Six reasons to promptly retain a lawyer after a family member suffers a severe brain injury

If the injury is a traumatic brain injury, all of the following reasons are twice as important; patients cannot recover alone, and must rely upon family to look after things while they concentrate on healing.

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The Role of Expert Opinion in the Litigation Process

Introduction

The opinions of experts are a fundamental component in properly developing the personal injury case for the plaintiff or defence. In our practice at Webster & Associates we focus on catastrophic injuries, mainly brain injuries. It is not uncommon to have upwards of 10 experts involved in preparing the case for trial. Many of these are medical or quasi-medical and vocational but also often include labour economists and reconstruction engineers in British Columbia and elsewhere.

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Structured Judgments – Section 55 Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act R.S.B.C. 1996 c.231 (“Section 55”)

History

Structured judgment or periodic payment legislation in s. 55 of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act R.S.B.C. 1996 c.231 came into effect by regulation on February 1, 1998. This legislation was intended to be modeled on s.116 of the Courts of Justice Act of Ontario.

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Accessing Funding For Brain Injury Survivors

Introduction

Brian Webster, the founder of Webster & Associates, has been practicing brain injury litigation for over 30 years. He and his litigation team have successfully represented hundreds of survivors of traumatic brain injury throughout BC and around the world.

One of the key issues for all brain injury survivors is accessing funding for care and rehabilitation. Litigation against an insured defendant is often the best avenue for accessing funds, but this is not always available. Additionally insurance policy limits may or may not be sufficient to provide enough care for the brain injury survivor. For those who may be able to litigate, it is critical to have the advice and guidance of an experienced brain injury or neuro-lawyer to ensure the most available money goes to the survivor. In other situations it may be difficult to utilize legal counsel. The purpose of this paper is to provide the reader with an overview of the different methods, through which funds might be obtained, discuss the criteria, the funds available and considerations for access.

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Legal Issues Following Brain Injury

This is an introduction to legal issues, some or all of which will likely face survivors of traumatic brain injury or their families. I raise these issues and discuss them briefly with the expectation that readers will perhaps note them on first reading and then consider them again as the need arises. Discussion of these issues could fill a textbook by itself, so obviously this is just an introduction – something to make you aware when the issues require decisions or actions about which you must consult a lawyer. I can’t overstate the importance of this principle. This is at most a guide. It is essential to contact a competent lawyer for advice.

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Comparing approaches to MTBI within Canada and in the UK, the USA and Hong Kong

International medical and legal professionals examine different approaches to dealing with mild traumatic brain injury (MBTI), comparing the varying attitudes and methods between Canadian provinces as well as between Canada, the United Kingdom, United States and Hong Kong. 

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Court victory for pedestrian injured at a crosswalk

crosswalk

Webster & Associates has recently won an important court victory for  a pedestrian injured at a crosswalk. Our client, who had consumed a significant amount of alcohol prior to the accident, was struck by a speeding car while walking in an “unmarked” Vancouver crosswalk. He was thrown some 24 meters and suffered a severe brain injury. ICBC unsuccessfully defended the speeding driver.

The trial was heard in the Vancouver Supreme Court in February 2013. Mr. Daniel Corrin of Webster & Associates was counsel.

The evidence of independent witnesses and engineers showed clearly that driver had been driving at speeds of as much as 90 kph shortly before the collision. According to the “black box data recorder”, 4 seconds before collision in the vehicle slowed down to about 68- 70 kph, then to 66-68 three seconds before impact, 62-66 two seconds before impact and 62-64 one second before impact. The vehicle hit Mr. Alarcon while travelling at about 52-54 kph. Despite the high speeds and the fact that the driver’s vehicle only had his daytime running lights on, instead if his full headlights, ICBC and the driver attempted to blame the pedestrian for his injuries. They argued that the pedestrian should have seen the speeding car and got out of the way in time to avoid the collision. They also argued that his alcohol consumption impaired the Mr. Alarcon’s ability to take proper care of his own safety. Justice S. Griffin did not agree.

In the recent judgment pronounced March 11, 2013 the court found the vehicle driver 100% responsible for the collision and Mr. Alarcon’s injuries. She found that the driver was simply not paying the proper attention he should have been paying under the circumstances. While Mr. Alarcon had consumed significant quantities of alcohol prior to being struck, Justice Griffin found no evidence to show that his alcohol use had affected his ability to pay proper attention to the approaching traffic or that alcohol had contributed to his injuries.

This case also points to the valuable role that “black box” or crash data can play in a trial. This data was only obtained by Webster & Associates through persistence in the discovery process.

 

Second Opinions – Get Peace of Mind and the Best Lawyer Working for You

Many of our clients, including one featured in a recent testimonial, have had a previous lawyer before coming to Webster & Associates. A few even had two, three, or even four previous lawyers before coming to us. Some were told (incorrectly) that they didn’t have a good case and some were actually fired by their lawyers.

There are lots of reasons why you might want to change lawyers. The litigation process can be very stressful and if you are unhappy or concerned that you may not be receiving the best legal support, the worry and anxiety can be increased.

If you are concerned about your legal representation, you should know that asking for a second opinion about your case or even changing lawyers is not difficult and usually costs nothing more.

