The most common thought that many new clients and their families share with us is: “I’ve never been through this before.” Like them, you may be experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions as a result of your injuries, or the catastrophic injury – or even death – of a loved one. You may be grieving, feel hopeless and looking for information and support. We’ve assembled some of the best resources here for you to learn more about personal injury law and personal injury lawsuits in Ontario.
Knowledge is Power.
Surviving a life-changing personal injury or death of a family member is extremely difficult. It has a profound physical, psychological and financial impact on injured people and family members. For many, Ontario’s complex legal system and insurance companies may make matters worse and heighten their anxieties.
From Trauma to Trial is designed as a step-by-step guide to help you learn what to expect from the legal system. It will help you understand the legal process and reduce your anxieties so that you can focus on what’s important – your recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
No doubt all of your thoughts right now are focused on the health of your loved one. Yet at this point there is little you can do for them from a medical perspective as the medical professionals do their jobs. Personal injury lawyers are probably the furthest thing from your mind.
From a legal perspective however, there is something that you can do that will help. It sounds rather self-serving but, the best advice is to contact us. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: The more seriously injured your loved one the faster you should contact us.
There are a number of reasons. First is that we will want to investigate how the accident happened. This may include interviewing police officers and independent witnesses. We may want our expert forensic engineers to examine the scene of the accident along with any vehicles involved. Many times they are able to download information from the so called “black box” of a vehicle. This gives us important information about the speed and behavior of the drivers involved. We cannot solely rely on the police investigation as they are looking at things from a different perspective and many times their investigations are incomplete.
Waiting to call us means that you run the risk of important evidence disappearing or being destroyed and therefore damaging your loved ones’ case. Skid marks on the road fade. Witnesses disappear or phone numbers are lost. Vehicles are sent to the scrap yard and destroyed. We need as much of this evidence as possible to win the case.
The second reason to contact us soon after a serious accident is so that we can help make arrangements for you or your loved ones’ discharge from the hospital. Usually, seriously injured people will require devices and accommodations in their home following their discharge from hospital. Many will require interim housing arrangements while their home is modified to accommodate their needs. We work with a network of expert health care professionals who can assist you and your family with these matters.
At the same time however, hospital discharge plans are unpredictable and depends on patient needs and bed space availability; in other words, you could find yourself being discharged with no accommodations in place at home or no interim housing arrangements. That’s why it’s important to contact us very early after serious injury; so our team can assist you in making these arrangements.
If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries but are recovering well, you may still need a personal injury lawyer. In situations like this it’s better to be safe than sorry. We can meet with you and your loved one, free of charge, inform you of your rights and you can then make decisions in an informed way. There is no downside.
We understand. The vast majority of our seriously injured clients were in your shoes also at one point in time. Just because you call our firm however, does not mean there will necessarily be a law suit. But you won’t know your rights unless you call or meet with us. There is no downside to a call as it is free as is our initial consultation.
We hear this a lot from people. We understand you haven’t been through this before. While many people tend to focus on who is at fault for an accident, a good rule of thumb to follow in whether you need to call us is the more serious the injury to you or your loved one, the more likely it is that you will need our help right away.
More often than not, insurance companies treat people well in the beginning but they should not be counselling you about whether you should consult a personal injury lawyer.
Sooner or later disputes tend to arise because your insurance company cuts off your benefits or denies you a benefit you are entitled to under the law. By that point however you may be at a disadvantage in dealing with your insurance company. It is better to have us on your side sooner rather than later.
We understand that trust is something that must be earned. It is not automatic and it takes time to build just like in every relationship. Over the years however, we’ve earned the trust of hundreds of seriously injured clients and their families. Hear video and written testimonials from some of our former clients who’s trust we’ve earned and judge for yourself.
You won’t find us with American style television or radio ads bragging about our firm’s accomplishments. Close to 100% of our work comes from former clients, other lawyers and health care providers who trust us and know our reputation for excellence in client service, experience and expertise in dealing with serious and catastrophic injury claims. Click here to hear from some of our former clients.
Two things in particular separate us from the crowd.
First is our experience handling serious injury claims. Bill and our team have close to 20 years-experience handling the most serious of personal injury claims from spinal cord injury, to traumatic brain injury to complex orthopaedic injury claims. These sorts of injuries can be life altering and can affect the financial livelihood of a family for decades and in some cases generations. They require a personal injury law firm with experience and expertise in the area. It’s kind of like someone who requires brain surgery; they would not got to their family doctor for this they would go to a neurosurgeon. The same applies to serious injury cases. Click here to read more about Bill’s expertise and experience (link to bio).
