Questions To Ask When Hiring a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Case
Getting seriously injured from an accident is a high stakes situation. You may be off work, incurring medical expenses and looking for a lawyer to achieve the best results for you. There are plenty of personal injury lawyers available to hire through the Law Society of Upper Canada, marketing firms and perhaps even through your employer’s Employee Assistance Program. Friends and family may have suggestions too. So, how do you decide?
Conducting some research at the beginning can save you much anguish about making a less optimal choice later. Ideally you want to find a well-respected, experienced and responsive lawyer with an excellent track record that you feel comfortable with. You need a lawyer that you can trust to always keep your best interests in mind. Asking questions about the lawyer at your initial consultation will help you to determine if there is a good fit for the two or you to work together. Some questions you may want to ask are outlined here.
How Long Have You Been In Practice?
It is important to ensure that the lawyer who handles your case is the one who meets with you. Sometimes after a meeting the initial lawyer will pass your file to another lawyer you’ve never met. A senior lawyer may oversee the junior associates, but a new lawyer can make grave mistakes, including failing to obtain all the pertinent information about your case, which another lawyer may not realize has occured. An experienced lawyer may be best for your case.
Do you Practice Personal Injury Law Solely or Other Areas of Law as well?
It is a fair question to ask if the lawyer focuses primarily on personal injury law or other areas of law as well. At Gillis Injury Law in Richmond Hill and Brampton, we deal exclusively with personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer can be expected to be on top of constantly changing personal injury legislation and the relevant personal injury cases when compared to a lawyer who deals with other areas of law. A personal injury lawyer will also have the field experience to handle your case optimally, including knowing when the best time to settle the case is. Expertise in personal injury law is particularly critical in cases where the injuries are long term, there is dispute about who was at fault for the accident or there are complicating factors (e.g., municipal liability and hit and run drivers).
Can You Provide Referrals for Experts?
A personal injury lawyer can also be the best source of medical, psychological and vocational assessment referrals, which can be highly important for your case. Your family doctor may not know of medical specialists who deal with personal injury litigation, which can cause difficulty in attaining reports that are essential for your case.
Do You Usually Represent Injured Victims or Defendants?
While a lawyer can represent a plaintiff and defendant of different cases, there will never be a doubt the lawyer’s willingness to pursue the best possible results for you with a plaintiffs-only lawyer. A lawyer that handles defence cases may not be as firm in seeking the best result for you in fear that doing so may harm his or her relationship and current and future defence work.
Does your Law Firm Pay Money for Client Referrals?
If you have been directed to a particular personal injury firm by a tow truck operator, policeman, emergency room doctor, a physiotherapist or other healthcare professional, you should be very cautious and careful. Ask the lawyer whether his firm pays kick back money to these individuals in order to steer you to his/her law office. Think carefully whether that law firm will act for you in your best interests or theirs. At Gillis Injury Law, we believe that a lawyer should be fighting for the most for you and not in order to make up the share of the funds paid to get you through their door.
How Would You Go About Handling My Situation? What Is the Process?
It is important to find a lawyer that has a clear strategy and time frame in mind for resolving your matters.
Have You Dealt with Similar Cases Before? If so, what was the Outcome?
Experience with a similar case that settled favourably would be ideal, but in personal injury law it is difficult to compare cases as each individual and each case is unique and based on specific circumstances.
Do you Have Trial Experience in Personal Injury Claims?
Although most cases settle without ever going to court, having some trial experience adds to a lawyer’s value. Also, if your lawyer has had a court case before, the defence lawyer will know there is a real risk of fighting out this case in court too and may be more willing to settle with fair terms for you. Our lawyers prepare each case as if it could go to trial, but the vast majority of claims are settled out of court.
Is there a Time Limit to Settle the Case or File a Lawsuit?
There is a two year statute of limitations to start a personal injury lawsuit (earlier time limits apply in certain situations, such as a lawsuit against a municipality). This means that the case must be filed in court within two years from when the injury or loss occurred.
What are the Costs of Retaining a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Some law lawyer work on a percentage (commonly 33 percent) of the compensation the claimant settles for or is awarded. Some lawyers accept a lower percentage but also bill for their hourly time spent on the case. It’s important to discuss fees at your initial consultation.
Our lawyers get paid on a contingency basis, which means there are no legal fees to be paid until there is recovery from a settlement. We also fund the medical, psychological and/or vocational rehabilitation assessments needed for the case until its conclusion.
Will You Take On My Case?
Our lawyers at Gillis Injury Law will take case based on merits. We take cases that we believe are winnable.
How Can I Reach Gillis Injury Law?
At Gillis Injury Law, our personal injury lawyers have offices in Richmond Hill and Brampton but we service many areas in Southern Ontario. A personal injury lawyer from Richmond Hill or Brampton can come to meet you if you are not mobile, or arrange transportation for you. We can meet after hours or on weekends. Contact us today at 905-709-7447 ext 223 or 905-709-7447.