Here are five things you may not know:

  1. You have the right to ask another lawyer for a second opinion.
  2.  

  3. Asking for a second opinion doesn’t mean you have to leave your current lawyer. A second opinion may provide you with comfort that you are in good hands or the knowledge that you aren’t.
  4.  

  5. At Webster & Associates, we are always prepared to talk to someone who has suffered (or whose family member has suffered) a severe brain or spinal cord injury and who is thinking about changing lawyers or seeking a second opinion. These discussions are always confidential. If we agree to provide a second opinion it is always without charge or obligation.
  6.  

  7. Changing lawyers will usually not cost you extra. If you do decide to hire Webster & Associates in place of your current lawyer, this generally comes at no extra cost to you. In most cases we pay your former lawyer’s fees out of our own legal fees so you don’t pay more.
  8.  

  9. We can work with your lawyer. Some lawyers recognize that their client’s injuries are so complex that they don’t have the knowledge or experience their client needs. They may choose to refer their client to us to ensure their client’s needs are fully met. We are always happy to hear from counsel about their clients and will cooperate to ensure both the client and the lawyer’s interests are protected.

Considering getting a second opinion? Read D.P.’s story – a second opinion with Webster & Associates resulted in the maximum insurance settlement for her injured daughter.

Want to talk?
Give us a call toll free at 1-877-873-0699 or email us at info@braininjurylaw.ca

Five Things You Don’t Want to Hear from Your Lawyer

Over the years, I have talked to a lot of clients and potential clients who are seeking compensation (for themselves or their loved ones) for a severe brain or spinal cord injury. I have heard a number of interesting stories about their experiences dealing with other lawyers — some have been upsetting, some frustrating and some funny. I want to share with you my top five.

Here are five things you do not want to hear from your lawyer if you (or your loved one) are seeking compensation for a severe brain injury or spinal cord injury:

  1. “I’m a brain or spinal cord injury lawyer. I also do wills, estates,
    conveyances or divorces.”

    No lawyers can do everything well.
  2. “This is my first brain injury or paralysis case so I’m happy to get the
    experience.”

    Do you want to take the risk?
  3. “Maybe you could do it yourself in Small Claims Court.”
    This is no joke! B.C. Small Claims maximum recovery is only $25,000. Far, far short
    of what a very serious case is worth.
  4. “We will need you to fund expenses in the amount of about $10,000 (or
    a similar amount).”

    I’m sorry to say it, but the expenses that are required to properly fund a serious
    brain injury case are likely to be more in the range of $50,000 – $100,000, or even
    more. If your lawyer doesn’t know this, he or she clearly doesn’t know what is
    required. Many firms that handle very serious cases will have the ability to carry
    the expenses for the life of the file and get them reimbursed when the case
    resolves. If your law firm can’t do so, it may not have the capacity to fully manage
    the case.
  5. “Cut back on the rehab. You are (or your loved one is) getting “too
    much  better” and the case isn’t worth as much as I thought it would
    be!”

    This one makes me really angry. The mother of one of my very seriously injured clients was told this by her former lawyer just before she fired him. Like every injured person, her child has only one life to live and only one chance at the best recovery possible. Every lawyer should do whatever possible to encourage, assist and support their client’s rehabilitation. If they aren’t doing that, whose interests are they serving?

If you or your loved one are seeking compensation for a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, please make sure you retain experienced legal representation who understand the complex medical, as well as legal, nuances of such cases and who prioritize your (or your loved ones) care and rehabilitation above all else.

Injured while jaywalking – who is at fault? Pedestrian or Driver?

Jaywalking. We all do it on occasion.

Jaywalking – We walk across a roadway not at an intersection — we “jaywalk.” Most times it is generally safe to do this, there are no consequences to anyone, and we go on our way without thinking too much about what had just happened.

But what happens if a collision occurs?

If a pedestrian is injured after being struck by a car while jaywalking, ICBC will almost always tell you it’s your fault.
But the reality is that the courts do not necessarily split liability that way.

At Brain & Injury Law (Webster & Associates), we have had many clients who were hit by vehicles when they tried to walk across a roadway. Often the injuries are very serious. Sometimes the pedestrian is a child who darts onto a road to chase a ball. Sometimes the pedestrian is intoxicated or ill and not paying careful attention when the collision occurs. Often the results are tragic. However, even if the pedestrian did not pay proper attention and contributed to the collision, this may not be the end of the issue.

The courts require motorists to drive cautiously and keep a lookout for pedestrians, especially for those who may be intoxicated or impaired, or for individuals such as young children, who may not be able to fully look out for their own interests. Even a completely competent adult may not be 100% at fault if the driver (who was paying proper attention) could have stopped in time to avoid a collision.

In a very recent case, called Murdoch v. Biggers, 2012 BCSC 747, a 53 year old woman was hit while running to catch a bus. Even though the plaintiff acted recklessly when running across a Victoria street against a red light, the court found that the driver of the vehicle that struck her bore some of the responsibility. If the driver had kept a better lookout the collision would have been avoided. The court awarded the plaintiff 25% of the value of her injuries.

If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured while jaywalking call us to see whether we can assist you.

Contact us today.

Tel: 604.713.8030
Toll free: 1.877.873.0699
Email: info@braininjurylaw.ca