Paine Edmonds LLP - Blog
When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Vancouver?
Getting injured is never fun. Being involved in an accident can cause tremendous pain, emotional suffering, social isolation, difficulties with employment,
income loss, and extensive medical expenses. You may need compensation for your losses.
Perhaps the most common personal injury claims relate to motor vehicle accidents and occupier’s liability claims. These scenarios, medical malpractice,
and product liability are among those where you may consider seeing a personal injury
lawyer to assess if you should seek compensation against an insured third party.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle and another party is at fault, his or her ICBC policy will cover your losses, pursuant to the third party liability
provisions. A personal injury lawyer will be able to help you assess your actual losses and which losses you can claim, and help maximize the settlement
you elicit from ICBC.
Even if an accident is entirely your fault, it is worth hiring a lawyer to pursue your Part 7 accident benefits claim. Under your ICBC policy, no-fault
accident benefits cover things like income loss, medical expenses and housekeeping expenses, to established maximum amounts.
Bringing an accident benefits claim and gathering all necessary supporting documentation can be complicated. A lawyer will help ensure that you are not
unreasonably denied benefits to which you are entitled or help you commence a claim against ICBC in Vancouver.
Occupiers Liability Claims
Occupiers liability claims (also known as “slip and fall” accidents) are those which involve injuries on private or public property, often due to tripping
or slipping on a hazardous object, slippery floor, ice walkway, or due to a falling object.
Home owners generally carry home owners’ insurance, which provides coverage for third party liability claims. This means that the insurer will provide
a defence to the homeowner if a claim is commenced and will be responsible for covering losses up to a certain amount if the homeowner’s negligence
is found to have caused the accident.
Businesses similarly typically carry insurance policies that protect them from third party claims. In commercial general liability insurance policies,
the coverage has similarities to homeowner’s policies, but for accidents that occur on commercial premises.
An example of a claim that would be covered under a commercial general liability policy is that of Etson v. Loblaw Companies Limited (Real Canadian Superstore), 2010 BCSC 1865 (CanLII). In this case, the plaintiff tripped and fell over the corner of a wooden pallet at a Superstore, injuring her hip. The
pallet was in a hazardous position — the stacking of the detergent bottles on the pallet gave the impression that there was a clear walkway,
when in fact there was not. Although the plaintiff was found to have contributed to her own injuries, the defendant, Superstore, was held liable.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims arise from the negligence of physicians or nurses in carrying out their job duties, and in making decisions that affect your
health. For example, a wrong diagnosis may result in further complications or severe medical effects arising from the actual underlying illness or
condition that has gone undiagnosed. Or, a doctor may make a grave error during surgery that then causes significant injury or permanent disability.
Doctors are covered by professional negligence insurance as a requirement of their licensure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.
If you claim against a physician in negligence, his or her professional negligence insurance will provide a lawyer and a defence to the claim and cover
any settlement reached either out of court or at trial.
Product Liability Claims
Sometimes, a defective or hazardous product may end up harming a consumer before a recall can be issued on the product or before the person can reasonably
be expected to know that a recall has been issued. In such scenarios, a person may sue the manufacturer and sometimes the distributor of the product
for his or her injuries.
Many companies that manufacture potentially hazardous products will purchase product liability insurance to cover the potential for such claims. If they
do not, the company must personally pay its own legal expenses, and pay out any settlement.
Class Action Lawsuits
At times, a personal injury lawsuit is commenced on an aggregate scale in a single lawsuit when many people have been injured or suffered losses in the
same factual scenario (e.g., after they purchased a hazardous or defective product). Commonly, one or two individuals serve as “representative” plaintiffs
in commencing a lawsuit against a person or company on behalf of many people who have been injured. It must be proven to the court that the case is
appropriate to be certified as a class action and this largely depends upon successfully
asserting that the claims among all potential plaintiffs are sufficiently similar.
Jones v. Zimmer GMBH, 2011 BCSC 1198 (CanLII) is an example of the successful certification of a class action lawsuit. In that case, the
representative plaintiffs had suffered pain and discomfort from the implantation of a “Dorom Cup,” an implant used in hip replacement surgery. The
cups had to be removed via further surgery. There was evidence that a significant number of people were similarly affected by the defective implants.
Your Free Consultation Awaits You at Paine Edmonds LLP, Personal Injury Lawyers in Vancouver
If you have been injured in any of the above types of scenarios or others, call a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver
at our law firm for a free assessment of your case. We can deal with ICBC if your accident is a motor vehicle claim and ICBC assigns to your case an
ICBC injury lawyer in Vancouver. We have proudly served in British Columbia for over 70 years in a wide variety of personal
injury cases. Contact us at 604-683-1211.