For 30 years, our personal injury lawyers have been dedicated to ensuring that New Brunswick residents who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents are fully compensated for their injuries.
Insurance companies make profits by minimizing how much they pay out in insurance claims. The first offer made is not always the best, and the injury claim is frequently undervalued. Although the legal process can take time, a strong case and the threat of courtroom litigation can encourage an insurer to offer a fair settlement. In fact, the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. An experienced personal injury lawyer will advocate for you and make sure that you receive any eligible compensation that the insurer may otherwise refuse to acknowledge.
When a car accident occurs, there are two insurance companies who are involved: your insurance company, also known as the Section B insurer, and the insurance company for the at-fault driver, known as the Section A insurer. The relationship between yourself and each of these insurers will be very different.
What if the at-fault driver and I have the same insurer?
As large insurers merge and absorb other automobile insurers, it is more likely that the same insurer will be on both sides of a personal injury claim. Thus, it is common for your insurance company to be the same as the insurer for the at-fault driver.
If your insurer and the at-fault driver’s insurer are the same insurance company, this can raise some ethical issues that you should be aware of. Since you are on opposite sides of a legal issue, the insurance company should keep your file and your information separate from the at-fault driver’s file and information. Even though your adjuster and the at-fault driver’s adjuster work for the same insurance company, and may even work in the same office, they are not supposed to share any information about the case.
In short, the Section A insurer is your adversary and has no obligation to do anything for your benefit until a Court orders them to. However, Section B is involved in a contractual relationship with you, and owes you a duty to help you to receive any benefits provided for under your insurance policy.
Backed by the extensive experience of our entire team, our law firm will guide you through the steps in the legal process, and what types of benefits are available to you. If you are not receiving the compensation you are entitled to, we will step in and fight for your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What should I do right after a car accident has occurred?
If you’ve been injured in an accident at the fault of another, follow these steps to ensure that you can recover compensation and benefits.
- Call 911
- If for any reason you do not call 911, report the accident to the police, so they can create a file
According to Section 130(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act, RSNB 1973, drivers in New Brunswick are obligated to immediately report to the police any incident resulting in injury or death to any individual, or property damage exceeding $1,000.
Aside from the legal obligation, having the police present at the accident scene can prove beneficial in documenting an unbiased account of the accident. A police report can serve as crucial evidence in substantiating a personal injury claim and proving who was at fault.
- Gather information from the other driver and witnesses
While at the accident site, obtain insurance information from the at fault party and record the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties and witnesses involved. It is recommended to gather as much information as possible. One way of doing this is, if you have a cell phone, use it to take pictures of all important information; take a picture of the other driver’s license plate and insurance card, for instance.
- Take notes on the scene of the collision
It is important to record as much information about the accident scene as you can, including the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather conditions, and the speed of travel and direction of each vehicle involved. Describing the road conditions is also crucial: Were the roads wet or dry, icy or snow-covered, with potholes or ruts, gravel or paved? Were traffic lines clearly marked, and was it a straight stretch or on a grade or hill crest? Was anything obstructing the view, and did the road have a shoulder? It is important to note any traffic control present, such as street signs and stop signs near the collision location and whether it was in a slow zone. This may become important evidence if you decide to take legal action.
- Take photographs
Photographs of the scene, including the vehicles involved and any nearby property damage, as well as photos of your injuries, can be used as evidence in a personal injury claim. If possible, try to take photos of the scene of the accident before any vehicles are moved/towed.
- Seek treatment from medical professionals
It is important to promptly seek medical attention from healthcare providers, such as your family doctor, a hospital, or a walk-in clinic, for any injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision. Medical records documenting your treatment history serve as very important evidence in a personal injury claim. Additionally, it is recommended to complete any prescribed treatment to facilitate your recovery. If you incur out of pocket medical expenses, you can seek reimbursement through insurance.
- Notify your auto insurer
Contact your own insurance provider to report the accident. If you intend to claim coverage for any damage to your vehicle, you may be required to provide a police report number. Your insurance coverage may extend to cover medical treatment for any injuries sustained, such as physiotherapy or massage therapy.
- Seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer
Before providing a statement to an insurer or accepting a settlement offer, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced personal injury lawyer. At MacGillivray Law, we offer a free consultation where we will review the facts of your case, evaluate any settlement offers, and explain your legal rights.
