Canada’s personal injury law has been drafted to help the injured party (plaintiff) get back into the same position that they were before the occurrence of the injury. Sometimes this is impossible, such as when the plaintiff sustains a permanent or irreversible brain injury or spinal cord injury. In scenarios like that, the main goal is to put the plaintiff in as “close a position” as possible to the pre-injury situation. This will also include the financial position in case the accident never happened. A personal injury lawyer or personal injury attorney is very important in such situations.
Personal Injury Lawyers: All You Need to Know
The injured party (plaintiff) is usually entitled to several different compensation categories as a part and parcel of the personal injury claim. If the injury affects the plaintiff’s employability the plaintiff may be entitled to a loss of income or loss of earning capacity claim. In case the plaintiff is rendered unable to perform daily household chores, they might be entitled to receive an amount which is equivalent to keeping a household help that will perform the chores. If the injury suffered by the plaintiff points to a situation where they might be needing extra treatment, medications or equipment in the future, a claim for the cost of future medicare can also be made. The injured party is usually entitled to reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the claim. Another category of damages is compensation for pain and suffering. This award includes compensation for physical pain suffered as well as emotional and psychological injuries sustained by the injured party.
An injured party will only have a claim against a party at fault (the defendant) if the injured party can establish that the defendant was liable or responsible for the injury occurring. In some cases, the injuries to the plaintiff may result from a combination of the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s negligence. An example of negligence would be the plaintiff’s failure to wear seat belts during a car accident and suffering serious injuries as a result of that. The plaintiff’s compensation may be reduced if the defendant can show the plaintiff’s injuries were contributed to by the failure to wear a seat belt. This is commonly referred to as ‘contributory negligence’.
If a plaintiff is unable to resolve their claim with the defendant through the normal negotiating process, then they can exercise to have their matter decided at a trial by a judge/jury. However, it’s important to remember that most personal injury cases are resolved via a normal negotiating process and rarely reach the trial stage.
What is a personal injury lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer is someone who provides representation to individuals who are injured in an accident. Personal injury lawyers add tort law, which incorporates negligent acts and intentional acts. They pursue compensation for accident victims.
What are the types of personal injury cases?
Personal injury cases are often caused by negligence by others. This includes automotive accidents, including motorcycle accidents and truck accidents. Personal injury lawyers’ expertise doesn’t just end with those scenarios, they can handle all sorts of transportation related accidents. Those accidents will include pedestrian accidents, boating accidents, aviation accidents and bike accidents. Personal injury attorneys are also qualified to handle cases that involve premises liability, including negligent security, slip and fall accidents and animal bites and attacks. These attorneys may also be able to handle cases involving home abuse and neglect and construction accidents. Medical malpractice cases also fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases.
What are the types of compensation?
Personal injury plaintiffs may be entitled to compensation for the damages that they have suffered. This includes medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish and pain and suffering.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
The specific actions that private injury lawyers do depends on the sort of case, specialty area and where they’re within the process of a case. Some of the activities that private injury lawyers and attorneys may do and the way they benefit a plaintiff’s case include:
Personal injury lawyers generally work on a fee basis during which they only charge attorney’s fees post securing a settlement or jury verdict. Because they often finance a case, they take care in screening potential clients and evaluating the merits of the case. A personal injury lawyer would probably not work on a case that he or she doesn’t believe will end in a win for the client.
A personal injury lawyer can also do the job of gathering evidence on behalf of the plaintiff to support the plaintiff’s claim. The personal injury attorney may hunt witnesses and obtain witness statements. The personal injury lawyer may take or instruct a photographer to capture pictures of the accident report. The personal injury attorney can also retain evidence for the case, like property damage, camera footage or other evidence.
Evidence may establish liability for who caused the accident along with the extent of the damages that the plaintiff suffered. Medical reports, medical records, bills, employment documents, employment reports and property damage reports can all work as evidence.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Most people don’t negotiate as a part of their typical lives. However, negotiating with insurance companies is a part of the job for personal injury lawyers. They can review the policy details and determine the utmost level of compensation which will be available according to the precise circumstances of the case. A personal injury lawyer can also handle all communications with the insurance firm and stop the injury victim from doing anything which will jeopardize his or her claim, such as giving a recorded statement.
Sending Demand Letters
A personal injury lawyer can also send a demand letter to an insurance firm after thoroughly investigating the claim. This demand letter states the facts of the accident and demands a particular amount of damages for the injury that the defendant caused.
