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How to pick a personal injury lawyer (Ontario)

If you’ve been seriously hurt or injured in an accident; or you’ve been denied long term disability benefits by your insurer, you will likely need to retain a lawyer.

But, not just any lawyer. You will need a personal injury lawyer. Here are some quick tips on what to look for when selecting a personal injury lawyer:

  1. Make sure that they practice personal injury law exclusively! Don’t get a lawyer who dabbles in the odd personal injury or LTD matter. If you needed brain surgery, would you get a surgeon who does the occasional brain surgery, or would you want a brain surgeon who concentrates exclusively on brain surgery? The answer is obvious. Getting a so called “dabbler” is a recipe for disaster. Your case is too important to be messing around with.
  2. Does your personal injury lawyer actually do the work, or is your file being referred out of house? Do you want your lawyer referring your file elsewhere, or do you want your personal injury lawyer to be doing the work? If your file is being referred elsewhere, are you being charged a referral fee upon recovery which comes out of your award? If so, how much is that referral fee? If I were an injured accident victim, I would ensure that the lawyer who I retained was in fact doing the work which s/he was retained to do and not a law firm who I’ve never met with or heard of.
  3. Make sure you’re meeting with a lawyer, and not a “runner”: We have heard horror stories of accident victims in hospital who have been approached by people who represent themselves to be lawyers, when they aren’t. These people try to get unsuspecting accident victims and their families to sign paper work so that they can bill the insurer for services, or so that they can take their cases to law firms or paralegals to being working on their files. Our law firm has reported such incidents to the Financial Services Commission Fraud Hotline . Sadly, not much has come of our tips to the fraud hotline other than a few investigations which didn’t go anywhere for reasons unbeknownst to us. In any event, be weary of non lawyers posing as lawyer trying to get you to sign on the dotted line.

4. Do you like the lawyer with whom you’re meeting? Do you get along with him or her? Serious personal injury and long term disability cases are marathons. They aren’t sprints. If you will be dealing with your lawyer for a long time, you had better make sure that you like that person, and get along with him or her. If the relationship is not a good one, then chances are it won’t make it to the finish line. The result is a lose-lose for both lawyer and client.

5. Has your lawyer won cases like yours before? A track record of success in similar cases to yours, is a good indicator that your personal injury lawyer will get the job done. If your lawyer has not been successful in his/her previous cases, then you may want to question your lawyer why that is, and ask yourself if you wish to continue with that person for your own case. Getting positive results and winning cases for clients matters.

6. Has your lawyer gone to trial? 99 percent of personal injury cases settle our of Court. But, there is a 1 percent chance that your case will go to trial. If that’s the case, then you had better make sure that your lawyer knows what they’re doing when push comes to shove and the time for trial has come.0001r_Goldfinger-200x300

7. Does your personal injury lawyer also defend insurance companies? At Goldfinger Personal Injury Law, we act exclusively on behalf of seriously injured accident victims, their families, loved ones, and long term disability claimants. We do NOT accept work on behalf of insurance companies, and we LOVE it that way. Our clients appreciate our commitment to the “little guy“, facing off against large multi national insurers every day. It’s that sort of struggle, and power imbalance which keeps us sharp and tenacious. Fighting on behalf of accident victims everyday helps us better identify with our clients and the problems they have fighting against insurers, and protecting their rights in the face of an ever deteriorating legal landscape for Ontario’s accident victims (reduction in accident benefits, increasing statutory deductible, more stringent threshold are all great examples)

8. Ask questions. Be comfortable! Picking a personal injury lawyer is a big deal. For most of our clients, this is the FIRST TIME, they have ever met with or consulted with a lawyer at all! Most lawyer consultations come in the course of real estate, family law, estate law, or criminal transactions. Meeting with a personal injury lawyer is likely a first. Don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer whatever questions you have in mind. You probably have about a thousand and one such questions which any competent and experienced personal injury lawyer ought to be able to answer. If they can’t answer those questions properly, and to your satisfaction, then this may speak to that lawyer’s level of competency or experience. If you as a client are comfortable with the lawyer, then chances are that the solicitor-client relationship will be a successful one. This experience is about you, the client. Your satisfaction and level of comfort is of prime importance.

9. Experience matters! Is your lawyer experienced, or is this the first time they’re handling a case like yours? Would you want an inexperienced surgeon operating on you or would you want a surgeon who has handled countless such surgeries taking the lead in your operation? Personal Injury Law is no different. Make sure your lawyer knows what they’re doing, and has the experience to get you the results which you deserve.

10. Ask around! Don’t be afraid to ask for reference from other lawyers, or former clients with respect to the lawyer who you’re seeking to hire. If you like what you hear, then this is a good sign.

With offices in Toronto, London, Peterborough, and now Kitchener Waterloo, Goldfinger Personal Injury Law is a boutique law firm which concentrates only on representing accident victims, disability claimants and their families. If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious accident, or has had their long term disability claim denied, Get Goldfinger at 1-877-730-1777 or email us at info@goldfingerlaw.com

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