There are many tasks to be done during the first two years of most claims. Some are done by clients and many are done by counsel. Initially, it is important for clients to contact their own insurer (often referred to as the ‘Section B’ insurer). Your Section B insurer will provide you with forms to be filled in by yourself, your doctor and (if you are off work) your employer. It is important to get these completed as soon as possible, as they will allow you to get reimbursed for medical treatments and start payments for total disability (where you are unable to work). Next, you will want to ensure that you are ‘educating’ your treatment providers – this means that you should be telling your treatment providers how your injuries are impacting your activities of daily living. You need to tell them a) what you are unable to do because of pain, b) what you can do but it is only with pain, and c) what you can do without pain – but you suffer pain afterwards.
It is not uncommon to see the Section B insurer try to ‘cut off’ the client’s benefits by sending the client to the Section B’s ‘expert’. This is where the lawyer needs to step in and ensure that the Section B insurer “crosses the I’s and dots the T’s” when it comes to the medical examination. The only purpose of such medical examinations by the Section B insurer is to cut off the client from benefits – there are good defences to such an attack. This is where good legal advice is invaluable.
During this time period, your lawyer should be providing the at-fault insurer with some of your medical documentation. The lawyer should be ‘vetting’ your medical documentation to ensure that only relevant and material documents are being sent to the at-fault insurer (this is why you should never provide a blanket Authorization to the at-fault insurer – they are not entitled to see your entire medical history). Your lawyer will also be obtaining the typewritten report from the police, along with witness statements. The lawyer will also obtain a ‘pre-court’ search that will list the registered owner of the other vehicle (as you must name both the owner and the driver of the vehicle on the Statement of Claim). One of the key responsibilities of the lawyer will be to draft the Statement of Claim and ensure that it gets filed at the Court of Queens’ Bench before the two-year limitation date.
During this time period, you should also be communicating with your lawyer every three or four months (more frequently if there are issues with your own insurer or there is a change in your symptoms or treatment). These exchanges are opportunities for both the client and the lawyer to ensure that everything is being done to get the client better and to also to ensure that the client’s claim for damages is maximized.