Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
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How much is my personal injury case worth?
There’s no straight answer to this, the most common question!
Insurance companies evaluate cases using many variables. Their job is to minimize your claim, while my job is to maximize it.
It also depends on how your injury progresses and we can’t know that until enough time has gone by.
For example, brain injuries that don’t appear to be serious at first, can become very serious over time. Furthermore, people don’t always heal the same. The same injury can impact different people differently.
I will work with you to raise the profile of your case and negotiate the best possible outcome in regard to money.
How long will it take to settle my personal injury case?
Most personal injury cases will take one to three years to resolve. This is why it’s important to hire a lawyer you trust and with whom you feel comfortable.
I’ve heard there are “timelines” if I’ve been in an accident, what are they?
There are statutes of limitations – deadlines – that we must work within when launching a suit. It’s important to know these deadlines and they vary from situation to situation. They also vary from province to province so don’t assume what goes for Alberta, for example, is what goes for Ontario.
Why should I be cautious with what I post on social media?
This is a great question – and a big issue.
The trouble with posting haphazardly on social media is that insurance companies routinely use surveillance and research plaintiffs (i.e. you) on social media.
If they see something that ‘appears’ to fly in the face of what you’ve previously communicated, for example, you can’t cut your lawn but then they see a picture of you cutting your lawn, this will erode your credibility and could impact your compensation package.
It doesn’t matter that you were simply trying to see if you could cut the lawn and ended up in bed for three days; the damage is done.
Read more about using social media while in a personal injury suit
Can insurance companies use surveillance?
They can and they do. Regularly.
Provided you are 100% honest from the start and inform me of changes in your condition so that I can inform the insurance company, it shouldn’t be an issue.
It’s when one’s situation changes, but that change is not reported, that surveillance can cause a problem similar to what we see when clients get tripped up with social media (read above.)
Do I have to go to the treatment provider my insurance company is telling me to use or can I go to the one I prefer?
You are free to go to the treatment provider you choose yourself.
It’s common for insurance companies to encourage you to use their provider, but I always advise my clients to go the provider they trust.
If that’s the same provider that the insurance company suggests, great. But if it’s not, don’t worry, you can still go to whomever you prefer.
Do you have experience with cases like mine?
I have experience with most areas of personal injury law.
I try not to be that personal injury lawyer who posts all their wins on their site with big dollar signs, but I’m happy to share that list with you in person.
Those areas I deal with most frequently are long term disability cases, injuries resulting from a car accident, and traumatic brain injuries.
I also have experience with slip and fall claims, motorcycle accident claims, wrongful death, and even dog bite injuries.
Take a look at those areas in which I focus here.
How do you know how insurance companies think?
Because I’ve worked for them.
When I started my career, I worked defense for the big insurance firms. I argued cases from the insurance side so I learned firsthand how insurance companies think, how they determine compensation offers, and the tactics they use to decrease the value of your case.
This is why I became a personal injury lawyer – because I saw the difference a good personal injury lawyer could make and I wanted to represent those individuals who needed it.
To learn more about my background and why I became a personal injury lawyer, continue here
How are your fees set, retainer or contingency basis?
My fees are contingent on there being a recovery i.e. you only pay if you receive a settlement
If I don’t get a personal injury settlement, do I have to pay anything?
If we don’t obtain a settlement for you (which is rare), you are responsible for disbursements.
These are out-of-pocket expenses I incur on your behalf. For example, the cost of getting copies of your doctor’s report or hospital charts.
If you are paid, the disbursements are settled above and beyond my percentage.
What about HST on your services?
I included this in the list because most clients forget about the HST!
Unfortunately, in the province of Ontario, we must charge HST. I wish I didn’t have to charge, but I do, so expect it.
How long have you been practicing 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?
I’ve worked in the field of personal injury for over 20 years although I opened my own practice more recently.
Prior to opening my own firm, I worked on behalf of the insurance companies so I learned how they think and saw first-hand what happens when people don’t have proper representation.
Now that I have my own practice, I do not act for insurance companies. I only represent victims. Read why I became a personal injury lawyer.
Who will be managing my case, you or another personal injury lawyer in your firm or even another firm?
I run a small office and a tight ship. That means that I don’t delegate your case to a junior lawyer and you get the benefit of my senior expertise from start to finish.
How many files do you manage on an ongoing basis, how much attention to you give to each file?
I intentionally take on fewer clients that other personal injury lawyers because it allows me to give each client more attention. My clients are not numbers; they are people who deserve my undivided focus.
When I was talking to my insurance case manager they kept bringing up “MIG”, what is this and how does it apply to me?
MIG stands for Minor Injury Guideline.
If you are deemed to have a minor injury, you only get a certain amount in treatment support, and, even if you require more, the insurance company will try to hold you to that amount.
I feel tired, strained and stressed that my benefits are going to be cut off, what do I do?
First off, you would be notified in writing if your benefits were to be cut off, but yes, there are signs to look for. I have a blog about that very topic on signs to look for when benefits are about to be cut.
I was recently in a motorcycle accident but I forgot to renew my car insurance, can I still get compensation for my injuries?
If you drove without insurance, you are not able to get compensation because there is no insurance company to sue.
Is your consultation really free?
My consultation is really free.
I will always let you know when we’ve come to a point that I’d need to bill you before we get there. You have my promise on that.
When it comes to fees, I’m 100% transparent, and if there’s anything you’re not sure of, feel free to ask.
I used a personal injury calculator and it said I was entitled to a large payout. Can you get me that payout?
Personal injury calculators are not worth the online space they occupy.
Personal injury suits have so many variables; no one case is the same. There are also factors that calculators simply can’t take into account like credibility and how each person heals.
If you want to get an idea of what your case could be worth, your best bet is to talk to a lawyer in person.
Read why I’m not a fan of personal injury calculators
Should I settle my claim or proceed to Court?
This is a very good question not easily answered. Settling a case for the correct amount brings certainty to a very uncertain situation. Both you and the Insurance company have a hand in creating the final result. If you proceed to trial, you give the decision making power to a Judge and Jury and your personal point of view of what your case is worth is entirely irrelevant as is the opinion of your lawyer , the Insurer or its lawyer for that matter. The case is decided by six jurors taken from the community –think of the six people in front of you at the local Tim Horton’s. Not sure I would ant to put my faith in them. Unless the Insurer is being totally irresponsible in its view of a case, settlement is generally the best option in most cases. Sometimes a trial is necessary but I find those cases are few and far between. In order to maximize your recovery you need to create genuine and credible risk for the Insurer. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who has experience with both plaintiff and defense sides of the equation. I often use my previous defense experience to analyze how an Insurer will view a certain set of facts and to know from that, what medical documents/evidence, etc. I will need to procure to convince that insurer to resolve a claim fairly.