How to Choose a Lawyer
Choosing the right personal injury lawyer is an important task. Below you will find a list of questions PIA member firms have put together to help you with your decision.
The Financial Terms of Your Retainer
- How do you set your fees? Do you require any money from the client as a retainer? Does your firm finance the entire case, including disbursements?
- Will you confirm in writing to your client that you require no monetary retainer and that the client will owe you nothing if you are not successful?
- With respect to Accident Benefits, do you charge a percentage of any benefits paid on a periodic basis, or do you charge only for collection of a lump sum?
Your Experience in Managing and Taking Cases to Trial
- How long have you been practising personal injury law on behalf of injured people? Do you also act for insurance companies? What proportion of your work is solely for injured people?
- What are the names of cases you have tried in Superior Court on behalf of injured people in the last 5 years? What were the results in these cases?
- Can you refer a potential client to former clients with similar injuries who can provide a reference or testimonial concerning your work?
- Do you have a network of community healthcare providers whom you call on to assist your clients?
- Can you refer a potential client to community healthcare providers who can provide a reference?
- What other professionals in your firm will assist you in representing a client? What is their training? What will each of them do?
- Will you, either by yourself or with a colleague within your own firm, be the lawyer responsible for the client’s case? Or, will you be referring the case to some other lawyer in another law firm?
- When was the last time you appeared in court at a trial that went to judgment or verdict?
- Can you provide the names of 3 cases you have tried in the last 5 years where the injury or injuries suffered were (a) traumatic brain injury; (b) spinal cord injury; (c) orthopaedic injury? What were the results? Were the cases settled during trial or taken to verdict or to judgment?
- Do you use illustrators and animators to prepare demonstrative evidence to prove your client’s impairments or to illustrate case theories?
Your Reputation within the Personal Injuries Bar Association and Healthcare Professionals
- Provide details of invited presentations you have given to lawyers in your field in the last 5 years, or programs you have chaired?
- Provide particulars of articles or books you have written on personal injury, courtroom advocacy, or insurance law?
- What awards or honours have you received from your colleagues for your work or your teachings?
- Have you been recognized for your skill and reputation, or are you a member of any of the following: LEXPERT®, Best Lawyers in Canada, American College of Trial Lawyers, Litigation Counsel of America, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association?
Are you recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in civil litigation?
- Have you or members of your firm acted as a director or president of The Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Ontario Bar Association, or any other trial lawyers association?
- Have you or any member of your firm co-authored any submissions to the government, or the law society, relating to legal issues in the personal injury field?