Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Edmonton

Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Edmonton

Car accidents are a leading cause of injury in Canada, with over 100,000 people a year injured in motor vehicle collisions. While there are a set of preventative actions you may take to mitigate the risk of an accident, the unfortunate reality is you cannot control the behaviour of your fellow road users. Adverse weather conditions, the influence of intoxicants, or even a momentary lapse in judgment can lead to devastating consequences.

If you have been injured in a car accident as a result of another driver's negligence, you may be eligible to receive compensation. This may be invaluable in covering the costs of medical and rehabilitative treatments, income lost during your time of recovery, and potentially more. Contact our Edmonton personal injury lawyers to discuss your particular case, and see how Verhaeghe Law may be able to help you.

First Moments After a Car Accident in Edmonton

The first moments after a car accident can be confusing. Your body might be in shock. Depending on where the accident took place, other people may be around, responding in any number of ways.

If it is safe to do so, take stock of the situation. Check in on yourself - have you been injured? Has anyone in your vehicle been injured? Assess the status of any other people affected, be they in another car or pedestrians, cyclists, or other road users.

Call 911 immediately if:

  • Somebody has died, or is in danger of dying.
  • Somebody has been seriously injured and needs medical attention. This includes any cyclists or pedestrians that may have been hit.
  • One or more of the drivers have been driving while intoxicated.
  • You have reason to suspect the other vehicle is stolen.
  • There has been an assault.
  • The collision involves an uninsured or suspended driver (be mindful that not having an insurance card is not necessarily proof that the vehicle is uninsured).
  • Damage has been done to municipal, highway, or private property.

If in doubt, call 911 and relay the information you have. The safety of everyone involved is paramount.

Getting Out of Harm's Way

If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle off the road and turn on the hazard lights. If your car is unable to move, turn on the hazard lights and set up road flares, if you have them.

Emotions often run high in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Remember to take a deep breath, and keep in mind that this is likely a stressful situation for every single person involved. Getting out of harm's way includes physical safety, but it also includes being mindful of the ways in which you interact with others.

As much as possible, try to maintain composure as you focus on the necessities of the task at hand: ensuring that everyone is safe, and collecting information about the accident.

Collecting Information After a Car Accident

Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including any vehicles involved, any property that may have been damaged, the conditions of the road, and anything else you think may be relevant.

Exchange contact information with the other driver(s), including their name, phone number, email address, and home address. Take a photo of their insurance, driver's license, license plate, and any other identifying information about the vehicle (e.g. its make, model, and colour).

Write down the names and contact information of anyone else who was involved or witnessed the accident. This may be useful should you choose to pursue a personal injury claim.

Reporting Damage

If the combined damage of all vehicles involved exceeds $2000, you must report it to the police. Failure to do so may result in a fine.

As soon as possible, report your accident to a Collision Report Centre near you. This involves taking your vehicle to the collision centre, either by driving it yourself or by having it towed there. You must report a collision in the jurisdiction where it occurred.

If the total damage is less than $2000, you may be able to file a claim directly with an insurance company.

Speak With an Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyer

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. If your injuries from the accident were caused by the negligent actions or inactions of another person, you may be able to recover a monetary sum to cover the costs of damages you have incurred.

From medical bills to ongoing treatments, the need of attendant care, and wages you may have to forego while you focus on your recovery, and more, the costs of a personal injury can accrue substantially.

At Verhaeghe Law, we understand the stressful nature of navigating a personal injury claim while also striving to heal. When you speak with our Edmonton personal injury lawyers at your initial consultation, we will listen carefully to your story, and provide insights into possible next steps. It is our goal to ease your stress and provide you with the guidance you need to make informed decisions.

Contact Our Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyers Today For a Consultation

Car accidents can be profoundly traumatic on both a physical and emotional level. The resulting injuries may forever alter the course of a person's life. If you have been injured in an accident caused by another person's negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. This financial support may be pivotal in offsetting the costs of medical treatments, attendant care, lost income, and more.

