Maybe one day the smart car will make driving in Newfoundland, Canada, extremely safe with almost zero motor vehicle collisions to report, but until that day happens, accidents will continue to happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you will want a car accident lawyer on your side. When you turn to Geoff Aylward for legal representation, you are handing your case over to an experienced, resourceful lawyer who knows the laws related to car accidents and knows the procedures and tactics of the auto insurance industry. He provides immediate, personalized attention to your case.
Car Accidents: Liability
In Newfoundland, liability matters. It determines who is responsible for the damages and personal injuries emanating from the car accident. It also determines if damages will be rewarded on a proportionate basis if it is deemed the injured party was also at fault to a certain extent. Insurance companies attempt to divert responsibility to reduce or deny claims. For example, if an injured driver was driving over the speed limit, the insurer will argue that the driver's damages should be reduced because of contributory negligence in driving at an excess speed. If the injured person was not wearing a seatbelt, there is an automatic 25 percent reduction for contributory negligence unless the injured person proves the seatbelt would not have made a difference to the injury. Determining the cause of accident and injury is imperative to receiving fair and just compensation.
Car Accidents: Who Pays?
The cause(s) of a car accident indicates who is at fault for the accident. Both the at-fault driver and owner (if different) of the vehicle are usually responsible to pay your damages. Your lawyer will deal directly with the insurer of the at-fault party to prove liability and recover damages on your behalf.
If the other vehicle is not covered by insurance or is unidentified, you will be entitled to recover from your own insurer under a special provision in the standard policy. If you are not covered by your own or a family member's insurance, you will be able to recover from the Judgement Recovery fund. There are very strict immediate time limits that have to be followed. In the case of an unidentified vehicle, for example, police have to be notified within 24 hours. Other procedures have to be taken within 30 days.
Car Accidents: Causes
The importance of identifying the cause of the accident has already been established, but the cause(s) is not always precisely known. There can be more than one cause, and one of those causes may not be initially identifiable, but noticed only later -- after an investigation into the crash was conducted or the scene of the accident was reconstructed by an expert. In serious accidents involving the possibility of death or serious criminal charges, the police will gather extensive accident data at the scene. Police investigation files can provide valuable information and analysis to determine the cause of the accident. Often it is necessary to hire a person with advanced training in accident reconstruction to review and interpret the various data that is relevant to the cause of an accident and to determine which driver was at fault.
Sometimes, the actual cause of an accident may have been an interaction between or a combination of factors, with one factor more direct though less visible initially. Never assume you caused, in whole or in part, the accident until all the facts are known.
Causes of accidents are many, but they can be summarized under three categories: (1) human error; (2) mechanical; and (3) environmental. Human error is overwhelmingly the primary cause of accidents with mechanical following at a very distant second. The following are some examples of these categories.
Human Error Causes of Car Accidents in Newfoundland & Labrador
Human error is complicated. Error results from drivers' failure to recognize what's happening all around them, failure to make the right decisions, or failure to perform their driver duties appropriately. These failures materialize in different ways, and some examples are as follows:
- Driver's inattention, i.e., disregard for what's happening on and around the road, or not paying attention to other drivers.
- Internal and external distractions. For example:
- Talking or texting or other use of smartphone or cell phone;
- Use of GPS;
- Inserting CDs or USB device
- Turning head away from road to engage in conversations with passengers.
- Inadequate surveillance, i.e., not paying attention to what's happening on the side of the road.
- Driving too fast for weather (including visibility) or road conditions (including road design).
- False assumption of others' actions, i.e., assuming a car will turn when it doesn't.
- Illegal maneuver and misjudgment of gap or another driver's speed.
- Failure to maintain visibility through the windshield and other windows. Accidents can happen because of:
- malfunctions in windshield wipers;
- failure to clear ice and snow from windshield and wiper mechanisms; and
- failure to defog the windshield and other windows.
Mechanical Causes of Car Accidents in Newfoundland & Labrador
Mechanical errors can be grouped according to (1) defects that originated in the vehicle's manufacture or design; or (2) to mechanical or technical problems stemming from insufficient maintenance and care. CBC reported at the end of 2016 that there are millions of vehicles on the road that have potentially dangerous recalls. In fact, CBC reported that 5 million out of the roughly 22 million cars and light trucks on the road in Canada have a safety recall, and without its correction can cause accidents that result in injuries and/or fatalities. Most of these defects are safety-related, like brakes and airbags.
In addition to vehicle defects and recalls, mechanical failures can result from poor maintenance that leads to, for example, faulty tires, brakes and steering column. You should know that mechanical failure resulting from the owner's maintenance neglect is not a justification for an accident. A driver could be at fault for driving a vehicle that the driver should have known was defective. The owner could be at fault for not having proper maintenance and repair done on the vehicle. A mechanic could be at fault for not making a report of a defect on a mandatory inspection or for failing to make a proper repair to the vehicle.
