All posts by Skunkworks

Join us on Nov. 30th: Succession Planning — Sparking the Conversation

Succession planning is a critical part of the future success of any business. However, daily operational demands can make it difficult to find time to sit down and engage in a thorough planning process.

Join KMSC Law LLP, MNP and Neil & Associates Insurance and Investments for breakfast and an interactive seminar on the importance of having a succession plan in place and what you should consider as you prepare for your future.

Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2017
Location: Paradise Inn and Conference Centre Grande Prairie, Richmond Room, 2nd Floor, 11201 100 Avenue
Time: 8:00 a.m.— 12:00 p.m.

RSVP: There is no charge to attend, however, your confirmation would be appreciated.

Please respond to Dale Tiedemann by email: [email protected] or call 780.832.4262.

How to Support Your Personal Injury Claim

After you’ve gotten over the initial trauma of your injuries and you are on the road to recovery, you may be wondering what steps to follow to cover your expenses and protect your financial security. Initially, that will take the form of Section B benefits under your own insurance policy, and if your injuries are the result of the negligence of another driver, you will have the ability to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver, usually through their insurance. In both cases, here are some tips to help you support your personal injury claim for compensation.

Recovery and Keeping in Touch With Your Lawyer

After your accident, work with your medical practitioners to recover as quickly as possible. A speedy recovery is in your best interest, and you also have an obligation to minimize your losses (this is known as mitigation). You must follow your doctor’s directions and take whatever therapy your doctor recommends to avoid an allegation that you have failed to mitigate your losses. Insurers can and do refuse to pay benefits if they think you are not co-operating in your recovery. In the case of a claim against an at-fault driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will expect you to mitigate and if the claim goes to trial and a court finds you have failed to mitigate, it will work against you to reduce the amount of damages you can recover.

It’s also important to keep your lawyer informed of what’s going on in your life post-accident so they can advise you. Here’s a quick checklist of things you can do to help prepare your case. If you have questions don’t hesitate to discuss them with your lawyer in follow-up meetings:

  • Check in at least every 3 to 6 months to update your lawyer with all information. If there is a change in your treatment or you are scheduled for a new procedure or surgery let your lawyer know as soon as possible (e.g., don’t wait).
  • Get supporting documentation for your accident claim or ask your lawyer to obtain the information on your behalf.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations and treatment orders.
  • Retain accurate, dated records of your treatment, including dates of all appointments with healthcare practitioners and therapists.
  • Inform your lawyer about the progress and success of these treatments.
  • Maintain accurate records with dates of your time off work or your time working, while you are recovering from your injury.
  • Keep all receipts for expenses related to your injuries and the accident.

How Long Will It Take to Settle Your Claim?

The time it takes to recover depends on the nature of your injuries. We strongly advise that you do not settle your claim until you know the final outcome of your injuries and how these injuries may affect the rest of your life. Some injuries may result in arthritis or other long-term conditions that may last for years.

Only time will tell what the outcome will be. For all injuries, we suggest you should wait at least 12 months from the accident before considering a claim settlement. Further, you should make sure you’ve got confirmation from you doctor that your injuries have either resolved or plateaued (e.g., no further improvement is likely) before you consider settlement. Finally, you should consult a lawyer before signing off on an settlement (if you aren’t already represented). Once you sign a settlement agreement, you give up your right to sue the at-fault driver for damages so it is very important you fully understand the agreement and it’s consequences.

What Happens If You Have a Soft-Tissue or Whiplash Injury Claim?

In October 2004, the Alberta Government passed the Minor Injury Regulations and The Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols to limit damages for pain and suffering to a maximum of $4,000 Cap (2004 dollars adjusted for inflation) for Grade I and II strains, sprains and whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents. Grade I and II strains, sprains and whiplash involve muscles and ligaments only.

Recent Alberta Court cases have further limited what claims are capped to those that are truly “minor injuries.” If your injuries continue for a period of over a year, it is likely that the Cap does not apply.

Other injuries including: nerve, tendon and temporal-mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) are not capped. If you have soft tissue injuries from non-motor vehicle accidents, these are also not capped under the Alberta regulations.

The point is that even if it initially looks like your claim is within the capped regulations, your soft tissues or whiplash injuries may be outside the Cap. Sometimes the full extent of an injury takes time to become clear. The important thing to remember is that you should not make decisions about whether your injury is minor without consulting a medical professional and getting some advice from a lawyer. Insurance Adjusters acting for the responsible party are not acting on your behalf. Accordingly, any suggestion from them that your claim is capped should be reviewed by a personal injury lawyer who will be able to provide information and advice protecting your interests.

To learn more about what you’re entitled to for your injuries, talk to us.

Book a Free Consultation With One of Our Experienced Alberta Injury Lawyers.
















Section B benefits and injury compensation, what forms do you have to sign?

Injury Compensation for Car Accident Injuries

If you’ve been injured in a car or motor vehicle accident, there are two broad categories of compensation available to you. The first is accident benefits sometimes called Section B benefits. These are also called “no-fault” benefits because they are available to you, under your own insurance policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

The second category of compensation arises when your injuries are caused by the negligence of the other driver. In this situation, you can seek to recover compensation for your injuries (and other types of damages) by starting a civil lawsuit. That lawsuit is referred to as a tort claim. Depending on your injuries you may, or may not, be subject to the soft-tissue injury cap. It is important to remember that the result of every case will depend on the specific facts involved. That is why we offer free consultations to injured people – so they can make informed decisions about what to do next.

In both Section B benefits cases and tort claims, you are required you to provide information and sign documents, but you should be aware of what you must do to access benefits and what to watch out for when providing information, particularly to the other party’s insurance adjuster. This blog post reviews a typical Section B benefits situation.