Do I have to make a statement to the insurance company?
Statements to the insurer for the at-fault driver
If you’ve sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence and are asked by the other driver’s insurer to provide a written or oral statement, you should consult a car accident lawyer before responding. You are not obligated to provide a statement to the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company is your adversary. They have no legal obligation to help you or to provide you with compensation. They are insuring a third party, not you; this means that their obligations are to their stakeholders and a third party, and not to your best interests.
It is important to exercise caution with the information you provide when giving a statement to an insurance company following an accident. Anything you say could potentially be used to weaken your case, so it’s important to be mindful of the details you provide. Although it’s essential to be honest and forthcoming, insurance adjusters can sometimes take parts of your statement out of context or interpret them in ways that do not align with your original intentions. This could result in the insurance company undervaluing your case or accusing you of being dishonest. Accident lawyers help protect you from having your statements misconstrued.
If you do decide to provide a statement to the insurer, here are some tips from our lawyers:
- Answer only the questions asked and don’t volunteer additional information.
- If you don’t know an answer, clearly state, “I don’t know.”
- Stick to the basic facts of the accident.
- Do not acknowledge any fault.
- Do not exaggerate or downplay your injuries or any problems caused by your accident injuries – be honest.
- Do not accept a settlement without reviewing it with a lawyer or performing research.
- Keep it simple.
Statements to your insurance company
If you are injured in an accident in New Brunswick, your insurer is called the Section B Accident Benefits insurer. You are in a contractual relationship with your Section B insurer, which means that you and your insurer have obligations and duties to one another under your contract. One of the duties of an individual injured in a car accident is to provide their Section B insurer with all of the information they need to adjust your claim. If your Section B insurer wants to discuss the facts surrounding the accident or your injuries, you must cooperate if you wish to remain entitled to Section B benefits.
How to prove who is at fault in a car accident in New Brunswick?
Proving fault in a car accident falls under the injury law principles of negligence. You prove fault in a motor vehicle accident by showing that a person’s driving was in contravention of motor vehicle laws, or was otherwise substandard. Negligence in personal injury law refers to the failure of a party to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person. In order to prove negligence, four criteria must be met:
- Duty of Care is owed: A duty of care is a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid harm to others through your acts or omissions. A duty of care is owed between all drivers on the road, and there is an expectation that all motorists will be held to the same standard in keeping themselves and others safe when operating a motor vehicle.
- Breach of the Standard of Care: The standard of care can be determined by looking at traffic rules for New Brunswick, as well as the standards expected of a reasonable person. The standard of care is breached when someone fails to comply with traffic laws or does not take “reasonable care” driving in the circumstances. An example of failing to meet the standard of care is distracted driving, such as texting while driving. Accident lawyers will use evidence such as testimony from drivers and passengers, witness testimony, police reports, surveillance footage, accident reconstruction specialist reports, and cell phone records to prove that the other driver breached the standard of care.
- Causation: Causation requires that the actions or inactions of the negligent driver led to the injuries suffered by the other party.
- Damages: Damages (or losses) must have occurred. Without damages, there is no personal injury case. Damages may include medical expenses, income loss, difficulty performing household chores, or general pain and suffering.
What if you are partially at fault for an accident injury?
New Brunswick’s Fault Determination Regulation – Insurance Act is used to determine who bears the fault for a particular type of accident. In some accident cases, fault is shared between multiple parties. If the injured person’s actions (or inactions) have contributed to their injuries, they will be considered contributorily negligent and deemed partially at fault. Failing to wear a seatbelt is a common reason that injured people are found contributorily negligent in a car accident. Under New Brunswick’s Insurance Act, an injury victim’s award for damages will be automatically reduced by 25% for failing to wear a seatbelt. However, you can avoid this reduction if you can prove that not wearing a seatbelt did not contribute to your injuries.
In Jones v. Chabot,  N.B.J. No. 168, the plaintiff filed a claim seeking damages for personal injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2010. The plaintiff was a backseat passenger and was pushed forward by the impact, causing her shoulder to hit the front seat. She suffered from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, a frozen right shoulder, depression, and anxiety as a result of the accident. The court determined that the plaintiff was either not wearing her seatbelt or did not have it properly fastened, so her damage award was reduced by 25%.