Each case is unique, and what may be possible for you will depend on many factors. Contact our Edmonton personal injury lawyers today to schedule your dedicated consultation, and learn how we may be of service to you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of personal injury law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta personal injury lawyer

An Overview of Section B Benefits in Alberta

An Overview of Section B Benefits in Alberta

Under the Alberta Insurance Act, every automobile insurance contract across the province must include a standard set of accident benefits. A person involved in a car accident may access these benefits to help cover costs associated with medical treatment, disability support, and more. Found in section B of this standard automobile insurance contract, they are referred to as “Section B Benefits.”

If you have questions about Section B Benefits, or are in need of legal advice regarding a particular case, contact our Edmonton Section B Benefits lawyers today and schedule a free consultation. 

Eligibility for Section B Benefits

Any insured person who is a resident of Alberta is eligible for Section B Benefits, whether or not they were at fault for the accident. This is known as “no-fault” benefits. The definition of “insured person” covers more than just the individual who owns the insured vehicle. It can also apply to the spouse or children of the vehicle owner, an occupant of the vehicle at the time the accident occurred, or a pedestrian struck by the insured car. 

You may be eligible for Section B Benefits even if you are uninsured, or if you were driving someone else’s car. To discuss your specific circumstances, schedule a free consultation with our Edmonton Section B Benefits lawyers today. 

What do Section B Benefits Cover?

Section B Benefits can cover medical expenses, expenses associated with death and disability, as well as costs associated with accidents that occur in no-fault jurisdictions outside Alberta. 

The benefits available to a given individual will vary depending on the specific nature and scope of their injuries. In general, Section B Benefits pay up to $50,000 for any medically necessary treatments for injuries that arise within two years of the car accident in question - in the event said treatments are not already covered by Alberta Health Care or other insurance.

Medical Benefits

Examples of medical costs that may be covered by Section B Benefits include:

  • Ambulance services
  • Hospital services
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical equipment
  • Medication
  • Prosthetics
  • Medication
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Acupuncture (up to $250)
  • Chiropractic care (cup to $750)
  • Massage therapy (up to $250)
  • And more

Disability Benefits

If the injuries caused by the accident have led to you being unable to work, you may be eligible for disability benefits under Section B. These benefits are intended to provide financial support while you recover, and are calculated as a percentage (80%) of your gross weekly earnings. The maximum is $400 a week, for up to two years.

Disability benefits can be accessed even if you have other benefits available to you, such as through employment insurance. In this case, Section B Benefits can “top up” other disability benefits, up to the aforementioned maximum of $400/week, for up to two years.

Contact Our Edmonton Section B Benefits Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Following an injurious accident, many stressors may add up. Physical pain, stress about losing work due to your injuries, debts incurred in the process of your recovery, and more, may contribute to feelings of overwhelm. There is no need to navigate the insurance system alone. Contact our Edmonton Section B Benefits lawyers today to discuss your unique case, and learn what options may be available for you.

** Please be advised, this article is intended as a general overview on a legal subject, and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common in Alberta The Bishop Case

Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common in Alberta The Bishop Case

When a person dies, their estate is typically distributed amongst their beneficiaries. This may be their spouse, children, grandchildren, or other individuals named in the deceased’s last will and testament. If the deceased co-owned property in a joint tenancy with another person, then the surviving title-holder usually gains full ownership of said property through the automatic right of survivorship.

However, there are some exceptions. In a 2022 case involving a contested division of property, a beneficiary successfully argued that her deceased father’s joint tenancy with his ex-wife had been severed, and therefore the ex-wife would not assume the automatic right of survivorship.

This case illustrates an important consideration for divorcing couples who co-own property, as it is possible for a court to rule a joint tenancy severed. To learn more on how to navigate division of property through a separation or divorce, or what to do when the division of estate assets is contested, contact our Edmonton estate administration lawyers for a consultation.

Joint Tenancy vs Tenancy in Common

Both joint tenancy and tenancy in common are terms referring to co-ownership of an estate. In a joint tenancy, the co-owners share undivided possession of the property, commencing simultaneously and through the same conveyance, and with a shared interest. Joint tenancy is likewise characterized by the right of survivorship, meaning that if one joint tenant dies, the other(s) automatically assume ownership of the property.

A tenancy in common, meanwhile, has only the unity of possession, and no right of survivorship. A tenant in common may make decisions regarding their share of the property independent of their fellow owners. They may, for instance, bequeath their interest to beneficiaries through a will.

