Where Do I Get an Injury Claim Form?
After experiencing a motor vehicle accident (“MVA”), most Albertans just want to move forward as soon as possible. Specifically, people who are injured in an MVA are keen to recover from any injuries and get back to work as soon as possible. Unfortunately, simply moving on from an accident is not always the best course of action, especially if you have been injured.
If you have been injured in an MVA in Alberta, you may be eligible for compensation. Although most people want to avoid lawyers and potential lawsuits, the reality is that your injuries may result in significant financial, physical, and emotional challenges in the short, medium, and long-term periods.
A personal injury claim may be able to help you recover financial losses from medical bills, treatment expenses, and lost wages, as well as monetary compensation for pain and suffering. However, filing a personal injury claim can be a complex and daunting task. Experienced personal injury lawyers are accustomed to assessing claims and helping clients navigate the different opportunities and challenges that arise between the accident and any potential settlement. Most importantly, a personal injury lawyer will take care of communication with all parties involved, help you understand what to expect from the legal process, protect your rights, and advocate in your best interest.
Working with an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer can save you significant time, effort, and stress. Furthermore, the knowledge and strategy an experienced personal injury lawyer brings to your file can lead to settlements that better reflect your rights and interests.
Despite these benefits, some people who have been in an MVA prefer to complete and file the required personal injury forms themselves. This blog post provides a general overview of what the claims process entails and where you can locate the necessary personal injury claim forms.
What Should I Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
The unfortunate reality is that most people involved in an MVA generally suffer some sort of personal injury or property damage. Regardless of the nature and extent of the loss, it is worth following these six (6) steps if you plan on completing your own injury claim forms. The overarching themes of these steps is to invest in your own recovery and collect as much information as possible. In personal injury claims the old adage rings true: “it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”
- Alert the Police
- At the time of the accident, it is often not clear whether the police need to be involved. Although a particular injury or property damage may appear minor at the time of the accident, the main challenge and risk is that we often do not know how serious an MVA is until well after the event. It is advisable to call law enforcement to the scene of most accidents. Once there, police or fire department officials will survey the scene, collect any evidence, speak to potential witnesses, and prepare an official report. This report will be helpful if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
- Get contact information from potential witnesses
- It is important to, at there very least, collect the contact information of any potential witnesses to the MVA. This can be as simple as asking for their name, phone number, and email address in case you have any follow up questions. Alternatively, if safe to do so, it may be worth taking their statement immediately after the collision. Best practice is to get as much detail as you can as soon as possible after the event.
- Once again, you may not need any witness statements, but this evidence can be helpful in a future personal injury claim.
- Seek medical treatment and obtain a detailed diagnosis
- If you have been injured in an MVA, the most important step is to get a thorough and accurate diagnosis of your injuries. This information will form the foundation of your recovery, treatment plan, and any potential claim.
- Even if you do not have any severe injuries, it is worth undergoing a through medical check. Most importantly, some injuries to the brain, neck, and spine may not be immediately evident after a collision.
- Document treatment expenses and lost wages
- Make sure to keep all receipts for any treatments related to your injury(ies) and document any time off work. If you decide to move forward with a personal injury claim, you may be eligible to be reimbursed for these expenses and losses.
- Do not sign an agreement from an insurance company without legal advice
- The insurance company of the at-fault party may approach you with an offer. If this occurs, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice before signing. Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging and will not necessarily result in an offer that reflects your rights, actual losses, or best interests.
- Be aware of the limitation period
- In Alberta, you have two (2) years from the date of the MVA to file a personal injury claim. Although you can file a claim at any time before the limitation period expires, it is generally best to start a claim while the details are fresh in your mind and the evidence has not deteriorated.
Regardless of the type or severity of the accident, damage, and injuries, your personal injury claim is unlikely to progress without the correct evidence and documentation. An experienced personal injury lawyer will not only make sure you have everything you need for a claim, but also reduce the burden and stress of chasing these materials down and sharing them with all the relevant parties.
For more information on what to do after an accident, see the Vogel LLP blog post on 5 Crucial Documents for Your Personal Injury Case.
How Do I File a Motor Vehicle Injury Claim?
If you decide to proceed with a claim against the at-fault party, you can use the recuperation period to start compiling the supporting evidence required. Once you have collected all the necessary information, you need to file a Statement of Claim with the Alberta Courts. At the very least, your Statement of Claim must:
- be filed on Alberta Court Form 10;
- comply with rule 3.25 of the Alberta Rules of Court, AR 124/2010;
- provide the material facts that back up your personal injury claim;
- list the remedies you are seeking for the specified damages; and
- be filed with the Court within two (2) years of the accident.
After filing the Statement of Claim with the Court, you must serve the Defendant with the Statement of Claim within one (1) year after the filing date. Service normally includes hiring a process server to hand the Statement of Claim to the named Defendant. You will then need to send the proof of service to your insurance company.
Filing your Statement of Claim and serving the Defendant is just the first step in a personal injury action. Generally, the Defendant’s insurer will get involved at this point in time. Typically, the Defendant’s insurer (or their counsel) will serve you with a statement of defence and potentially a counterclaim. Once again, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this process, insulate you from the stresses involved, and keep you up to date and informed throughout.
Where Do I Get an Injury Claim Form?
In addition to filling your Statement of Claim, there are several other forms that must be filed as part of a personal injury action. As above, your personal injury lawyer will make sure all the correct forms are completed and shared with the appropriate parties.
For claims related to MVAs that resulted in minor injuries (payable even if you were at fault for the accident) you need to complete form AB-1: Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim. This form needs to be signed and sent to your insurance company. Make sure you keep a copy for your own records.
The insurance company will review your claim and advise on the benefits to which you are intitled. Alternatively the insurance company will request more information before making a decision.
A number of other forms may be required to support your claim and recovery. The Government of Alberta provides a list of helpful insurance forms related to a personal injury claim from an MVA.
Moving Forward With Your Claim
Dealing with the emotional, physical, and financial fallout of a motor vehicle accident can be a difficult and time consuming process. Insurance companies have a lot of resources and questions that can overwhelm and discourage you. Similarly, courts require significant evidence to support a personal injury claim, and this evidence must meet strict requirements to be admitted in court.
Simply put, preparing, filing, and managing your own personal injury claim can be a stressful and frustrating process. Beyond the toll this can take on your recovery, it is also important to note that small mistakes can have significant financial implications for your claim and reduce, or negate, potential compensation.
A personal injury lawyer can help reduce the stress, frustration, and uncertainty that comes with an MVA. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Vogel LLP are accustomed to managing claims, supporting clients, and advocating for your best interests.
Book a free consultation to learn more about your options and how we can support you moving forward.