If the insurance firm refuses to supply a good settlement, the private injury lawyer may prepare a complaint against the defendant. The complaint sets out the legal arguments regarding why the defendant is liable for the accident. The complaint will also mention the total amount of damages being sought by the plaintiff.
The defendant generally has 30 days from the date of receiving the complaint to organize a solution.
The plaintiff’s lawyer may initiate discovery processes. This includes sending interrogatories to the defendant to invite certain information. It also can include deposing parties, witnesses and experts.
Representing Clients at the trial
If the case proceeds to trial, a personal injury attorney provides representation in court. Personal injury attorneys are conversant in court customs and procedures and may make sure that these steps are carefully followed.
Levelling the playing field
It is important to possess a personal injury attorney by your side if you’ve suffered an injury in an accident caused by somebody else. An attorney can assist you with levelling the playing field since the opposite side will likely have an attorney as well. He or she will draw on resources like expert witnesses and personal investigators when necessary.
How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?
Many times people are hesitant to rent a personal injury lawyer on the pretext that they won’t do as much work as they might charge. To alleviate all such doubts from your mind, we will discuss the different ways in which personal injury lawyers might charge you.
As per the Canadian law, a private injury lawyer has the requirement of signing an agreement together with his client stating that he won’t be receiving any fees until the settlement. In other words, the lawyer’s fees are going to be deducted from the last word settlement of your claim. The fee is usually determined by deciding upon a selected percentage value of the claim’s proceeds. The fee agreement is majorly influenced by a variety of things like the danger involved, the expense in handling the trial along with the probability of a favourable verdict. Generally, the share value of contingency fees will vary in several provinces. However, the client always has the option to barter a smaller percentage or some alternative agreement together with his lawyer. For example, in Ontario, the law doesn’t specify any maximum fee that a lawyer may charge you.
Settlement before filing a lawsuit
There are several cases, wherein the injured is able to obtain an adequate settlement before he has to go to the court and file an official petition for a personal injury claim. In this situation, your lawyer will send a requirement letter to the at-fault party and demand compensation for your injuries and damages. If the opposite party agrees to barter into a settlement, you would possibly not need to stress yourself by appearing at lengthy and expensive court trials. However, in such cases, the personal injury attorney won’t receive exactly 33% of the ultimate settlement.
Settlement after filing for a lawsuit
In some cases, the at-fault party won’t find it appropriate to acknowledge your settlement claim and completely refuse to reply to the demand letter served by your lawyer. In such a situation, you’re left with the lone option of battling for your right within the court of law. In some Canadian provinces, if a case is settled after a correct court trial, the attorney can demand a better fee percentage on the lines of 40%.
Your lawyer will typically include all the litigation costs and expenses in his contingency fees and demand a cumulative payment at the top of the settlement. However, in many cases, the lawyers may additionally ask you to supply the payments because of the litigation’s prolonging. There are several litigation expenses like medical records, filing fees, postage, trial exhibits, witness fee and depositions which the lawyer will charge you as a part of his fees.
If you would like to file a personal injury lawsuit, you ought to consult a proficient and experienced lawyer and discuss the fees before you plow ahead with the litigation process.
How to select a personal injury lawyer?
When you are trying to select a personal injury lawyer, you should start by asking these questions:
- Ask if the private injury lawyer you’re meeting with, or members of the firm, are recognized by other lawyers as an expert in personal injury law and have been included in peer-reviewed organizations such as The Canadian Lexpert Directory, The Best Lawyers in Canada and Martindale-Hubbell.
- Ask about the lawyer’s certification as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. Ensure that the Lawyer is certified by the Law Society of Ontario.
- Ask if the lawyer works at a Top 10 Personal Injury firm as recognized by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
- Ask how long the firm has been carrying on this type of labor and what experience they have.
- It will be ideal if your personal injury lawyer is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association or the American College of Trial Lawyers. Ask your lawyer about that.
- Does the lawyer take cases to trial if a good resolution can’t be negotiated.
- Is the lawyer or other members of the firm a director or president of groups just like the Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association or other such groups.
- Ask about the lawyers and health care professions who are going to be assisting the injured person and their family.
- Ask about fees and disbursements and whether the firm has the resources to see your case through to the end.
So this post was supposed to give you a basic idea of what personal injury lawyers are and how you can use their services. We obviously wish you the very best of health and luck and hope you never have to suffer an injury, but if you do, you know how to get the best personal injury lawyers for yourself now. Take care.
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