A joint tenancy may severed and made into a tenancy in common in one of three ways:

  1. Mutual agreement between joint tenants;
  2. The sale of one or more tenants’ interest in the property; or
  3. Providing evidence that the co-owners have treated the property as a tenancy in common.

The distinction between joint tenancy and tenancy in common lies at the centre of the aforementioned 2022 case.

The Bishop Case

David Bishop was married to Theresa Louise May for many years, then divorced in 2013 following a long separation. As joint tenants, they co-owned a house in Calgary. Bishop died intestate, meaning he did not have a will, leaving behind three children from a previous relationship as his beneficiaries. 

Following Bishop’s death, May sold the property, intending to receive the entirety of the proceeds as the surviving joint tenant. Bishop’s daughter, Stephanie Drag, contested this. While May was indeed a joint tenant on the property title, she had not lived at the property in many years, and Bishop had assumed the vast majority of costs associated with its upkeep. Additionally, there was corroborated evidence that Bishop and May had a verbal agreement that she would receive $100,000 from the property’s proceeds after his death. This constituted just over one-third of the total proceeds amount.

Having weighed the considerations presented before the court, Honourable Mr. Justice O.P. Malik ruled that the joint tenancy had been severed, and should be treated as a tenancy in common. May would get her agreed-upon share, and the remainder would go to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Considerations in Divorce Cases

The Bishop case illuminates a key consideration for couples in questions concerning property, estates, probates and wills. Whether entering into a marriage or common-law relationship, or navigating a separation or divorce, it is important to specify how property will be divided after the death of one of the co-owners.

As in the Bishop case, this consideration can be especially nuanced when there is involvement of beneficiaries such as children from another relationship. Clear, informed documentation, including the preparation of a last will and testament, can help mitigate confusion and conflict following a property-owner’s death.

Contact Our Edmonton Estate Administration Lawyers Today for a Consultation

It is unfortunate that the process of estate administration is not always smooth, particularly where a divorce or separation is involved. Our Edmonton estate administration lawyers can discuss the specifics of your circumstances, and may be able to help you navigate a range of property division questions, from divorce considerations to estate litigation, and more. Contact us today to learn how we may be of service to you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on a legal subject, and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After A Separation Or Divorce

Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After A Separation Or Divorce

Co-parenting after a divorce or separation is different from parenting together as a couple. It can take work to make the transition. While the co-parenting relationship that you develop should always focus on the best interests of your children, it can take a variety of forms, depending on the relationship you have with your co-parent and with your children.

Our Edmonton family lawyers may be able to provide more tips for successful co-parenting after a divorce or separation.

Keep Your Children's Best Interests in Mind

Children are generally resilient, and are likely to cope well with their parents' separation - provided the parents make an effort to keep any conflict between them to a minimum.

When navigating joint custody, some tips to reduce conflict in your dealings with your co-parent include:

  • - Keep communications brief, formal, and focused on the children.
  • - Be polite and respectful when dealing with your co-parent.
  • - Put aside your personal feelings towards your co-parent and concentrate on the best interests of the children.
  • - Set ground rules about communications (for example, each co-parent will respond to emails within 24 hours, or you could set a regular schedule for communicating with the co-parent to avoid receiving several texts per day).
  • - Avoid using sarcasm, especially in written communications, where misunderstandings can easily occur.

Get Professional Help

Developing an effective and healthy co-parenting relationship can take time and effort, but it does not need to be something you and your co-parent work on alone. Your family lawyer may be able to help ensure that your children's legal rights are taken care of, so that you can focus on parenting. Your lawyer can refer you to a number of co-parenting resources, including:

  • - Alberta's Parenting After Separation course gives newly separated co-parents some basic tools for co-parenting.
  • - Therapy for you and/or your co-parent (either together or separately, however you are most comfortable) may help you both learn to communicate in new ways that are necessary in order to co-parent.
  • - Therapy for your children or you and your child together may help your child to cope generally and improve your communication with each other and help to solidify the expectations you have of each other now that the living situation and family dynamics have changed.
  • - Parenting coaches, who are often mental health professionals, who work with co-parents to help them develop new strategies and problem-solving skills with respect to co-parenting.
  • - Parenting coordinators, who may be lawyers, psychologists, social workers, or mediators. They help co-parents reach agreements about the children. If the parents agree, they may also act as arbitrators in the event the co-parents are unable to reach a particular decision.
  • - Mediators and arbitrators can be helpful, particularly immediately after separation, when difficult and important decisions need to be made, such as where will the children live and what will be the parenting schedule. They may also be useful in the future if one co-parent proposes a major change affecting the children, such as moving with the children.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

