I’m often asked how much is the person’s claim worth when they first meet with me. Generally anyone that will tell you what your claim is worth on the first meeting is inexperienced or ill-informed (or both). The reason for this is that your family doctor will be unwilling to give a prognosis (i.e. an opinion on what the future holds in terms of your injuries) until you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (‘MMI’).
In practical terms, you will not reach MMI until you have exhausted all reasonable means of treating your injuries; treatments may include visits to specialists, medications, facet joint injections, chiropractic/physio/massage therapy and even surgery. In order to properly assess your injuries you will need to ensure that you are at MMI and your family physician (and other treatment providers) are willing and able to provide you with a future prognosis for your injuries. Typically when a client reaches MMI I’ll advise them to wait an additional 3 months before entering into settlement negotiations just to be sure that their condition is stable.
Next week I’ll deal with the ‘Trilogy’ – 3 cases where the Supreme Court of Canada limited the amount of damages that can be claimed for ‘pain and suffering’ in any injury case.