Q. Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?
- If you’ve suffered a serious injury, it’s important to choose a lawyer whose practice focuses on personal injury law because this area of law is highly complex and constantly changing. A lawyer with expertise in personal injury law is in the best position to identify and properly respond to potential problems in your case.
Q. How much does it cost to speak with one of your lawyers?
- There is absolutely no charge to speak with a lawyer at our firm.
Q. Will I actually talk to a lawyer?
- Absolutely. You will speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer from our firm either immediately or within 24 hours of your phone call or email.
Q. How long will it take for my case to settle or go to trial?
- For most personal injury cases, it takes between 1 to 3 years to reach a reasonable settlement.
This depends on a variety of factors such as the time it takes before your doctors can provide a long-term prognosis, whether you require multiple surgeries over a prolonged period, how many parties there are in your lawsuit, etc.
The time it takes before your doctors can provide a long-term prognosis depends on your injuries and how they heal. For orthopedic fractures requiring surgery, it usually takes 1 to 2 years. Once we know your long-term prognosis, we can assess the value of your losses and future care needs for the rest of your life. This way, we can ensure that you and your family are fully compensated.
About 98% of personal injury cases settle—they do not go to trial. Going to trial is a choice that clients make. You will not be forced to go to trial. You can always accept the other side’s offer, even if we think it’s too low, instead of proceeding to trial. In cases where clients want to go to trial, it usually takes about 3 years to get to trial.
Q. What fees will I have to pay?
- Our clients pay no fees unless and until we win.
After suffering serious injuries, most people feel overwhelmed by the challenges of daily activities. Oftentimes, they are unable to return to work and suffer unexpected income losses. During these difficult times, injured people and their families should not be burdened by legal fees. For this reason, we provide our services on a contingency basis. This means that you will not pay any fees unless and until your case is successfully resolved.
Upon settlement, our fees are a percentage of the settlement amount.
Sometimes, clients ask “what if there’s no settlement?” It is very rare that personal injury cases result in no settlement because the first thing we do is investigate the merits of a new case in order to ensure a high likelihood of success. However, if a case results in no settlement or judgment, and our firm has incurred expenses of investigating and developing your case, then our firm simply absorbs those costs. We do not pass those costs along to you. This is a risk we knowingly take with each case because it happens so rarely.
We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with a copy of our firm’s Contingency Fee Agreement (a.k.a. Retainer Agreement). This agreement provides you with the above information in greater detail.
Q. Are there any deadlines or time limits I should know about?
- Yes. There are time limits that restrict your right to seek compensation from someone who caused you injury or from an insurance company that denied or terminated your benefits.
In most cases in Ontario, but not all, there is a 2-year limitation period for commencing a lawsuit against someone who caused your injury. There are also important deadlines you need to be aware of immediately following an injury such as when to give notice to the other side of your intention to seek compensation.
The time limits that apply to your case will depend on a variety of factors such as the nature of your injury and who the other side is that you intend to sue.
If you don’t know the time limits that apply to your case, you should call an injury lawyer immediately. One of our lawyers would be happy to speak with you, free of charge, in order to provide you with this information.
Q. Can I still get compensation if I am partly at fault for my injury?
- Yes. Where you are partly at fault for causing your injury, you can still seek compensation. So long as someone other than you has some portion of fault, you can seek compensation.
If you are partly at fault for causing your injury, we will assess what percentage of fault lies with you. Then, once we’ve assessed the total dollar value of your losses, that value will be reduced by the percentage of fault that lies with you. This way, the other side only pays for the portion of your losses that they are responsible for. So, if you were 25% responsible for causing your injury, you would recover 75% of the value of your losses.
This is called “contributory negligence.” We would say that you had 25% contributory negligence in such a case.
Q. Can I make a claim for personal injury compensation? Do I have a case?
- To have a valid personal injury claim (a.k.a. Tort Claim), someone else needs to be at fault for causing you to suffer some injury. How much your case is worth depends on how great the injury is and what other losses you suffer because of that injury.
In personal injury cases, the types of wrongdoing that usually cause injury to others are negligence or carelessness. Other types of wrongdoing in personal injury cases include breach of contract and breach of duty of good faith, which we often see when insurance companies unjustly deny claims after an illness or disability.
Personal injuries include psychological injuries. Many people with physical injuries develop psychological difficulties due to pain and disability. Some people’s injuries are only psychological, such as victims of bullying or sex assault. Their psychological injuries can be just as debilitating as physical ones and can be worth just as much in our legal system.
If you have been seriously injured, it is important that you discuss the circumstances of your injury with a skilled personal injury lawyer. One of our lawyers would be happy to speak with you, free of charge, to assess if you have a case and what kinds of compensation you might be entitled to.
Q. How much is my personal injury claim worth?
- This depends on a number of factors such as the degree of impairment or disability that you suffer, how long that disability lasts, how it affects your ability to earn income, how it affects your enjoyment of life, and what your health and functioning were like before your accident.
Once we’ve had an opportunity to speak with you and ask some questions, we’ll be able to provide you with an estimate of the compensation that you can expect to receive.
The types of compensation available in personal injury cases include:
- compensation for your and your family’s pain and suffering, past and future
- compensation for your loss of income, past and future
- compensation for any loss of income that a family member suffers due to your injury
- compensation for costs of medical rehabilitation, past and future, which include costs of:
- therapy such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, etc.
- psychological counselling for the injured person and their family
- compensation for past and future costs of care, which include costs of:
- modifying your home, car and work space
- re-training and education toward a different type of employment
- nursing/attendant care to assist with personal care tasks such as grooming
- housekeeping and home maintenance
- assistive devices for the home, vehicle, workplace, etc.
