qualify for benefits. After the first 24 months, if you are able to perform another occupation for which you are reasonably qualified, or could become qualified for, by reason of education, training or experience, the benefits will most likely stop.

However, some long-term disability insurance policies provide for an own occupation test until the termination age. Some long-term disability insurance policies have an “any occupation test” that commences after 18 months or from the first day you are entitled to claim for long-term disability insurance.
Again, the policy is very important and has to be examined in order to answer this question.

Long-term disability insurance benefits will cover a % of your pre-disability salary, it can range from 50% to 90%. Some long-term disability insurance plans have monthly maximums which may cap the actual amount you receive.

Most long-term disability insurance policies are intended to top up those disability benefits available to you elsewhere. As such long-term disability insurance policies usually have provisions which reduce your monthly payment by benefits payable other sources.

Many long-term disability insurance policies contain provisions that allow the long-term disability insurance company to make you apply for benefits from another source. Some policies even force you to appeal the decision in the events that the other source denies your claim.

If you are asked to apply for other benefits, or appeal a denial of benefits from another source, make sure that the long term disability insurance has the power to do so.

Your benefits may end when you no longer meet the definition of “totally disabled”. Your long-term disability insurance benefits can last until you reach a certain age specified in the policy or last for a specific time frame.

Generally, what matters is when you became disabled and your status with your employer at that time. Meaning, if you were actively employed at the time you became disabled; your termination should not affect your long-term disability insurance entitlement.

Most long-term disability insurance policies have provisions that allow the long-term disability insurance company to have you assessed by a doctor of their choosing. This is to determine if you are entitled to LTD benefits.

Of course, the medical practitioner that the long-term disability insurance company chooses must be reasonably qualified to do such a medical assessment and should not be biased.

Yes. Your Long-term disability insurer can hire outside companies to follow and to photograph and videotape you. If you have been telling to truth while doing your claim, you should not be worried about this. However, if you notice that you are being followed and that the surveillance is done in a way that it makes you feel in danger, you should contact the police.

First, determine why you are not getting your disability benefits. It may be because the insurance company is waiting for more medical or financial information, in that case, make sure that the insurance receives that information.

If you have submitted all the required paperwork and documentation, but the long-term disability insurance company has denied your claim, you should speak to a qualified long-term disability insurance lawyer.

You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after the denial or termination and the lawyer will review the limitation periods with you and ensure that your claim for long-term disability insurance is not statute barred because a limitation date was missed.

At Fidelis Law, we agree to work on your behalf on a contingency fee basis, which means, that we do not get paid until your claim is resolved and only if we are successful.

We will sit down with you and determine the proper party or parties to sue.

Sometimes, the party you think is your insurer ends up being an administrator of the plan and not the insurer.

We will also sit down and determine what to sue for, there are damages that you can claim additionally to the long term disability benefits.