After a car accident, many people are unsure what exactly to do and ask whether they will immediately need a lawyer. In our experience, a lawyer can make all the difference in how your case is handled.Car accident victims need to know their rights early on, and a skilled car accident lawyer can help you understand those rights.
A lawyer can gather the evidence necessary to prove fault so the responsible driver can be held liable.
A lawyer can also be the aggressive advocate you need when trying to negotiate a fair and just settlement with ICBC.
Car Accident Statistics
According to Transport Canada’s Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics for 2013,1,923 people lost their lives in vehicle collisions,
10,315 sustained serious injury
and another 165,306 sustained varying degrees of injury.
Although the number of people who were killed or suffered injury in motor vehicle accidents in 2013 was down from the prior year, the fatality rate is still 5.5 per 100,000 population.
Drivers are by far the most at risk in car accidents and other traffic collisions, accounting for 50.1 percent or 964 of the total vehicle fatalities.
Passengers of motor vehicles were the second most at risk group, accounting for 18.1 percent of the total or 348 motor vehicle fatalities.
Pedestrians represented 15.6 percent of the vehicle-related fatalities, followed by motorcyclists at 10.3 percent, bicyclists at 3.2 percent and others at 2.7 percent.Drivers represented 46.2 percent of those seriously injured in vehicle collisions.
Individuals over the age of 65 are most at risk for fatal injuries in a traffic collision. That age group accounted for 402 of the fatalities.
Those between the ages of 25 and 34 were most at risk for suffering serious injuries.
Here in British Columbia, the motor vehicle accident fatality rate is 5.9 per 100,000 population and the injury rate is 445.6 per 100,000 population.
Given the number of accident and injuries that happen every year, car accident victims can dramatically improve their chances of being able to pursue maximum compensation for their injuries and losses by retaining the services of a qualified injury lawyer.
Hiring a Lawyer Can Help You Protect Your Rights
When a negligent driver causes a car accident that results in serious or fatal injuries, you may have the legal right to pursue damages for medical expenses, lost income, vehicle repairs and other accident-related costs.A lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you pursue financial compensation so you do not face paying out-of-pocket for another person’s negligence or careless mistakes. Other reasons you need to hire a lawyer immediately following an accident include:
- Accident victims only have a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit or claim.
- Insurance companies do not make money by paying out on accident claims, so victims should not make the mistake of believing their insurer has their best interests at heart. ICBC has the goal to keep costs down with regard to insurance payouts.
- Certain requirements must be met when filing a lawsuit or claim.
- Without legal representation, an accident victim is more likely to accept an unfair settlement offer. The right lawyer knows what you rightfully deserve under the terms of the policy.
- ICBC representatives may attempt to take advantage of those who are unaware of their rights, the terms of the policy, and all of the damages that could be collected after an accident.
- The ICBC representative is not required to advise accident victims of all the damages for which they may be eligible. A lawyer can assess your claim and work closely with you, making sure you pursue the maximum economic and non-economic damages.
- Proving liability is not always a simple task. Even when the evidence seems irrefutable, a lawyer can strengthen your claim through an in-depth knowledge of the law as well as the steps to follow to recover compensation after an auto accident.
- A lawyer understands settlement options and will have a much better idea of what is fair and just.
Most importantly, those who fail to hire a lawyer immediately following an accident are putting themselves at risk.
Even if your injuries appear to be minor, the injuries could develop into a much more serious problem. You do not want to be left financially or legally liable for any aspect of an accident for which you were not at fault. You want the responsible party to be held liable. A lawyer can ensure justice is served.
- Transport Canada: Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics 2013