Choosing a Lawyer
Should I contact a lawyer?
Yes. The law is very complex. Whether your injury was caused as a result of a motor vehicle collision, a slip and fall, or any other unfortunate event, there are specific laws, regulations, and statutes that apply. If these are not understood and followed, it may jeopardize a potential claim you may have against those at fault for your injuries and related losses. Therefore, in order to protect yourself and your loved ones, you should contact an experienced lawyer who will be able to assist you immediately, which will serve to protect your rights within a very complex system.
Many personal injury law firms offer free consultations, meaning that even if you decide not to retain a lawyer after meeting with one, you will not be charged. Therefore, there is no risk or downside to you contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights.
What should I look for in a lawyer?
Choosing a lawyer is a very personal and important decision. You and your family will work very closely with this lawyer on an ongoing basis over a period time that could be years. Therefore, you want a lawyer who you are comfortable with, who will respect you, who will be patient with you, and who will listen to your story, hear your needs, and be responsive to those needs. Your lawyer should always make you feel cared for and heard.
Your lawyer should also be honest and transparent with you from the outset, telling you the strengths and weaknesses of any potential claims you may have. You want an advocate, not a cheerleader. You need to hear the truth from your lawyer, not just what you want to hear. Lastly, you want a lawyer who has a reputation of integrity, who is a creative problem-solver, and also willing to get into the trenches and advocate on your behalf when necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for references from past clients.
How much will it cost me?
Most personal injury law firms do not expect their clients to pay legal fees unless compensation is recovered by way of settlement or trial. When you retain a lawyer, you will enter into a Contingency Fee Agreement. This agreement provides that your lawyer will only receive payment of its legal fees if, and only if, you are successful obtaining compensation. This means that your lawyer is paid only at the conclusion of your matter, and not at any time prior. This arrangement helps to keep money in your pocket to provide for yourself and your family during your recovery.
What is my case worth?
This question will be front of mind as you plan for your future following an accident. Unfortunately, no lawyer can accurately answer such a question immediately following an accident as every case and circumstance is unique.
There are many factors to consider when determining how much compensation you can expect to recover. These factors include determining what impact the accident will have on your life? Will you ever return to work? What treatment(s) will you require and for how long? Answering these and many other questions takes time. It is important that your lawyer never rush or pressure you to settle your case without first understanding and appreciating the full impact the accident will have on your life.
How long will my case take?
Your lawyer should work to resolve your case as quickly as possible, but should also ensure you receive the fair compensation you are entitled to. Settling too quickly may be a mistake if your future losses are uncertain. There is no hard and fast rule with respect to the length of your case. On average, it takes approximately 3 to 5 years to resolve, either by settlement or trial. However, every case is unique, meaning that it may take more or less time in your case.
Will I go to trial?
More than 95% of personal injury matters settle prior to trial. Your lawyer should prepare for trial from the outset as that is the only way in which you will maximize your recovery through a settlement. When the insurance company knows that you are prepared and willing to go to trial, they will be more willing to offer you fair compensation.
Lerners LLP is one of Southwestern Ontario’s largest law firms with offices in London, Toronto, Waterloo Region, Strathroy and Owen Sound. Known for their expertise in advocacy and dispute resolution, their personal injury practice is one of the largest in the region. They represent clients from all walks of life, building successful case strategies on the strengths of their 90-year history.
At Lerners, our clients’ recovery is our priority.