When you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash it is very important to seek the assistance of a lawyer as soon as possible. There are two main reasons for doing so. Firstly and most importantly, there is legislation in Ontario that limits the time in which a person can bring a law suit. For the vast majority of cases, this time frame is two years. For a personal injury matter, this generally means that the injured person will have two years from the date of the incident (i.e. the date of the motor vehicle crash or slip and fall) to start a claim against the potential defendant(s) or at fault party.
It is very difficult to bring a lawsuit after this time frame, known as the limitation period, has expired. In most cases, a lawsuit can still be commenced after expiration of this time period, however, the lawsuit is likely to be dismissed on the basis that you did not bring your claim within the mandatory time frame. This is referred to as the action being “statute barred”. Although there are circumstances where a claim may be successful if brought beyond this time frame, these circumstances are rare and great care should be taken to commence a lawsuit well before the expiration of the limitation period.
The second reason an injured person should contact a lawyer as soon as possible is because there may be benefits available to the person that they are unaware of. In Ontario, if an individual is injured in an accident involving a motor vehicle, they have access to “statutory accident benefits”. These benefits are accessible to someone even if they are at fault for the accident.
The benefits available through this regime include income replacement benefits, medical and rehabilitation benefits, and attendant care benefits. These benefits can help pay for treatment needed as a result of the injuries you suffered from the collision, like physiotherapy, massage therapy, or chiropractic treatment. These benefits can also help supplement your income if you are unable to return to work. Furthermore, if you were seriously injured and required help with your personal care, there are benefits to cover this. Unfortunately, many people do not realize they have access to these benefits and, even if they do, accessing these benefits can be difficult and overwhelming. Additionally, there are many deadlines, forms, and procedures associated with this regime. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who understands and is familiar with this system will help you access all of the benefits that you are entitled to.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a collision it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer in order to determine your legal rights.
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