- child care
- pet care
Q. How will a car accident affect my insurance rates/premiums?
- If the car accident is completely your fault or partly your fault, your car insurance rates may increase. If you are not at fault whatsoever, your car insurance rates should not increase.
Your and your family’s future premiums for auto insurance are not affected by whether or not you make a claim for Accident Benefits from your auto insurer. Your premiums are also not affected or by how hard we fight your insurance company to secure those benefits for you.
What affects your future premiums is whether you were found to have some fault for causing the accident. That determination of fault is made in the early days following an accident and it does not change due to your claims for Accident Benefits.
Q. What if my spouse, friend, or family member was at fault for the car accident and I don’t want to sue them?
- Sometimes, car accident victims don’t want to sue the at-fault driver who caused the accident because they worry about creating problems for that person. If you are worried about this, you don’t need to be. Almost all drivers have auto insurance in place which protects them in these circumstances from incurring any expenses in defending the lawsuit and protects them from paying any settlement monies. Auto insurance companies defend these lawsuits on their clients’ behalves. The at-fault drivers have very little personal involvement in the lawsuit. The lawsuit does not hurt or disrupt the lives of the people being sued.
This also applies when the at-fault driver is a friend or family member.
Q. What should I bring with me to our first meeting?
- It is helpful when clients bring the following documents/information to a first meeting. If you do not have these documents, that’s not a problem. We can obtain any documents that you cannot provide. Do not delay in calling and speaking with an injury lawyer just because you do not have these documents.
- Photo I.D. such as a driver’s license or passport
- Your Health Card
- The policy and plan numbers for any group benefits insurer (a.k.a. extended health benefits insurer)
- Any correspondence you may have received from the other side or their representative
- Any medical reports about your injury
- Your Notices of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency for the past 5 years
- Photos of the scene of the accident and of your injuries
- If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident:
- Your auto insurance “pink slip”
- The police report and any police documents or information you may have from a police investigation
- Your auto insurer’s estimate of the damages to your vehicle
- If you have an insurance claim dispute:
- Any correspondence you have received from your insurance company
- Your policy and claim numbers
Q. I was involved in a car accident and my insurance company wants to send an insurance adjuster to my home to speak with me. What should I do?
- You are required to notify your auto insurance company of an accident. Once you do that, your auto insurer will likely send an insurance adjuster to meet with you and get a statement from you about the accident and your injuries. The adjuster will likely try to audio record the discussion or write a statement for you to sign. Your auto insurance company may later use your statement against you to deny your Accident Benefits.
We would be happy to speak with you to ensure that you only provide the insurance adjuster with the information they’re entitled to. Ideally, we recommend that a personal injury lawyer attend the adjuster meeting with you.
For this reason, it is very important that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
Q. I don’t speak English. Can you still help me?
- We have staff who are fluent in Croatian, Serbian, Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, and Urdu. For other languages we will use the services of a translator, free of charge to you, in order to ensure that communication is not a barrier to working together.
Q. What if the person who caused the car accident has no car insurance?
- In Ontario, if an uninsured driver caused your accident, your own auto insurance company would pay you the compensation owed by this uninsured driver.
If you do not have auto insurance, and there is no other insured vehicle involved in the accident, then the Ontario government will pay your personal injury compensation and Accident Benefits. The exception to this is if you were knowingly driving an uninsured vehicle at the time of the accident.
However, you must still commence a lawsuit within the prescribed time limits in order to receive compensation for your injuries.
Q. Do I still have a case if I am the only person at fault for my injury?
- If you are the only person responsible for causing your injury, you cannot pursue Tort Claims, however, you may have other benefits available to you such as Accident Benefits, Disability Benefits, or CPP Disability Benefits.
Q. Will the insurance company continue to pay my medical and treatment bills after my case is settled?
- This depends on whether you settle all or only part of your claims with the insurance company. Normally, a settlement includes all claims, in which case the insurance company stops all payments after they pay the settlement amount.
That is why our legal team goes to great lengths to thoroughly assess the value of your losses and future care costs for the rest of your life. In this way, we can ensure that you and your family are fully compensated for the long-term.
Q. What if the person who caused the car accident is unknown because they fled the scene of the accident?
- In Ontario, if an unidentified driver caused your accident, your own auto insurance company would pay you the compensation owed by this unidentified driver. If you do not have auto insurance, then the Ontario government will pay this compensation.
However, you must still commence a lawsuit within the prescribed time limits in order to receive compensation for your injuries.
Q. What if the car I was driving had no insurance coverage when I was involved in an accident?
- You cannot pursue a claim against an at-fault driver who caused the accident if you were knowingly driving your car without insurance. However, you can still claim Accident Benefits such as medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits.
Q. What if the injured person can’t make decisions due to mental incapacity?
- Sometimes, an injured person is incapable of making decisions due to medical reasons such as a severe brain injury, a coma, or pain medication following a recent injury.
In such a case, a family member would act as Litigation Guardian and make decisions for the injured person during their incapacity. Our firm would take care of this legal process. If a family member or friend could not be located, then the Court would appoint such a guardian.
Q. Does your law firm handle WSIB cases?
- No. Our law firm does not handle WSIB matters. If you call with a WSIB problem, we will refer you to someone who can help you.
However, if you also have a private disability insurance claim (long-term disability or short-term disability insurance) in addition to your WSIB claims, then we will be able to assist with your disability insurance claims.