Experienced personal injury lawyers will work to minimize the impact contributory negligence has on your claim. Book a free consultation to learn more.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in New Brunswick?
If you are injured in a car accident in New Brunswick, you have two years to file a claim with the Court as dictated by the Limitation of Actions Act, SNB 2009, c L-8.5. This deadline can potentially be extended in special circumstances, however it is best to assume that you only have two years to file your lawsuit.
Some exceptions to the two year limitation include: if someone is under the age of 19 at the time of the accident, the time limit does not begin to run until they turn 19, meaning they would have until their 21st birthday (two years later) to file their claim. Also, if someone is disabled in such a way that their mental capacity is seriously compromised – such that they cannot manage or understand their own affairs – the limitation period may not apply to them.
It is important to consider hiring a lawyer early on in the legal process, rather than waiting until closer to the expiry of the limitation period. Some of the advantages of retaining a lawyer early on after suffering injuries in a car accident include:
- The lawyer can file your claim with the Court, to preserve your rights if you decide to proceed to litigation.
- The lawyer will gather all of the important information for your claim – your medical records, treatment charts, police report; and they will request reports from your treatment providers as evidence.
- The lawyer can assist you in dealing with your Section B insurer to help get immediate assistance towards lost wages and medical treatment expenses.
- The lawyer can help you decide if and when to give a statement to the Section A insurer, help you prepare to make the process easier, and attend the statement with you.
- In more serious cases, the lawyer can request special reports from independent doctors to get opinions and treatment plans related to your accident injuries. These are called independent medical examinations.
- The lawyer can retain different kinds of experts to strengthen your claim by proving fault or showing the effects of the accident; this can include engineers, actuaries, therapists, psychologists, and more.
- The lawyer will make themselves aware of case law and damages awarded by the Courts in circumstances similar to yours, to ensure you’re asking for a fair settlement.
- The lawyer can provide advice on the pros and cons of settling or continuing to the next steps in the legal process.
- If you are disabled because of your accident injuries, the lawyer can help you to access benefits.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, schedule a free consultation with our legal team to learn about the limitation period applicable to your injury case.
How much is my personal injury claim worth?
The extent of your injuries is a major factor that a lawyer considers to determine the value of your personal injury claim. Similar to car accidents that range from minor fender benders to catastrophic head-on collisions, the extent of our clients’ injuries also varies, ranging from a minor injury, such as whiplash or a soft tissue injury, to a more serious injury, such as bone fractures or back injuries, to the most severe injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, paraplegia, or quadriplegia. Injuries can also be less visible, such as chronic pain or psychological injuries like post traumatic stress disorder.
A lawyer will assess the extent and impact of your injuries to determine fair compensation.
Damages are monetary awards intended to compensate you for any losses you’ve suffered, financial or otherwise, as a result of your accident injuries. When determining the value of a personal injury claim, there are several categories of compensation that you may be entitled to recover from the negligent driver. These are called heads of damages. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate each head of damages to determine what compensation you are entitled to.
Damages that you can seek in personal injury claims include medical care costs, lost wages for time missed from work since the accident, housekeeping costs incurred due to your inability to perform those activities, future income loss if your injuries make it difficult to keep certain jobs or perform certain work-related tasks, and general pain and suffering, called “general damages”. To learn more about these heads of damages and review general damage amounts the courts have awarded for different types of injuries, you can refer to our General Damages Guide. Additionally, you can use our Injury Claim Calculator to better understand how injury lawyers assess the compensation you can recover.
Minor injury cap
The minor injury cap is a threshold that applies to the general damages award for minor injuries. Generally, this cap applies to injuries that are not considered permanent or serious enough to significantly affect daily living or work. For an accident that took place in 2023, the current minor injury cap in New Brunswick is $9,182.57.
Section B insurance benefits
After an accident, you may also be eligible for no-fault benefits. These benefits are paid by your own insurance company and cover necessary medical treatment and other associated costs, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Don’t settle for less
Each client’s injuries, circumstances, and background are unique. An experienced New Brunswick car accident lawyer will assess the accident circumstances, the extent of your injuries, collect all necessary evidence including expert reports, and research relevant court decisions to determine fair compensation. Book a free consultation to learn your legal options.
How does car insurance work in New Brunswick?