If you are separated or divorced and looking for support in shaping your co-parenting strategy, our Edmonton family lawyers would be happy to address your questions and help you and your family navigate this time of change. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how our family lawyers may be able to help you.

*Please note that the information presented in this article is not intended as legal advice. It is an introductory overview on the subject of co-parenting after a separation or divorce. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

How To Annul A Marriage In Alberta

How To Annul A Marriage In Alberta

An annulment of a marriage is a court order declaring that the marriage was invalid and, as a result, did not exist. They are rarely granted because the grounds for obtaining one can be difficult to prove in court.

Our Edmonton family lawyers may be able to provide you with more information on how to annul a marriage in Alberta and help you determine if an annulment is right for you.

How Is an Annulment Different Than a Separation or Divorce?

In contrast to an annulment, a separation or a divorce do not affect the validity or existence of your past relationship. Rather, they end the past relationship. People who are married or in an adult interdependent relationship can separate by deciding that they want to end their relationship and beginning to live separate and apart from each other.

A divorce is a court order that declares your marriage is over as of a certain date. They typically come into effect 30 days after the order is made.

On What Grounds Can You Obtain an Annulment?

The court will only grant an annulment if you can prove a situation that renders the marriage invalid. Examples may include:

  • - You married a person who was already married to someone else at the time.
  • - You agreed to marry because you were physically threatened by someone.
  • - You were impaired by drugs or alcohol to an extreme degree and were not aware that you were getting married.
  • - You were mistaken about the identity of the person you married.
  • - You married a person who is unable to consummate the marriage (sterility – the inability to have children – is not grounds for an annulment).
  • - You were under 18, did not have your parents' consent, and did not consummate the marriage.
  • - You married someone to whom you are too closely related.

How Do You Get an Annulment?

An annulment is obtained through a court order called a Nullity Decree. To obtain one, you must apply to the court and provide them with the evidence necessary to prove one of the above grounds. Some of the grounds for an annulment are more difficult to prove than others. A court may be more willing to grant an annulment where there is corroborating evidence that backs up your claim, such as documents verifying that the person you married was married to someone else on the date of your marriage.

Religious Annulment

You may be under the impression that you must obtain an annulment rather than a divorce in order to be eligible to get remarried under the purview of a particular religion. Generally, what you require in these situations is an annulment from your religious leader. This is different from a legal annulment, and some religions may permit you to obtain a legal divorce as well as a religious annulment. You will have to contact your religious leader to determine the criteria for obtaining a religious annulment. However, if you want to be remarried, you must also first obtain either a divorce or a legal annulment in order for your next marriage to be legal.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

If you have any questions about how to annul a marriage in Alberta, schedule a consultation with our Edmonton family lawyers today. Contact us online through our booking form, and see how we might be of assistance to you.

*Please be advised, each case is unique, and the information in this article is intended as an introductory overview. This does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice specific to your case, please speak with a lawyer.

Matrimonial Home Considerations

Matrimonial Home Considerations

In Alberta, the Family Property Act governs the division of the assets and debts of a couple who are married or in an Adult Interdependent Relationship when they decide to separate or divorce. The Act treats the matrimonial home differently than other property.

Understanding the law relevant to the matrimonial home is important for participating in negotiations relating to the division of assets in general. Our Edmonton family lawyers may be able to help ensure that you appreciate the matrimonial home considerations that relate to your circumstances.

How to Identify the Matrimonial Home

In Alberta, the legislation refers to the matrimonial home as the "family home" and defines it as a property that is:

  • - owned or leased by either one or both spouses or adult interdependent partners
  • - is or has been occupied by the parties as their home
  • - is a house, part of a house that is a self-contained unit, part of a business used as living accommodation, a mobile home, a condo, or a suite.

