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Picking a Personal Injury Lawyer

Your relationship with your personal injury lawyer can be a long one.

Some personal injury cases last many years (over 5+)!

Do you really want to endure 5+ years with a lawyer who you don’t like? Of course not! That’s why it’s very important to pick the right personal injury lawyer at the outset of your case. It’s an important decision which you should not take lightly.

Here are a few considerations when selecting a personal injury lawyer. Some of these tips may shock you, but we wouldn’t list them if we didn’t see them happen to innocent accident victims.

1.Make sure that your personal injury lawyer is in fact, a personal injury lawyer who is licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction you need. I know that sounds crazy, but you would be amazed at the amount of misinformation out there regarding someone’s professional background and their ability to work in the practice of the law. A person who purports to be a personal injury lawyer may not be a lawyer at all. Or perhaps, they have a legal education but haven’t been called to the Bar in Ontario. Or yet, they were a lawyer in a different country and have yet to complete the requisite qualifications to become a lawyer here in Ontario Canada. Maybe their law degree is not recognized in Ontario at all. Maybe that person is a “runner“, who is a person who works with, or who is affiliated with a law firm whose job it is to go out of the office (run out) to meet with a potential client. That person is not regulated by anyone because they are not licensed, and are not technically employees of a law firm. So, that person will have more perceived freedoms to say anything they want to get a new client to sign on the dotted line. The whole time, the family and innocent accident victim suspect that they are dealing with a lawyer, when in fact, they aren’t. The lawyer is back at the office (or working from home), and they’ve never even met the lawyer. While all of these things may sound crazy or far fetched, I can tell you that they aren’t.

2. Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer; not a lawyer who dabbles in personal injury law. If you need heart surgery, do you want a heart surgeon; or someone who does surgery on the side of his/her regular practice? The same goes for personal injury law. You will want a lawyer who concentrates exclusively in the field of personal injury law; rather than a lawyer who practices it on occasion to supplement his/her main area of practice. The field of personal injury law is constantly adapting to the times, and the law itself is fluid; meaning it changes with each new decision which gets released. It’s important for your lawyer to practice primarily in this area of the law so that you have the peace of mind that they know what they’re doing; and so that you are confident that they are keeping up with the changes to the law.Brian-Goldfinger-03-200x300

3. Is your personal injury lawyer accessible? Good lawyers are busy. But they will make the time to communicate with you. Having to deal with layers of assistants, clerks or associates just to speak or communicate with the lawyer who you want to speak with isn’t a very effective way of communicating. When picking your personal injury lawyer, make sure that lawyer is accessible. This means that you’re able to communicate with him/her freely and easily. It should not take months for your personal injury lawyer to return your call or email. When reading this part of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog, please keep in mind that lawyers are people too. They have friends, families and loved ones. They need to set boundaries. If your expectation is that they call you on a Friday night at 9PM or on the weekends at the drop of  a hat when they are at their kid’s soccer game; that’s not a realistic expectation or a fair to your lawyer’s family/personal life.

4. Is your personal injury lawyer good at his/her job? Past results are not indicative of future success. But having a track record of success (instead of a track record of failure), is a good sign. You would rather be with a lawyer who has won cases in the past, rather than a lawyer who has not secured results won behalf of his/her clients. You can ask your lawyer how things have gone in the past. But keep in mind that just because they’ve won cases in the past, does not mean that they will win your particular case. But winning cases in the past is not a bad sign when picking a personal injury lawyer.

5. Do you get along with your personal injury lawyer and his/her staff? This is so underrated. You are going to be dealing a lot with your personal injury lawyer and their staff over a long period of time. Personal injury cases can take many years to settle. It’s best that you go through that journey with people who get get along with, rather than people who you don’t like dealing with. Personal injury cases are difficult and stressful. There is no need to add additional stress and tension to the case in dealing with a team which you don’t like, or can’t seem to deal with. That’s why it’s important to have a legal team who is understanding, courteous, and pleasant to deal with.

6. Does your personal injury lawyer serve your community? This is also underrated and I will tell you why. As your case progresses, you might need to see a specialist, or get treatment from a registered health professional like an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, social worker, etc. You want your lawyer to know people in your community who can serve your needs. If you need treatment 3 times a week at your home, and your lawyer doesn’t have the right person for the job in your community, then what are you going to do? Are you going to trust the insurance company’s people to do the job? If you are putting your trust in the wrong person, who do not have your best interest in mind, it may harm your rehabilitation and your case.

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