What Kinds of Medical Costs are Covered by Section B Benefits?

Section B Benefits consist of three categories of accident benefits: 1) medical benefits, 2) death and disability benefits and 3) benefits for accidents occurring outside Alberta in a no-fault jurisdiction. The benefits you receive will depend on the type of injury you have.

It is worth repeating that Section B medical and disability benefits are provided to you regardless of who is at fault for the motor vehicle accident. Section B Benefits will pay up to a maximum of $50,000 for anything medically necessary to treat your injuries that occur within two years from the date of the motor vehicle accident if these are not covered by Alberta Health Care or another insurance plan.

Under Section B benefits for disability, there is a one-week waiting period where no disability benefits are payable. After that week, your benefits are calculated at 80% of your gross weekly earnings to a maximum of $400 per week, for a maximum of 104 weeks (2 years). These disability benefits are considered supplemental to any third party insurance you might carry through your employer. Therefore, you may be able to access Section B benefits to top up disability benefits that are payable to you as part of your employment, again up to a maximum of $400 or a lesser amount that tops you up to your gross weekly earnings. The same time limitation applies, i.e., 104 weeks.

Here are some of the necessary medical costs that may be covered under Section B Benefits:

  • Acupuncture (capped at $250)
  • Ambulance
  • Chiropractic treatments (capped at $750)
  • Dental
  • Hospital
  • Massage therapy (capped at $250)
  • Medical
  • Medical supplies or equipment
  • Medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy treatments
  • Prosthetics
  • Speech therapy

To learn more about Section B Benefits medical coverage, see your automobile insurance policy for details or contact one of our personal injury lawyers.

What Documents to You Need to Submit to Apply for Section B Benefits?

To obtain Section B Benefits, you must:

  1. See a Primary Health Care Practitioner (e.g., chiropractor, medical doctor, physical therapist) as soon as possible for an assessment of your injury and if needed, treatment advice.
  2. File an injury accident report with the police.
  3. Complete a Form AB-1 “Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim,” retain a copy for your records and send the original signed form(s) to your insurance company.
  4. Complete a Form AB-1A “Disability Benefits,” retain a copy for your records and send the original signed form(s) to your insurance company.
  5. Have your health care practitioner complete a Form AB-2 “Treatment Plan,” retain a copy for your records and send the original signed form to your insurance company.

When you retain us to help you with your personal injury claim we will help guide you through filling out the forms and making sure they are submitted within any deadlines.

Do You Need to Sign a Release of Information Authorization to Receive Section B Benefits?

Yes. It is necessary to provide your written consent to your insurance company to authorize the sharing of your personal information so they can substantiate your Section B Benefits. Refusal may result in the inability for your insurance company to process your claim.

IMPORTANT: You are not obliged to provide information (medical or otherwise) to the other party’s insurance company or adjuster, and you should not speak to anyone about your claim besides your own insurance company, your medical treatment providers or your lawyer during the claims process.

What Happens if an Insurance Adjuster Contacts You?

If you are in an automobile accident, an adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company may call you. You should not speak to the adjuster representing the party responsible for causing your injuries. You may be asked to give a statement or sign documents allowing the other party’s adjuster to have access to all of your medical information. Don’t provide them with a release of medical information or any accident information. You can politely advise them that it is your understanding that you are not obliged to speak to them about the accident and that if they require additional information they are welcome to contact your lawyer (if you have one) or your adjuster.

Remember that all insurance companies are in business to make a profit and that an injured person is seen as a potential expense on the insurance company’s balance sheet. Ideally all medical documentation and other accident information should be provided through your lawyer.

If you have questions regarding Section B Benefits and the release of any information, Talk to Us Today.Save





Free Community Event, June 7, 2017 – Your Will. Events that trigger the need to make (or review) your will

When to make a will

It is generally recommended that you consider making or updating your will when major life events occur. For example, life events that trigger the need to make or update your will include:

  • an impending marriage,
  • the birth of your children,
  • when you are approaching retirement,
  • catastrophic injury to a family member for whom you need to provide,
  • a separation or divorce,
  • when children move out of the house.

Each of these events can have significant effect on how you wish to deal with their assets if you pass away.

Why making a will and keeping it up-to-date is a good idea

There are still many people who don’t think about a will, or think that getting a will is not worth the time, effort, and expense. However, it is often the case that having a will can save your surviving loved ones significant amounts of money.  More importantly, a will that clearly spells out your wishes often helps preserve family unity and fosters good relationships after your passing.

It is (sadly) surprising how a parent’s death, without a will, can lead to disputes that grow into bad feelings and contempt between beneficiaries who are often siblings. Further, if you die without a will, you need to be aware that the Alberta Wills and Succession Act applies and you effectively forfeit any say over who gets your assets. Many people are (unhappily) surprised to learn what the default distribution of assets is under the Wills and Succession Act.

Free Public Seminar on Making Your will

Want to learn more about the why’s and how’s of making a Will? Mark your calendar for June 7, 2017 @ 6:30pm and join Cam Smith, KMSC’s Student-at-law, who will team up with the Grande Pairie Council for Lifelong Learning to present a FREE workshop on making a will.

Details and Registration

For details and how to register, visit the Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning Facebook Event page.

In addition to answering your questions, Cam will discuss three important estate planning documents:

  • the Enduring Power of Attorney,
  • the Personal Directive (Living Will), and
  • the Last Will and Testament.

Together these three documents are designed to provide you with comfort and peace of mind that your affairs will be handled in an efficient manner and in accordance to your wishes. Cam will also include a brief overview of the administration of an estate.

We look forward to seeing you there!