Most of the time, it is relatively simple to identify the matrimonial home. However, it can be more difficult in circumstances wherein people move frequently between residences for work purposes or to exercise parenting time with children. In these situations, the determination of the matrimonial home may depend on the specific facts. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers for help determining whether a particular residence may qualify as your matrimonial home.

Possession of the Matrimonial Home

When spouses or adult interdependent partners separate, one of the first questions that they must ask themselves is who will live in the matrimonial home? When there are children living in the home, the parents may decide to continue to share the home for a period of time after they have separated, or may each obtain a separate residence and take turns living in the home with the children during their respective parenting time. If one spouse or partner has access to another residence, it may make sense for that party to move out. What you decide will depend on the particular circumstances of your family.

If you and your spouse or partner are unable to come to an agreement, you can apply to the court for an order granting you exclusive possession of the family home. You can apply for an order even if your spouse or partner is the sole owner of the home, or is the only person whose name is on the rental agreement.

The order can also apply to the contents of the home, which can include furniture, vehicles and personal possessions.

These orders are temporary in nature. They typically remain in place until the court makes a final order with respect to the division of the family property, including the matrimonial home, unless the parties come to an agreement earlier.

Division of the Matrimonial Home

When it comes time for family property division, the value of the matrimonial home is usually divided equally between the parties, even if one party supplied more or all of the purchase price. Whether or not your matrimonial home will be divided equally will depend on the circumstances.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Questions surrounding the matrimonial home, including how to identify it, who possesses it, and how to divide its value, can be challenging to navigate. Our Edmonton family lawyers are dedicated to addressing a range of questions, and may be able to help you understand additional considerations in the context of your family's situation. Contact us today and see how we might be of service to you.

*Please be advised that this article does not constitute legal advice, but is intended as a general overview on a legal topic. For legal advice concerning matrimonial home considerations, please consult with a lawyer.

How Negligence Is Proven In Personal Injury Claims

How Negligence Is Proven In Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury claim grounded in negligence will not result in an award of damages unless four aspects can be successfully proven in court:

  • - The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
  • - The defendant's behaviour failed to meet a set standard of care.
  • - The plaintiff suffered some damage.
  • - The plaintiff's damage was caused by the defendant's breach.

Each of those aspects must be proven in court. In civil (non-criminal) cases, each aspect of the case must be proven on a balance of probabilities, which means that the judge or jury decides that it is more likely than not that the thing to be proved occurred.

Our Edmonton personal injury lawyers may be able to answer your questions about how negligence is proven in personal injury claims.

Different Types of Evidence

In personal injury law cases, evidence is typically presented to the court in one of two ways:

  • - Oral testimony is presented to the court by a witness to an event. A witness can talk about what they saw, heard, or otherwise experienced first-hand. Only a person who is deemed an expert on a subject can testify about their opinion on a subject.
  • - Documentary evidence can include photos, videos, receipts, bank statements, emails, and contracts. In a personal injury case, common documentary evidence may include medical test results and receipts for physiotherapy.

In some circumstances, evidence is presented to the court in the form of an affidavit. Instead of giving evidence orally in the courtroom, the witness transcribes their statement and swears it is true in front of a lawyer. Affidavits are not used in trial unless the judge determines that the case is suitable to be heard under the summary trial rules. This procedure is generally used for more straight-forward cases that do not involve conflicting evidence.

It is very common for personal injury plaintiffs to hire experts to give evidence. There are several aspects of a personal injury claim that often require the opinion of a medical expert. The plaintiff can generally give evidence about the incident or accident itself and the effects of the damages on the plaintiff's life.

Duty and Standard of Care

A duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff is proven by showing a relationship between the parties. For example, a driver on the highway owes a duty of care to other drivers and passengers on the road. A doctor owes a duty of care to their patient. An occupier of premises owes a duty of care to visitors. Duties of care have been established in many common situations, but novel situations may occur that require more in the way of proof.

A person who owes a duty of care must behave as a reasonable person in that position. What that entails will depend on the circumstances. A driver, for example, should follow the rules of the road. In a medical malpractice case, the standard of care, and whether the defendant's behaviour breached that standard of care, is usually proven through the use of expert evidence, because what a medical professional should have done in a given situation is a matter of opinion. However, it is possible that expert evidence may not be required.

