How often and when should I check in with my personal injury lawyer?
posted in: Personal Injury + Personal Injury Claim Process
After meeting my lawyer, how often should I check in with my lawyer?
After your accident, if you are injured, your primary focus should be to work with your medical practitioners to recover as quickly as possible. You must follow your doctor’s directions and take whatever therapy your doctor recommends or the insurance company may claim you have failed in your legal obligation to mitigate (minimize) your losses.
Check in every three to six months to update your lawyer with all information. You should check in sooner if there are any significant changes in your condition or your diagnosis. For example, if your doctor sends you to a specialist or if a specialist you are seeing recommends a new treatment or surgery.
Similarly, if other events occur, like your employer starts pushing you to return to work against your doctor’s advice, for example, your lawyer will want to know.
Checklist of Important Things to Discuss at Check in
When you check in with your lawyer you will want to make sure you cover off the following:
- Any new supporting documentation for your accident claim.
- Confirm you have been following your doctor’s recommendations
- Provide information on any new recommendations or treatment orders or prescriptions from your healthcare providers.
- Submit all receipts for expenses related to your injuries and accident.
- Retain accurate, dated records of your treatment, including dates of all appointments with health care 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.
- Advise your lawyer if you have received any correspondence or communication from your insurer or your employer and provide copies of any documents.
How long will it take to recover from my injuries and settle my claim?
The time it takes to recover depends on the nature of your injuries. We strongly recommend 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. Your healthcare providers are in the best position to make these assessments.
Only time will tell what the outcome will be. For more serious injuries, we suggest you should wait at least 18-24 months from the accident before considering a claim settlement.
What happens if I 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 (cap) damages for pain and suffering to a maximum of $4,000 (2004 dollars adjusted for inflation currently set at $5,080 in 2018) for Grade I and II strains, sprains and whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents. For a full overview of the annual caps for soft tissue injuries since 2004, click to see Notice 03-2107 from the Alberta Treasury Board and Finance. The cap table is on page two.
What does the minor injury cap cover?
The cap covers Grade I and II strains, sprains and whiplash involve muscles and ligaments only. However, not all soft tissue injuries are the same and some may last for longer than six months resulting in chronic pain or a permanent partial disability. Only time will tell if your soft tissue injuries resolve in a short period of time with the proper treatment. Do not be persuaded by anyone that your soft tissue injuries are capped until your condition has fully resolved and you have confirmed with your health care providers and a lawyer that deals with personal injury claims.
Other injuries including nerve, tendon and temporal-mandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) are not capped. If you have injuries from non-motor vehicle accidents, these are also not capped under the Alberta regulations.
Insurance companies may try to use the Regulations to say that your injuries are capped. However, your situation and the case law in Alberta might say otherwise.
Even if it initially looks like your claim is within the capped regulations, your soft tissues or whiplash injuries may be outside of it. To learn more about what you’re entitled to for your injuries, talk to one of our experienced Alberta injury lawyers.
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