An experienced auto collision lawyer like Geoff Aylward can ask the necessary questions and get the answers to determine if mechanical failure or defect was the result of at-fault negligence. He understands the tactics of auto insurance carriers, who are more inclined to protect their profits than anything else. Geoff knows insurance companies use liability and cause of accidents, including a mechanical defect, in their favor to either prevent full payout or deny claims. If your claim has been disputed, Geoff can help. In these situations, your claim will benefit from experienced and committed representation.
Environmental Causes of Car Accidents in Newfoundland & Labrador
Environmental causes of accidents generally refer to roadway or atmospheric conditions.
Drivers may hydro-plane in the ruts that are all too common on Newfoundland highways. Wet roads reduce stopping distances. Snow and ice reduce stopping distances and steering control. Rain, fog, and glare from the sun can reduce visibility.
Moose present a serious danger. Impact with a moose often causes a fatality or critical injury. At dusk and in the dark, moose are very difficult to see at daytime speeds and almost impossible to see in adverse weather conditions. Even on a divided highway, moose are not easily seen in the ditch that separates the traffic lanes. Branch roads from the Trans Canada often have narrow shoulders without much wood clearing on the sides. Moose are an increased hazard at certain times of the year. In low lying areas, by marshlands, moose are a special hazard. The government posts general and specific moose warning signs across the Trans Canada Highway. A driver who does not adjust for the moose hazard may very well be liable for a collision with these large animals. Do not assume the accident was inevitable and no one's fault. If you or a loved one has been injured in a moose-vehicle collision, contact an experienced automobile injury lawyer like Geoff Aylward.
Car Accidents: The Compensation You Deserve
At Geoff Aylward Law Office, we understand the pain and suffering people endure after an accident. Financial hardship often accompanies the physical and emotional impact of the accident. An injury can greatly impact a person's quality of life. Sometimes seemingly minor injuries develop into chronic long-term illnesses. Getting the compensation you deserve as soon as possible through the most efficient process is means to alleviating some of the stress and to helping clients get on with their lives.
To collect your compensation from an insurance carrier, whether it is your own or the at-fault party's insurer, can be overwhelming. There are deadlines. There are specific requirements. There are complicated supporting documentation requirements. If anything is missing or inaccurately completed, the insurance company will either dispute your claim altogether or reduce it.
You should immediately contact an experienced lawyer. At Geoff Aylward Law Office, you don't pay until you collect. His experience and knowledge of the law will give you comfort that your case is in good hands.
Geoff Aylward offers the following:
- Investigation and analysis of the car accident.
- Determination of cause(s).
- Legal analysis and arguments.
- The initial claim application and filing.
- Understanding your own claim and the issues. Geoff sees his role as obtaining the evidence, advising you and representing you. You are always in control of the case. Geoff will work hard on your claim as a lawyer. Ultimately he is a resource that you can rely on for information, advice, and representation.
- A lawsuit and all of the necessary measures to ensure that your claim is properly presented. You are your own best witness. It is important that you be prepared to present your case during pre-trial discovery. Geoff spends extensive time in preparing clients for discovery. His clients know what to expect. They are ready and comfortable with the process. As Geoff's client, the other lawyer will know that you are a believable witness who is comfortable with the Court case. Once you get past this step, the groundwork is usually in place for a successful settlement if the claim gets as far as discovery.
- Recovery of damages for past and future loss of income, present and future medical and rehabilitation expenses, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and pain & suffering.
- Assurance that the compensation you receive is what you deserve: fair and just.
Contact an experienced car and automobile accident lawyer like Geoff Aylward today. Time is of the essence. There is an outside time limit of two years. Other limits are much shorter and immediate. The sooner you have representation the more a lawyer can do on your behalf. There is no additional charge in hiring an experienced lawyer shortly after your claim. In fact, the lawyer can often be more effective with an early start on the claim.
Car Accident Lawyer: When to Contact One?
You should contact a car accident and personal injury lawyer as soon as the accident happens if you are able to do so. Of course, if you are injured, you want immediate medical assistance. But remember: evidence from accidents can disappear rather quickly, thus, collecting, preserving and organizing evidence is essential. The sooner you retain a car accident personal injury lawyer, the sooner the evidence can be gathered and analyzed, and the sooner a claim can be made and you can get back to your life.
At AylwardLaw.ca, you get the service you require and the personal attention you need. Geoff Aylward knows the law, the court system, and the insurance industry. He and his staff provide their services with compassion. They are always available to answer questions because they know in times like these, an unanswered question only adds weight to the stress you are already undergoing. Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Geoff Aylward today. If you need immediate after-hours assistance, Lawyer Geoff Aylward can be reached by text at 709-743-1708 or by email at [email protected].