Questions to ask before hiring a personal injury lawyer in Ontario
If you have been injured because of the negligent or wrongful conduct of another party, you could be entitled to compensation. Car accidents and injuries caused by falling on an ice-covered sidewalk that someone failed to clear are examples of the types of cases handled by personal injury lawyers. Choosing a lawyer to represent you can be a challenge, so here are a few questions to ask lawyers to help you find the best personal injury lawyer for your case.
How long have they been in practice?
Personal injury lawyers combine knowledge of the law and an ability to gather and present evidence to prove the injuries suffered by their client and the negligence of the party responsible for causing them. It can take years of experience to master these skills, so you want a lawyer who has been in practice long enough to have developed them.
What percentage of their practice is devoted to personal injury?
A majority of the lawyer’s practice should be devoted to personal injury cases. Only by actively handling personal injury claims can a lawyer keep up to date on the law and the most recent court decisions.
Who will have primary responsibility for handling your case?
If you are impressed by the lawyer you meet during your initial consultation, make certain he or she will be the one handling your case. It is a common practice for the day-to-day work on a case to be handled by an associate lawyer or a paralegal in the office under the guidance of a senior lawyer. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should know in advance who will have ultimate responsibility for your case.
How familiar is the lawyer with your type of claim?
Personal injury claims usually fall within the following categories:
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Premises liability
- On-the-job injuries
- Professional and medical negligence or malpractice
- Assault and other intentional misconduct
A lawyer with experience handling cases similar to your own might have more of an insight into the law and special circumstances related to them. For example, if you fell in a store in Toronto, a lawyer who handles premises liability claims would be familiar with the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act.
The lawyer would understand how the law imposes liability on a party in possession of property or in control of its maintenance and upkeep for injuries suffered by individuals lawfully using the premises. He or she would also have a better understanding than lawyers who never handle such cases about the evidence needed to prove each element of the claim.
How much will the lawyer charge and how are the fees paid?
Personal injury cases are usually handled under a contingency fee arrangement with the lawyer. If the lawyer is successful in obtain compensation for you either through settlement or an award after trial, the lawyer receives an agreed upon percentage of the amount recovered as the fee for the services rendered. If there is no settlement or award, the lawyer does not receive a fee.
Contingency fee agreements allow people who might not have the money to hire a lawyer the ability to be represented. The government sets the standards for contingency fees under the Solicitors Act, including the fact they must be in writing and contain specific information to ensure a clear understanding of its terms by the client.
Experienced personal injury lawyers
The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling all types of personal injury claims. Contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.