10 Myths about Car Accident Claims in Alberta

April 12 2023

Car Accident Statistics in Alberta

According to a 2020 report from Alberta Transportation, almost 95,000 car accidents occurred in Alberta, causing more than 200 deaths and injuring more than 11,000 people. That means an average of nearly 260 accidents happen in Alberta each day!

No one anticipates a car accident and you’ve probably heard different opinions about how to handle your claim, whether it’s from family and friends or from information on the internet.

In this blog post, we share some common myths surrounding car accident claims. Understanding the realities of motor vehicle claims will help you prepare in the event you or a loved one is involved in an accident.

Myths vs. Reality

Myth #1

It’s up to me to decide whether (or not) to report the collision to the police or my insurance company.

Reality: You must report a collision to the police if anyone is injured or killed, or overall damage to any vehicles or property appears to be more than $2,000. You should also call the police if:

  • one or more of the vehicles is not drivable
  • there is damage to public property
  • if any driver does not have documentation (driver’s license, registration or insurance), or
  • you see signs of intoxication or impairment in a driver.

Any time the police are called you must remain at the scene.

IMPORTANT: Even if the accident seems minor to you, your insurance company requires you to report every accident, regardless of the circumstances or the amount of damage. This step is necessary to preserve your right to claim accident benefits (sometimes called Section B benefits in Alberta) to cover costs for things like treatment and rehabilitation. If you don’t report, you risk voiding your insurance.

As of September 2022, Edmonton Police Service front counters no longer process collision reports.  Instead, if you are involved in a collision in Edmonton it must be reported at a Collision Reporting Centre.” For more information visit: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/TrafficVehicles/TrafficCollisions/ReportACollision

Myth #2

I don’t need to see a doctor if I feel fine after a car accident.

Reality: The severity of injuries you suffer in a car accident might not be immediately obvious, so you should always seek medical attention. No matter how small you think your injury is, visiting a doctor is an essential step after a car accident both for your personal well-being and in relation to any personal injury claims that may arise.

Myth #3

I won’t be able to call a personal injury lawyer until I receive the police report.

Reality: This is false. In some cases, having a police report is helpful when reaching out to a lawyer. However, there are cases where accidents don’t require a police report to get filed. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident, especially when you receive any personal injuries due to a car accident. If you are not sure when to reach out, remember CAM LLP offers free consultations.

Myth #4

All soft tissue injuries sustained from a car accident is a minor injury and compensation will be limited.

Reality: Not all soft tissue injuries are considered a minor injury. Whether an injury is considered “minor” and caught by the Alberta Minor Injury cap depends on the evidence related to your injury.  For more information, please visit our previous blog post on Alberta Minor Injury Cap 2023.

Myth #5

Filing an insurance claim is easy, so I can do it on my own.

Reality: While this may be true if your injuries are minor, you should always seek legal assistance if you have suffered an injury. You want to get all the treatment and compensation you need to recover. Insurance companies are businesses focused on making profits for their shareholders and will want to pay out as little as possible on claims. Getting a lawyer who’s familiar with the procedures and practices involved in insurance claims including time limits and options for compensation is critical to protecting your rights and accessing recovery resources.

Myth #6 

My case can be handled by any lawyer.

Reality: The law governing personal injury claims is constantly changing due to new legislation and new case law. For this reason, it is crucial to hire a lawyer who focuses exclusively on personal injury law. This improves the likelihood that your lawyer is up-to-date on changes in the law and the most recent cases on damages. They are also more likely to understand the negotiating environment and the factors driving insurance companies.

Myth #7

I can’t afford a lawyer, so there’s nothing I can do.

Reality: Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and many provide legal services on contingency. A contingency fee agreement means you don’t pay upfront costs. Instead, your lawyer is paid out of any settlement they get for you. At a minimum, before making assumptions, take advantage of a free consultation before you make any decisions about your situation.

Myth #8

I will have to go to court to get the best settlement.

Realty: Most personal injury claims in Alberta are resolved through settlement negotiations. Therefore, it’s wise to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you. Your lawyer will gather the information needed to properly present your case in a way that clearly outlines the evidence, the severity of your injuries and appropriate compensation. They will deal with offers and counter-offers and if necessary prepare to take your claim to court if it is not possible to reach a fair settlement.

Myth #9

Million-dollar settlements are easy to get if my injuries are severe.

Reality: Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where seriously injured people have gotten no compensation. This is because insurance companies are becoming more aggressive with challenging both liability issues (who was at fault for the accident) and the appropriate compensation for even severe injuries. Every case is different and debilitating injuries don’t guarantee specific settlements, even with a good lawyer. However, your chances of getting a fair settlement are better if you have an experienced personal injury lawyer acting for you to protect your interests.

Myth #10

My insurance company will settle for a higher amount if I wait it out.

Reality: There are many aspects of the situation that affect an insurance company’s decisions about how much to pay out for a claim, including the lawyer’s experience and insurance company protocol. Length of time isn’t the only thing that factors into insurance company decisions about compensation. Again, every case is different.

Other Helpful Resources

CAM LLP – Experienced Car Accident Injury Lawyers

Even if you are a conscientious driver, you cannot control the actions of others. That is why having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can make all the difference when navigating a personal injury claim.

At CAM LLP, we have been successfully advising and representing people injured in motor vehicle accidents for over 60 years. We can provide you with a free consultation to talk about your case and explain your options. You can book a no obligation consultation by  filling out our Free Consultation form, calling our office, or using the chat feature on our website.

Note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated regularly to include new relevant information.