What I Wish I Knew Before I Started my Injury Case

Having served 1000’s of personal injury clients in Eastern Ontario, we have seen many local injury victims experience the legal system, and the accident benefit system in Ontario.  Today we outline 5 tips we’ve garnered from hearing their stories.

  • I wish I had checked in with my doctor more often in the first 6 months post-collision

Many of our clients seek medical help right after the collision, but then pursue physio or chiro treatments for many months without checking in with their family doctors.  If you are improving with treatment, this may be fine.  However, if you are not improving, getting worse or — most importantly– experiencing new symptoms, you should check in with your family doctor to report the symptoms and seek guidance.  Maybe it’s time to seek the assistance of a specialist or a different type of therapy.

  • I wish I had kept receipts of my injury-related expenses before I hired a personal injury lawyer

After a collision, you might need to hire housekeeping assistance or pay for parking or take taxis to accommodate your injuries.  In some cases, the expenses our clients pay that are not covered by accident benefits are significant.  It becomes harder (not necessarily impossible) to recover those expenses from the defendant in a law suit without receipts.

  • I wish I had known the government could change the rules part way through my case

If you have had a collision in the last 5 years, the laws impacting the amount of compensation available to you have changed several times.  What is unusual about some of the changes is that the government and the courts decided that those changes would be retroactive.  They applied even if your case was already in the system.  “No Grandfathering.”  When the rules change, it can be challenging to predict what the outcome of a case may be.

  • I wish I had known that I could choose my own treatment providers

Shortly after a collision, your insurance adjuster may recommend a “preferred” physiotherapist.  We’re told that many clients feel like it “almost” mandatory to attend the adjuster’s recommended provider.  In fact, you can attend any licensed therapy providers who accept motor vehicle cases.

  • I wish I had kept track of lost business opportunities before I hired a personal injury lawyer

For people who are self-employed, or who work on commission, lost income is more complicated to claim than for salaried employees.  How do you measure the loss of real estate clients because you can’t hustle or carpentry jobs that you decline because you can’t take on heavy jobs during your recovery.  Carefully recording networking events missed, or clients declined or referred can make a big difference to the amount of compensation you recover.

Avoid wishful thinking by hiring an injury lawyer immediately after your motor vehicle collision.  In Ottawa and Eastern Ontario the personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are pleased to turn questions into answers and wishes into reality.  Contact us today to see if you qualify for a free, no-obligation consultation.  Call 613 233-4529.

 

The Holiday Gift of Safety

Here is Auger Hollingsworth Injury Lawyers’ list of 10 awesome Gifts of Safety just in time for the holidays.

  1. FIRE EXTINGUISHER-  Every home should have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and probably also one in the garage.    Many of us have old, expired extinguishers.  Time to upgrade!
  2. FIRE ESCAPE LADDER – These rope ladders are great for homes with bedrooms on the upper floors.  They stash under your bed.  If you ever need the ladder to make a window escape, it hooks securely on the window ledge creating a fast emergency exit.
  3. FIRST AID KIT –  Imagine having everything you need to tend minor injuries and wounds in one, up to date spot.  Bandages, ointments, slings, artificial respiration mouth guard.  Every house needs one.
  4. DISASTER KIT – Whether its an ice storm or an earth quake, every family needs a supply of emergency gear, just in case.  Consider packing a plastic bin with a supply of non-perishable food (including pet food), water, flashlight with batteries, cell phone battery, safety matches, candles, whistle or horn,  package to hold copies of key documents and ID, can opener and cash.
  5. CAR SAFETY KIT – Breakdowns can happen anywhere.  Ensure your loved one has jumper cables, a window breaker, a seat belt cutter, a long handled snow brush and ice scraper, a mylar or other heat protecting blanket, flares or reflective triangle, flashlight and batteries.
  6. FIRST AID / CPR COURSE  – Treat your bestie to a first air and CPR course offered by the city, Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance.  Better yet-  make it a date and plan to attend together early in 2018.
  7. SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS – These are your first line of defence against house fires or poisoning, especially at night.  Spring for the batteries too.  Bonus points for offering to install them.
  8. REFLECTIVE DOG COLLARS AND LEASHES –  Both pup and owner will walk safer with reflective or lit walking gear.  Be seen during the dark winter nights while walking the pooch.
  9. SELF DEFENCE CLASS – Enroll your sweetie in a physical hands-on self-defence class to improve confidence and safety.
  10. LIFE JACKETS FOR EVERYONE –  Have a family of boaters on your list?  New, approved, weight-appropriate life jackets in groovy colours would be a welcome gift for any water enthusiast.

Best wishes for a SAFE and happy holiday from your friends at Auger Hollingsworth.

Why Social Media is No Good for your Personal Injury Case

Every single week our Ottawa personal injury lawyers get a courier package from a defence lawyer enclosing photos from our client’s Facebook page or Twitter.  Most of the time the photos are reasonably innocuous — no skydiving, bungee jumping or cartwheels. But the photos nevertheless compromise our clients cases.

Why?

Members of the Public Don’t Understand that Injured People Smile Sometimes

The public and therefore the jury are very slow to accept that you can be in pain or depressed when you are standing in a photo with an ear-to-ear grin.  How do they reconcile that happy-looking face with the sad story you and your lawyer are telling?  The truth is that often they can’t.

You can do your best to explain (truthfully) that you just smiled for the camera, or were having a good day, or were trying to make the best of things for your family.  Often, it doesn’t matter.  The defence lawyer will use the photo to imply, suggest, hint or straight out proclaim that you are a fake and your case is worth nothing.

Education about Chronic Pain and Mental Health Are Part of the Solution

As our future jurors learn not to rely on stereotypes about chronic pain or depression, it will be easier to explain a few smiling photos take over a 5 year period following an accident.  The fact that a so-called invisible injury can be debilitating is gaining acceptance.

The fact that a person who suffers these types of injuries might put on a brave face for a family event or an outing with their children does not mean they aren’t injured.

Best Protection from Social Media is to use Retraint

Until it is commonly accepted that chronic pain is real and depression sometimes smiles, protect your case.

Our personal injury lawyers HIGHLY recommend that our clients resist posting photos on social media.  We also ask that your friends and family not post photos of you, or tag you.  Every time you post, you create an unnecessary risk to your case.  Text or email photos to your friends and loved ones.  Continue to smile on the days when you can!

But please, keep your beautiful face off Facebook!