The second thing that sets us apart is the level of service our clients receive. Going to your lawyer should not be like going to the dentist to have a tooth extracted. In our firm, you’re not another file number, you are part of our family. Law suits can be stressful and we make every effort to lessen the burden on you and/or your family members so that you can focus on what’s most important: recovery.
On your first call to our office, our Client Relations Coordinator will answer your call. After learning you are a potential new client she will transfer you to a person who will speak to you about the accident and injuries you or your family member suffered. We receive many calls and referrals and want to ensure we understand what happened to you or your family member.
Following your call to our office, we will call you within 24 hours and advise you if we think we may be able to help you and your loved one. We will arrange a mutually convenient time for you and your family to meet Bill in the hospital, your home or our offices.
While it is not necessary to have any documents available at our first meeting in the hospital or our office, it is helpful. In particular, it is helpful to have the following documents and information available:
• A copy of any police report;
• Any occurrence number given by police;
• The name and badge number of the investigating police officer;
• The names and/or contact information for any witnesses you are aware of;
• Information about any insurance policies including car insurance (if you or your loved one was injured in a car accident) or disability insurance policies;
• Any photographs you, friends or family may have taken of the scene of the accident;
• Any photographs you, friends or family may have taken of the injuries sustained;
• Any medical reports that may have been provided to you.
We understand that when a loved one is injured it is a stressful and hectic time. We have designed our client experience to give you some peace of mind: to reduce the burdens on the family and injured clients so they can focus on the most important thing:
We are the experts in personal injury law, but only you can be the expert on your and your family’s needs. We do not believe in applying a cookie cutter approach, as each and every case and experience is unique. We invest the time to learn about you and your family. We will fight hard to ensure that your voice is heard, and that we provide you and your family the care needed to thrive for the long term.
From the moment you walk through our door, you will feel relief. Our receptionist, welcomes you by name and offers you a seat in chairs that are specifically designed for people with mobility impairments.
Our case management approach will ensure that you have the right team of experts on the journey to recovery. From helping navigate complicated insurance terms, to increasing options for mobility needs and modifications while ensuring that your family has the ongoing financial support they need.
A law suit is started by simply filing documents with the Court.
In most personal injury cases the legal document that is filed is called a Statement of Claim. A lawyer drafts a Statement of Claim setting out the following:
• How much compensation is being claimed in a law suit;
• Who is suing – s/he is referred to as the “plaintiff”;
• Who is being sued – s/he is referred to as the “defendant”;
• How the accident happened;
• What the defendant did wrong – this is referred to as “negligence”;
• What injuries and impairments resulted;
• The types of claims being made for eg. loss of income, cost of future care, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life; and
• Where the trial should be held if there is a trial.
Examinations for discovery are an out of Court question and answer process designed to allow the parties to a dispute to understand the other side of the case.
Bill will meet with you well before examinations for discovery and will be there with you during the examinations for discovery to ensure that your rights are protected.
Mediation is a meeting between all the parties to a dispute, their lawyers and a person called a “mediator”. The purpose of the mediation is to resolve the dispute between the parties. Each lawyer usually makes a presentation of his or her client’s case. This is referred to as an opening. Following this, the parties go to separate rooms and the mediator begins his/her job. They will present arguments and offers throughout the mediation. While many cases settle at mediation all of them do not.
Bill will meet with you well before any mediation in your case to explain the process and ensure you understand it. He will advise you about what to expect and the appropriate potential settlement value of your case so that you can make informed decisions about any settlement offers received.
The short answer is probably not. The vast majority of personal injury cases settle.
Despite this, we prepare every case as if it may go to trial. This is the only way to maximize your compensation. As a personal injury law firm we are willing and able to take your case to trial if the defence refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of your claims in a settlement offer.
While every case is different, on average it takes 3-4 years to resolve a personal injury case. The facts of the case dictate whether it will take a longer or shorter amount of time. For example, cases in which someone has passed away may take less time to resolve than a serious or catastrophic injury case. On the other hand, cases involving injuries to children may take longer to resolve because of medical factors unique to children.
Have more questions about personal injury lawsuits in Ontario? Learn more from Bill Teggart’s videos explaining some of the key aspects of a personal injury case.