Settling Your Motor Vehicle Claim in Alberta
posted in: Personal Injury
When Should You Settle Your Motor Vehicle Claim?
There are many factors that have to be considered before settling your claim. Usually, the more serious the injuries then the longer it takes to settle your claim. We will need to obtain the proper medical documentation to support the injuries from the car accident and its effects presently and in the future.
Key factors to determine when you can settle your claim include:
- When liability is settled and is not in dispute
- Your recovery needs to be complete and wait we recommend to wait at least 6 months from the motor vehicle accident (MVA)
- Claim for pain and suffering (known as “general damages”) resulting from a motor vehicle accident if you suffered only minor injuries. That limit was initially set at $4,000 in 2004 and is adjusted for inflation yearly. It is currently capped at $5,296. A minor injury is any sprain or strain and type I or type II whiplash.
- The cap applies within 6 months of the MVA for soft tissue injury claims only
- Beware of chronic conditions such as arthritis much later from injuries
Alberta Motor Vehicle Court Claim Settlements Process
Most personal injury matters settle before court and do not proceed to trial. As many as 98% of claims settle before court. Your matter can settle at any time prior to a final verdict at trial. If a settlement cannot be negotiated before trial, then it could take 3 to 4 years before your matter will be heard in court.
Trials are risky and expensive and a good personal injury lawyer will try to settle your case before a trial is necessary. A settlement can be reached at any time before the Judge and jury makes the decision.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to Settle Claims Before Trial
There are alternatives to going to trial, including settlement discussions and meetings or mediation. A mediator is a neutral third party (usually a former lawyer or Judge) who helps facilitate settlement between the parties to try to settle your case. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to various ways of resolving your claim without having to go to a trial. Settlement can occur at any time without resort to an ADR process. The two most common forms of ADR in personal injury claims are mediation, and Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR). Both ADR forms are without prejudice to your rights to trial.
Using Mediation to Settle Claims Before Trial
With mediation, a trained mediator helps identify the interests of the parties and develops strategies that meet those interests. This type of mediation is referred to as interest-based mediation. Mediation is effective when the parties are not far apart on the issues and when an evaluative approach is not required.
Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR) to Settle Claims Before Trial
A JDR at a Courthouse takes place with a Judge in a private setting (not inside a courtroom). Lawyers will need to prepare written briefs for the Judge who may have a few questions for the parties. The Judge addresses the strengths and weaknesses on both sides and informally evaluates the case. A JDR is very useful when one or more parties need to have a Judge’s informal opinion on a complex legal issue.
Have questions about settling your injury claim? You can consult with one of our injury lawyers about settlement options for your motor vehicle accident claim. Also, the amount of the compensation depends on the severity of your injury and other damages.