There is a standard automobile insurance policy that is mandatory for all drivers in New Brunswick. This policy is divided into four sections which each provide a different type of coverage.
Section A in New Brunswick applies in situations where you are injured by a negligent driver. You can make a Section A claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Section B provides financial support for certain medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, housekeeping costs, and funeral and death expenses resulting from an auto accident. This is “no fault” coverage, meaning it applies regardless of who was at fault for the accident. These benefits come from your own insurer or that of the driver of the vehicle you were in as a passenger during the accident. Learn more about Section B benefits in New Brunswick.
Section C covers the cost of damage to your vehicle caused by an accident. Although this is often included in the standard automobile insurance policy, it is not mandatory in New Brunswick. Review your own insurance policy to determine if your property damage is covered.
Finally, Section D provides insurance coverage when you are injured by an uninsured or unidentified driver, such as in a hit and run. Learn more about Section D insurance here.
Our car accident lawyers represent clients making claims under Section A, Section B, and Section D.
Other types of motor vehicle collisions
At MacGillivray Law, our personal injury lawyers help people who have been injured in many types of motor vehicle accidents, not just car accidents, including pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, ATV accidents, boat accidents, and snowmobile accidents. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact our legal team today for a free consultation.
Book a free consultation
Our injury lawyers have helped thousands of car accident clients recover compensation for their injuries through successful legal representation. When you hire a lawyer from our Moncton law firm, you’ll also benefit from the resources and knowledge of our whole team across Atlantic Canada. If you cannot travel to our office in Moncton, we travel to meet with seriously injured people across New Brunswick, and meet with clients by phone and virtually.
Under our contingency fee agreement, our fees are a percentage of your settlement or award, so we work in your best interest to maximize the compensation you receive. We’ll be with you throughout the whole process to answer any questions, communicate with your insurer, and fight for the benefits you deserve. Book a free consultation to learn your legal options.
Have questions for our team?
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are Section B or "no-fault" insurance benefits?
- How can a lawyer help with my personal injury claim?
- Should I accept the settlement my insurance company offers me?
- How much is my injury claim worth?
- How can I help my personal injury lawsuit to get the best settlement?
- How long does a personal injury claim take?
What Our Clients Say...
“Okay, here goes. This Law Firm was absolutely amazing. They pulled a rabbit from a hat on my behalf, thank you so much guys.”
“From my first meeting to my last meeting I was always treated with the greatest professionalism. All the staff are very polite and helpful.”
“After being rear ended while stopped at a red light by a driver who was preoccupied with something else, I have been dealing with whiplash. I contacted MacGillivray Injury and Insurance Law. MacGillivray took care of everything and with ease…”
“My experience at was very positive from start to finish. Nicolle Snow was very professional and an excellent injury lawyer.”
“I wish I could give this company more than 5 stars… Awesome law firm, friendly and with you every step of the way.”
“Daniel Wood from MacGillivray Law took care of my insurance claims from not one, but two car accidents. Daniel worked hard, kept me well-informed, and ensured my settlements were well above what I had been initially offered.”
“After being denied LTD on several occasions, I decided to hire MacGillivray Law. They are professional, thorough, and very caring.
They got my case resolved in less than a year and got a settlement I am happy with.”
“Very happy with the staff and their tenacity, honesty, and communications while handling my claim. This firm came highly recommended by a friend, and for good reason – extremely professional and forthcoming with as much information as possible.”
“In 2020 I was in a car accident. The team at MacGillivray Law was able to secure an amount that would take care of future treatments as well as adequate compensation for overall damages. I cannot thank them enough for making this process seamless and we will always be a MacGillivray Law family.”
“MacGillivary Law are absolutely wonderful to work with! I would recommend their team to anyone that needs their services. And a special thank you to Madison Veinotte, who gave me hope, guidance and understanding when I needed it the most.”
“From day one, I felt comfortable with Melanie at MacGillivray Law. She led the way with her expertise and knowledge, and I never felt pressured in any way. I am very satisfied with everyone that I dealt with.”
MacGillivray Law is a personal injury law firm with offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. We serve clients all across Canada.
If you cannot travel to one of our offices, we will accommodate your circumstances and travel needs. We can provide a consultation by phone, Zoom, or FaceTime, or travel to meet you in your home when required.
If you would like to learn your legal options at no obligation, contact us today to set up a free consultation.