Contact Our Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Each case is unique, and the process of proving a party's negligence can vary. Our Edmonton personal injury lawyers would be happy to address your questions, and see how negligence might be proven in your personal injury claim. For more information and to speak with our personal injury lawyers, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

*Please be advised, the information in this article does not constitute legal advice. It is an introductory overview of a legal topic. For specific legal advice, please contact a lawyer.

Powers Of Attorney For Property To Manage Financial Or Business Affairs

Powers Of Attorney For Property To Manage Financial Or Business Affairs

In Alberta, a power of attorney is a document that enables you to give a specific person (or persons) the power to make decisions on your behalf, in relation to your property. It can take effect immediately, if you want someone to be able to make decisions while you are still capable of making decisions, or it can take effect at some point in the future. Many people choose to make their power of attorney effective if or when they become incapable of making financial decisions for themselves.

Everyone should have a power of attorney, but it may be especially important for those who run a business. Our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers may provide you with more information on powers of attorney for property to manage your financial or business affairs.

Why You Need an Enduring Power of Attorney

An enduring power of attorney lets your attorney carry on making financial decisions on your behalf. If you become incapacitated without an attorney, someone will need to apply to the court to become your trustee. Not only is this process expensive and time consuming, the delays caused can be financially catastrophic - especially if you have business interests in relation to which time-sensitive decisions must be made, such as making debt payments on business assets, or paying employees.

Tasks That an Attorney May Do on Behalf of the Donor

You can give an attorney either wide-ranging or specific powers. The types of powers they will need may depend on your financial and business needs. It is important to draft your power of attorney carefully to ensure that your attorney will be capable of doing everything you need them to do.

Financial and business decisions that your attorney can make include:

  • - signing cheques, including paycheques for your employees;
  • - buying or selling property;
  • - borrowing money;
  • - using your property for your care and maintenance and that of your spouse or children
  • - hiring professionals for advice (for example, lawyers or accountants);
  • - filing your income taxes, making tax remittances on behalf of you or your business, and making tax-related decisions; and
  • - managing or selling business interests and investments.

Tasks that an attorney cannot do

Your attorney cannot:

  • - make or change a will on your behalf;
  • - make or change a power of attorney or personal directive on your behalf; or
  • - add, remove or change a named beneficiary on an RRSP, insurance policy or pension plan.

Despite the fact that your attorney can use your property to pay for your care, your attorney does not have the power to make decisions about what that care entails. Personal decisions, such as where you will live and who will provide you with any necessary care, are made by the agent named in your personal directive. Should you choose, this may, however, be the same person you appoint as your attorney in your enduring power of attorney.

Contact Our Edmonton Probates and Wills Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Even a short period of incapacity could put your business at risk. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers, and discuss any questions you may have about powers of attorney for property to manage financial or business affairs.

*Please note that this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of probates and wills law, and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a probates and wills lawyer.

Things To Consider When Acting As An Estate Trustee During Litigation

Things To Consider When Acting As An Estate Trustee During Litigation

In Alberta, the estate trustee is known as the personal representative. Under the Estate Administration Act, the court may appoint a personal reprentative either before or after estate litigation has commenced, whether the litigation regards the validity of the will, an application for a grant, or an application to revoke a grant. The personal representative appointed by the court in such a case will be subject to directions by the court, and lack the power to distribute the estate - but otherwise they will have all the powers of a personal representative appointed in a will.

If you have been named as a personal representative, either in a will or by a court, our estate litigation lawyers may help ensure that you are aware of the most important things to consider when acting as an estate trustee during litigation.

Duties of an Estate Trustee

The core tasks of the personal representative are:

  • - the identification of the assets and liabilities of the estate
  • - the administration and management of the estate
  • - the payment of debts and obligations
  • - the distribution of the estate, and accounting for its administration

If estate litigation is pending, the personal representative is still responsible for all of the core tasks, except for the distribution of the estate. Distribution will be delayed until after the litigation is resolved. The Court may issue specific directions to the personal representative requiring them to perform additional tasks, such as tracing an allegedly missing asset, or providing information relevant to the litigation.

When Does Estate Litigation Occur?

