There are a significant number of personal injury lawyers practicing in the Greater Toronto Area. The sheer number can overwhelm anyone. However, not all lawyers are the same and I always recommend that you investigate who you intend to retain before making any decision.
When choosing a personal injury lawyer, it is important to consider the following:
1. Select a lawyer who practices exclusively in the personal injury field
There are lawyers who will take on personal injury claims although they practice in other areas of law. As well, there are insurance defence lawyers who will dabble in plaintiff personal injury claims as long as it does not conflict with one of their institutional (to wit, insurance company) clients. It is important to choose a lawyer with a focus on the plaintiff side of personal injury claims, including but not limited to car accidents, slip and falls, trip and falls and long-term disability claims.
2. Choose a lawyer with experience
Find out whether your lawyer has recently been called to the bar or has been practicing for a number of years. As with everything, experience matters and should be a factor in your selection of a lawyer.
3. Choose a lawyer with trial experience
Although many lawyers can handle a personal injury matter, it is more important to know if your lawyer has the actual experience to take cases to trial. A little-known fact is that there are many personal injury lawyers who will not go to trial and simply want to settle without the need of trial. Like it or not, insurance companies know which lawyers will take a matter to trial and those who won’t. Therefore, a lawyer with trial experience is a necessity.
4. Choose a lawyer with a history of success
When you are in an accident, you need a lawyer with the experience and record of success. This ensures that you obtain the full compensation you deserve in law. Ask the lawyer about their track record and their success.
5. Choose a lawyer who receives referrals from other lawyers and former clients
Many lawyers obtain referrals from mass advertising or “runners” who seek out accident victims. Advertising is not necessarily a bad thing and is a reality in today’s environment. However, it is also important to choose a lawyer who receive referrals from other lawyers or from satisfied former clients. Such referrals usually reflect the quality and skill of the lawyer.
6. Choose a lawyer who will take your claim on a contingency fee basis
When choosing a lawyer, make sure you ask whether or not the lawyer will work on a contingency basis. More importantly, ask the lawyer if you do not recover money if you are still liable to pay for disbursements, which are out of pocket expenses. Some lawyers will say that you will not pay fees if you don’t recover any money but that may not apply to the out of pocket expenses incurred by the lawyer.
7. Choose a lawyer who has been recognized by their peers
A lawyer’s reputation is of the utmost importance. There are many awards available to lawyers but not all awards are the same. Awards with the most meaning come from a lawyer’s peers. Such awards demonstrate that the lawyer is held in high regard by members of the legal community. The benefit to you is that this respect could lead to more favourable results.
All too often I meet with injured people who went to the first lawyer recommended to them and ultimately regretted it. Before making a decision on a personal injury lawyer, come see me to discuss how I can help you with your claim and the to see why my more than 20 years of experience will ensure you receive the very best in legal representation.
Experience. Compassion. Results.