Injured in a car accident in Alberta? If the accident wasn’t your fault the other driver was negligent, and you’re entitled to compensation for your losses.
Here is everything you need to know about how compensation works in an Alberta car accident.
How much money will I get for car accident compensation in Alberta?
The amount of money you receive will very much depend on the extent of your losses.
There are two parts to a car accident compensation settlement. The first is the total of your economic losses. That’s your:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Future medical expenses
- Medical equipment you now may need
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Payment for services you now require, such as housekeeping
While some of these figures (loss of earning capacity) are arguable most are based on hard numbers: the exact amounts of your medical bills and the projection of future medical costs based on doctor’s recommendations and assessments of what you will need.
The other part of your settlement will be the pain and suffering award. This is an award for:
- Your actual pain
- Your mental suffering
- The ways your life may have changed as a result of the accident
Someone who can no longer work, engage in former hobbies, walk, or keep up with their kids can expect to see a larger pain and suffering award than someone who is merely in a great deal of pain. This award is somewhat subjective and highly negotiable. You may also see a bigger pain and suffering award if you’re suffering from scars and disfigurements.
In Alberta, this award is also capped. For major injuries, pain and suffering awards may not exceed $379,050.28. For minor soft-tissue injuries, the award may not exceed $5,365.
Your Alberta personal injury lawyer will strive to get you as close to the maximum as possible.
How long does an Alberta car accident settlement take?
Most car accident settlements take roughly 18 months. A few things need to happen before the settlement can resolve.
The first is that you need to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) so that we can accurately calculate the sum total of your economic damages and projected future medical needs. We need to know whether you’ll be capable of returning to work as well.
Second, the lawyers need to get through the discovery process: locating witnesses, reconstructing the accident, and nailing down the facts of the case. Usually, this happens while you are recovering.
Once we have a sense of what your actual losses are we can begin entering into settlement conferences with the insurance company’s lawyers. Sometimes we can negotiate a settlement without involving anyone else.
Sometimes we can’t, and we turn to alternative dispute resolution, either with a mediator or in conference with a judge.
If we still can’t come to an agreement, the matter may be pushed to trial. If the matter is pushed to trial you can expect it to take a total of 24 months or more for your case to resolve.
Does Alberta tax car accident settlements?
Not directly. There is no provincial tax on settlements, and the Canadian Revenue Agency does not count the settlement itself as income. There are a few tax laws which can create situations in which portions of your settlement are counted as income, but only if it’s a severance payout from an employer.
However, if you invest any part of your settlement you can expect to pay capital gains tax on any profits you make on those investments.
That is, if you invest $100,000 of your settlement and the account gains a worth of $110,000, then you will have a capital gain of $10,000. Half of that is taxable income, which means $5000 will be added to your income the year that you realize that gain. You will then be taxed at your normal tax bracket rate for whatever your income ultimately ends up being.
What’s the average car accident settlement in Alberta?
The average is around $120,000, and the median is around $58,000.
It’s usually more useful to ask what the average is in cases like yours, which is something we can discuss at your initial consultation.
What happens when you reject a settlement offer?
You are free to accept any settlement. Your lawyer will advise you on whether the offer is fair or not and you can make a determination based on that advice.
You can accept a settlement offer all the way up until a jury returns a verdict.
Eventually, if a settlement can’t be reached the case will go to trial. In general, we do not recommend this as an ideal outcome.
You could get a lot more money at a trial. You could also get a lot less. Or nothing at all. Trials are unpredictable. Settling and negotiation keep you in control. Both sides usually go into a settlement with a very concrete range of what the case is actually worth. You’ll have the same range from your lawyer. If the offer is within that range it’s usually a good idea to give it serious consideration and thought before rejecting it out of hand.
How do you get your Alberta car accident settlement?
Once you agree on a settlement or are awarded money by the court that money will go to your lawyer. The lawyer will distribute it to creditors such as the hospital that treated you. The lawyer will also deduct their fees and legal costs. The rest will be forwarded to your own account.
While this can sound stressful, remember that most Alberta personal injury victims receive three to five times more money with a lawyer’s help than they would have on their own, even after the lawyer’s fees are accounted for.
Get Help From Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Cochrane, AB
Call us for a risk-free case assessment. Our responsive, caring lawyers have over two decades of experience helping other Albertans get the best and highest settlements for their car accident claims. Many of our cases have exceeded a million dollars in compensation.
Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.
Call (403) 237-9777 to get started.