Estate litigation can occur for several different reasons. The deceased may have been involved in litigation before their death, in which case the personal representative may be required, or may have the option to, continue the litigation on behalf of the estate.

Someone may contest the validity of the will, or otherwise challenge the administration and management of the estate. Disputes can also arise with respect to the compensation to be paid to the personal representative, or with respect to the accounts prepared by the personal representative in relation to the administration of the estate.

When Will You Be Responsible for Costs of Estate Litigation?

In the past, it was common for the legal costs associated with estate litigation to be paid out of the estate. This, of course, diminishes the value of the estate available for distribution to the beneficiaries. As a result, the modern rule with respect to costs of estate litigation is that they are treated in a similar fashion to costs in other civil litigation: the successful party is entitled to recover costs from the unsuccessful party.

When the position taken by the estate's executor, or personal representative, is unsuccessful at trial, a personal representative who has conducted themselves "reasonably" should not be required to pay costs in their personal capacity. However, if a court finds that a personal representative has taken unreasonable steps during the litigation, they may be found personally responsible for paying the successful party's legal costs.

Contact Our Edmonton Estate Litigation Lawyers Today for a Consultation

The circumstances of each individual case are unique. For a consultation tailored to your case, contact us today and speak with our Edmonton estate litigation lawyers. Our team is available to address your questions and offer information on things to consider when acting as an estate trustee during litigation, and more.

*Please be advised that this article does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.

What Is A Subrogated Claim?

What Is A Subrogated Claim?

Generally, an insured accident victim may be able to recover damages directly and immediately from their insurer, without having to sue the person who caused the damage. In relation to this, insurance coverage often includes a provision that allows an insurer - such as an insurance company - to then seek compensation from the person who is liable for the injury and any other harm done to the insured. This is referred to in insurance law as a subrogated claim.

Keep in mind that if you do decide to sue someone in relation to the insured damage, you may be responsible for repaying the insurance payout. Our Edmonton personal injury lawyers may be able to explain whatever you need to know in relation to subrogated claims.

What Is the Point of Subrogation?

Today's insurance schemes involving subrogation developed for a reason. The objectives of subrogation include:

  • - ensuring that the insured is compensated promptly
  • - shifting the financial loss from the insurer to the wrongdoer in situations where there is a wrongdoer
  • - reducing the cost of insurance by enabling insurers to recoup some losses.

The Crown's Right to Subrogation for Healthcare Expenses

In Alberta, the province is the primary healthcare insurer. As such, it can make a subrogated claim whenever someone causes an injury or illness that results in the provision of health services in the province.

Health services costs that may be recoverable by the province include:

  • - ambulance costs
  • - in-hospital treatment
  • - diagnostic costs
  • - out-patient services
  • - specified devices or aids
  • - medications
  • - mental health treatment

In general, the province is limited to recovery from a wrongdoer in cases that do not involve motor vehicle accidents. This is because there is a separate system in place to compensate the Crown for health services costs caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

In Alberta, the Insurance Act was recently amended to establish a system of direct compensation for property damage. This means that your insurance company is no longer able to make a subrogated claim against an at-fault driver, at least with respect to property damage caused in an accident.

Personal injury related expenses arising from a motor vehicle accident may still be subrogated. If you are injured in an accident, your insurance company may pay your benefits and pursue compensation from the insurer of the at-fault driver or drivers, if applicable. This is built into the province's insurance scheme and not something with which individual drivers often become involved.

However, if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident and decide to sue the at-fault driver personally, your own insurer may make a subrogated claim in relation to benefits they may have already paid on your behalf. Typically, individual drivers only start a personal injury claim when they are very badly injured and the capped amounts of their insurance benefits will not be sufficient to compensate them for the damages.

Contact Our Edmonton Personal Injury Lawyers Today for a Consultation

While some of the more common examples of subrogation involve personal injury, it is a part of most insurance coverage, including home and property insurance, as well as liability insurance coverage. If you have more questions related to subrogated claims, we may be able to help. Contact us today to speak with our Edmonton personal injury lawyers.

*Please be advised that the information in this article is not intended as legal advice, but as an introductory overview on a legal subject. Please consult with a lawyer for legal advice.