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May 2020 – COVID -19 REOPENING: Motor Vehicle Accidents

It could be the excitement or slight recklessness on our part, but as it often happens, one moment is all it takes to get into a motor vehicle collision.

With the city of Calgary steadily reopening once again, more and more of us are itching and excited to do the activities that we once loved, and the activities that were a daily part of our routine pre-COVID times. Whether it’s going back to work out of the office, visiting the local pub in order to relive the hot wing championship glory or saying goodbye to that man cave beard and hairdo, chances are, at one point you will be using your vehicle to get there.

It is very important to act quickly.

Report the incident to the police immediately if anyone is injured on the scene, if any driver does not have documentation such as a driver’s license, registration or insurance, if one or more of the vehicles is not drivable or if damage to all the vehicles and property appears to be more than $2,000.00. Auto body shops cannot make repairs in excess of $2,000.00, without a collision damage sticker from the police.

Contact and insurance information should be exchanged with all other parties involved. Collect information about the collision and if possible, take pictures.

Notify your insurance company in order to describe the accident, and understand any coverage limitations.

If you have minor injury classified as sprain, strain or whiplash (known as Whiplash Associated Disorder I  [“WAD I”] or Whiplash Associated Disorder II [“WAD II”] then further approval request by your practitioner to your insurance company is not required. Treatment for these types of injuries fits Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Regulations reinforced under Alberta Minor Injury Regulation [“AMIR”].

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, provide your insurance with a Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim Form within 30 days from the date of the accident.

It is important to establish contact with the other driver’s insurance, especially if the liability for the accident is not in question. Your own insurance company can deal with the other insurance company on particular arrangements related to vehicle repair, ongoing treatments and applicable reimbursement amounts. 

It is important to assess the extent of your injury immediately, as compensation for WAD I and WAD II injuries attributable to pain and suffering and not resulting in a serious impairment are capped under AMIR with the inflationary cap set at $5,202 for 2019. Besides the capped amount, the additional payout could be available for out-of-pocket treatment costs, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.

Your family physician can help assist in diagnosing whether your condition has evolved from a soft tissue injury to one with chronic pain and forever altered your life. Loss of current and future housekeeping capacity is something that is often overlooked, but it should not be. You are simply not able to do what was once part of your daily routine, and on top of it, you may have to incur further expenses to hire family members or external third parties to complete your job.

If you are not reaching a resolution through your or the other party’s insurance company, always remember that in Alberta you have two years from the date of the accident to start legal action. Ensure that you are keeping a detailed record of events during and after the accident, particularly the dates of your treatments, when and what kind of symptoms you are experiencing, and a log of the expenses incurred in your rehabilitation process.

Stay safe everyone.

Steve Dimic

If you have any additional inquiries regarding any of the topics or if you have ideas for future topics, please feel free to email me at stevedimik@hotmail.com

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