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Ottawa and Ontario Personal Injury and Accident FAQ

At Odette Rwigamba Lawyers PC, we get a lot of questions from residents throughout about personal injury lawsuits. We answer some of the most frequently asked questions here, and if you need further information about your particular case, don't hesitate to contact us to schedule your free consultation. 

What Types of Personal Injury Claims Does our Law Firm Handle?

The team at Odette Rwigamba Lawyers PC handles a wide range of personal injury and accident cases. The following list is representative but not exhaustive of the types of cases we can help you with:

  • Car Accident
  • Bus accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Nursing home accidents or abuse
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Premise liability
  • Truck accidents
  • Public transit accidents
  • Rideshare accidents
  • Uber and lift accidents
  • Train and Bus accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Boating accidents

What's the Difference between a Claim and a Lawsuit?

Many people interchange the words personal injury claim and lawsuit, which can be confusing to a certain extent. All personal injury lawsuits were once claims, but not all personal injury claims become lawsuits.

Claims are legal demands for compensation. This means a demand letter is sent, typically, to an insurance company for payment following an accident. There can be negotiations, an investigation, and more before a settlement is offered.

Lawsuits, on the other hand, are legal actions. This means the claim is decided in court and involves one party, the plaintiff, suing another party, the defendant, for compensation. Though a settlement can still be negotiated prior to trial, the claim becomes a lawsuit once it enters the court system.

Do I Have to go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim in Ontario?

No, filing a case in court and going through the court process are not required in every personal injury claim. In fact, a large majority of personal injury claims settle prior to filing a case in court or before a trial if a case must be filed.

A trial in a personal injury case is often the last resort for all parties involved because of the increased costs associated with a trial. Unfortunately, insurance companies and negligent parties do not always present fair offers for settlement, so a trial is always a possibility following an accident.

What Types of Damages Could I Receive in Ontario for a Personal Injury Claim?

The common types of damages available for recovery in a personal injury claim include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate you for your losses from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.

Non-economic damages are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering experienced during and after the accident and any loss of your ability to enjoy your life. In some cases, you might also be entitled to punitive damages for especially careless or reckless actions of the responsible parties. The amount and specific types of damages available in a personal injury claim vary significantly based on the case's circumstances.

Can I Still Recover Compensation in Ontario if I Contributed to the Injury?

Your role in causing an accident could potentially limit or bar your recovery of damages in a personal injury claim, depending on the facts of your case.  Generally, in settlement negotiations or if the case goes to trial, the parties will argue the percentage of fault of all parties. If you are determined to be partly at fault for the accident, any damage award could be limited by your percentage of fault, and depending on what that is, you could be barred from recovering any damages, no matter how significant your damages were following the accident. This is why hiring an Ontario personal injury lawyer is imperative.

What Happens to My Personal Injury Claim if I Have a Pre-Existing Condition?

Pre-existing conditions can play a substantial part in a personal injury case. In general, you are not entitled to compensation for pre-existing injuries that were not affected in the accident. However, you could be entitled to damages if your pre-existing condition was exacerbated or aggravated by the accident.

Proving an exacerbation or aggravation commonly requires determining the severity of the pre-existing condition prior to and following the accident. As such, pre-existing conditions often lead to significant contention from insurance companies.

I Was in an Accident in Ottawa, Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You are not required to have a personal injury lawyer following an accident; however, a lawyer could explain your legal options and help secure a more favorable result. Often, insurance companies will try to take advantage of unrepresented individuals in the claim process with low settlement offers.

An Ontario personal injury lawyer understands the value of a case and when an offer is appropriate for the damage and harm caused in an accident. Additionally, a lawyer could handle the complex court process through its conclusion if a claim is not settled prior to the statutory deadline for filing a lawsuit in Court.

How Much Will a Personal Injury or Accident Lawyer Cost in Ottawa?

How much a personal injury or accident lawyer will cost depends on many factors. If the case settles before entering into litigation, then you can save a lot of expenses. If it goes to trial, it can get expensive, especially considering the experts that might need to be involved. The number and types of experts depend on the case itself, the injury, and the defendant(s).

Another important factor determining the costs of a personal injury lawyer is whether the lawyer offers legal services on:

  • A contingency basis, where you only pay if you win, and even then, the fees are usually taken directly out of the settlement or award as opposed to your own pocket
  • A fixed rate basis, where you pay one fee that may or may not be inclusive of specific other fees and expenses
  • An hourly basis, where -- as described -- you pay on an hourly basis, and this type, too, may or may not include specific other fees and expenses

Regardless of the fee structure, each type has pros and cons. You need to weigh those pros and cons alongside your unique situation. Ultimately, you want to make sure you know exactly what you are getting for what you are paying. At Odette Rwigamba Lawyers PC, our personal injury clients will ONLY PAY US WHEN WE WIN THEIR CASE! YOU DO NOT PAY US IF WE DO NOT WIN.

What Happens if I File a Lawsuit after the Statute of Limitations?

When the insurer does not settle, and you want to file a lawsuit, you must do so within the timeframe of two from the date of the accident as outlined in the relevant statute of limitations. Insurance adjusters know this, and many will take advantage of it. They may try to stall or lead you on with promises they never intend to fulfill. By the time you catch on and try to file, time is up.

Meeting with a personal injury lawyer in Ontario soon after you suffer the injury, even if only for a consultation, can help you understand your rights and give you an opportunity to ask about deadlines. If you do not file timely, you may miss your chance to receive just and fair compensation.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ottawa Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and you are considering whether to pursue a claim, you should contact a personal injury lawyer at Odette Rwigamba Lawyers PC at (613) 232-7900 via email at [email protected] to schedule your free consultation and get started on your road to recovery. We are here to help. 

Methods of Payment

If you have been injured - You pay only when we win your case! For services provided for Family law, Immigration, Estate, Business, and Real Estate Law, we offer flat and hourly rates. Our firm also accepts Interac e-transfers, bank drafts, and personal cheques. Lawyer Referral Service certificates and Law Assist certificates.