When it comes to choosing a lawyer after a car accident, there are many factors to consider and weigh carefully. You want a lawyer who practices personal injury law, who you can trust to protect your rights, advance your interests and help you to obtain the most compensation for your injuries and income loss. Below are details on how you may consider choosing a lawyer if you or a loved one have been injured in car accident.
Years Of Experience
As a lawyer gains years of experience, his or her value in the profession is considered to rise as well. A lawyer who has been practising personal injury law for many years, for example, will have more experience to draw from than a lawyer who recently passed the bar exam. So, you will want to ask at your initial meeting as to who would be the lawyer assigned to your file. If a junior lawyer is assigned to work with you, will a more senior lawyer oversee the work? If an experienced lawyer agrees to take on your file, has he or she had a case similar to yours before and what is his or her success rate in successfully settling cases? Asking questions early is the best way to assess whether a particular lawyer or law firm is right for your case.
Generalist Vs Personal Injury Accident Lawyer
In a personal injury matter, a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law is highly recommended, especially one that represents injured victims solely. While many generalist lawyers take on personal injury cases, a generalist lawyer is unlikely to have access to a wide array of medical professionals who can be called upon as experts to attest to your condition. A generalist will not have the same experience as a personal injury lawyer and may not be familiar with the latest case law or know what legislative changes are being proposed.
Whether you are considering a lawyer based on a referral or a google search, available information about a lawyer’s reputation can be helpful. How a lawyer has treated past clients may indicate how he or she may treat you and your case.
The first place you may wish to start to see if a lawyer is in good standing with his or her regulator. If you search the lawyer’s name under the Law Society of Ontario’s directory, you will find the practising status of the lawyer, including any discipline history, any practice restrictions, and if there is a trusteeship. If there was a professional misconduct was found by an LSO investigation, the record will show this information.
In Law Society of Upper Canada v. Khan, 2015 ONLSTH 7, for example, the lawyer, Mr. Kahn failed to obtain the signature of his clients on a formal release and he erroneously overbilled by $5,000 in disbursements. As a result, Mr. Kahn underwent LSO suspension terms, including being suspended from practicing for six months and being restricted for the first two years to practicing as an employee with conditions attached.
Testimonials or references from past clients is an additional way of gauging how a lawyer has treated clients in the past. You can ask the lawyer for the contact information of a former client with similar injuries for a reference.
When looking to hire lawyer, you may be interested to know whether that lawyer has contributed to professional organizations. If the lawyer has presented or published in the field professionally, such as the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, LSO or with other professional organizations, you may want to take note of these accomplishments. Although many lawyers focus on client cases, publishing an article or book in the field or chairing a program demonstrates that the lawyer is current on his or her field information.
Keep in mind that every lawyer who is practising law has a 12 hour annual continuing professional development requirement to fulfill each year for maintenance and enhancement of knowledge. This requirement is mandatory in order to maintaining annual registration as a practising legal professional.
Legal Fees & Disbursements
Fee arrangements are an additional consideration in choosing a lawyer for your personal injury case. Some lawyers require a retainer fee up front, while others will only charge on a contingency fee basis, upon resolution of your case. Some lawyers charge for third party disbursements (e.g., medical legal reports) as they are incurred, while others make payment from the compensation obtained. Also, if an accident benefit lawyer in Collingwood will be handling your accident benefits claim, the fee arrangement may differ than the tort claim. Most likely the lawyer will review the entire retainer agreement with you step by step. However, don’t feel pressured to sign the agreement immediately in the office. Before signing anything, ensure that the lawyer you meet with is the one who will be responsible for your case.
Although the vast majority of cases settle before trial, you may want to ask if the lawyer you are considering has trial experience. You might ask if the lawyer has tried cases in the Superior Court and, if so, the results and case names.
Your Gut Feelings
Perhaps one of the most frequent factors sited by clients in selecting a personal injury lawyer is who they feel they can trust. An in-personal consultation is critical so you can measure the lawyer’s fit with your needs and personality, even if a friend or colleague recommends the lawyer to you. The best lawyer in the world cannot successfully represent you if you don’t have enough confidence in him or her to share relevant personal information.
Keep in mind that not all law firms are equal and neither are the lawyers who make up the firm. In fact, each firm is unique, as are its members, just as each client is unique and so is each accident case.
Unless there are special circumstances that suggest otherwise, you will want to hire a personal injury lawyer that practices locally or in the location where your accident occurred. Much of the work can be done by phone or electronic communication, but you will want to meet the lawyer in person at least for the initial consultation.
Obtain Your Free Consultation With Tamming Law, Car Accident Lawyer in Owen Sound.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, our legal services in Owen Sound, Collingwood or Port Elgin are available to you. Our lawyers practice exclusively in personal injury law, which make us powerful advocates for injured victims, both in and outside the courtroom. Practising law for nearly 30 years, we have an excellent reputation in motor vehicle accident claims. We will fight hard to help you obtain the most compensation possible. Call us at 1-519-371-8999.