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Practical tips & mindset approaches for clients in personal injury cases (Ontario)

In Ontario, if you win your case, a judge cannot award you a victory medal, a ticker tape celebratory parade, or a key to the City in your honour. The Judge also cannot order that the at fault party experience the same pain and suffering which you endure.

The only thing the Judge can do is award you compensation in the form of MONEY.  What you do with that money is up to you. So, if you want to take that money from your personal injury case and use it to get a permit and then have a celebratory parade, go right ahead.

It’s nothing personal, it’s busiess

The reality is that personal injury litigation is a serious business. It’s a business because there is money at stake.

That money doesn’t come from a small local charity or a mom and pop’s store/restaurant. In most cases, that money comes from a large, multi national insurance company with offices across Canada and other parts of the world. Most of these insurers trade publicly on stock exchanges world wide. They exist to earn a profit. The more money these insurers pay out in awards, the less money they get to report in profit for their share holders.

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, it’s most certainly a life changing event which can have serious consequences for you and your loved ones. For you and your family, this is your LIFE and you live with the consequences of the accident everyday.

But for the insurer, your case is a business. Their business model for casualty insurance, auto insurance, long term disability insurance, is built on a model of a certain proportion of claims which they deem to be meriotorious will be paid out without the need for litigation. Another percentage will be denied, and if they get litigated, so be it. Insurers have the experience, knowledge and resources to handle thousands, if not millions of claims, both in litigation and not. It’s simply their business model.

As an accident victim, you don’t understand or appreciate that for the insurer, your case is a business, you are missing a whole side of the coin. This is willful blindness or simply naivety.

Staying calm…. Sometimes Easier Said Than Done

If your personal injury lawyer could settle your case out of Court tomorrow, for some astronomically large amount, they would. If the insurer liked you and your case, and money weren’t a concern, they would pay you out. But this is not the world we live in.

Claims adjusters have to report their pay outs to their managers, and managers report to senior managers, and senior managers report to Vice Presidents, Presidents, CFO, CEOs, who are responsible to ownership; the share holders.

Our personal injury lawyers have never known an insurer who believed they paid out what they didn’t believe was right and just in the circumstances.

For injured accident victims and their loved ones, the stress and anxiety of living through the litigation process is VERY REAL. This is likely your first time with a personal injury claim, or with a claim before the Court. The threat of having to participate in insurance medical examinations with paid quack doctors can be daunting. The stress of living in a constant state of heightened awareness and fear of your actions on account of surveillance (both online via Social Medial and in Person) can be devastating.Goldfinger-law_Logo_colour-300x78

Our best advice to you is to remain calm. There is nothing to gain from stressing out. In fact, stress will only make your condition worse. We appreciate that remaining calm is easier said than done. But we can assure you that all bad times will pass, and if your case is one with merit, it will resolve one way or another. Most personal injury cases are marathons, they aren’t sprints. The wait time for personal injury cases in 2017 has become the norm (unfortunately).

Focus on getting better, and the rest will work itself out

What you can do to help your health and help your case is focus on your wellness and rehabilitation. Don’t focus on the legal details. Leave that to your lawyer. Understanding the law is not only complicated, but it’s also very frustrating. The law when it comes to car accident cases is NOT FAIR. The laws do NOT benefit the innocent injured Plaintiff. The laws have been tinkered with year after year to weigh the scales of justice towards deep pocketed insurers. You can talk with your personal injury lawyer about how the law works and how it relates to your case. But obsessing over each minute detail will only lead to additional stress, anger and aggravation which you could likely do without.

Stay off social media!

A recent Toronto Life article profiled a fraudster who bamboozled thousands via identity theft, credit card fraud, and mail fraud.

Do you want to know how the police caught the fraudster? Instagram Posts!

If the police are using social medial to catch criminals, it should tell you that it’s an effective and accepted tool at catching people in the act of doing something that they should not be doing.

Insurers use social media to catch unsuspecting accident victims of doing things they and their doctors say that they are limited from doing. It’s also used to show people in good lights in which they don’t appear injured. It’s rare to see  pictures on somebody’s social media feed of a person being miserable. People normally post photos of themselves looking great, happy and having fun. This images may be in direct opposite to how the person is feeling on the inside. But, insurers know that these images present compelling evidence to plant a seed of doubt in jury’s mind as to the credibility and extent of the injuries to the Plaintiff.  Our advice is so long that you’re involved in a personal injury case is to get off or suspend your social media accounts so that the opportunity to tag a happy photo doesn’t even exist. Better safe than sorry.

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