When you have been injured, it is important to hire a good lawyer. Victims often have difficulty separating their emotions from the law. A good lawyer not only addresses the law, but pays attention to your state of mind so that the claims process or lawsuits can be as smooth as possible for both victims and lawyers.
When selecting a lawyer, consider the firms specialties. This may have an impact on the outcome of your case. For example, numerous lawyers in Toronto specialize in automobile accidents, but they may also have great knowledge of cases dealing with pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents or even public transportation accidents. Others may specialize in personal injuries and have expert staff on hand such as medical malpractice lawyers, disability lawyers, dental malpractice lawyers, or even brain and spinal cord injury attorneys.
Some items to consider before you make your selection:
- Make sure the lawyer is licensed to practice in Ontario – Basic, but is very important. Attorneys are licensed to practice law in a given province by the Ontario Bar Association. An attorney who is not licensed to practice in Ontario in which the lawsuit arises cannot represent you.
- Check the law firm’s specialty – Depending on the type of claim, check with the law firm to make sure they have a lawyer that specializes in your type of case. If you have a personal injury such as a slip and fall, you may want to ask how many cases your lawyer has dealt with in this area. You may want to look for a firm that specializes in this field.
- Take notice of your lawyer’s personality – Many people simply accept their lawyer’s personality – whether it is compatible with theirs or not. This is usually because the lawyer is deemed as the expert. But a claim may last a long time, sometimes spanning years. As a victim, you may want to be informed on a regular basis. Make sure there is a clear understanding from the lawyer about how often you need updates, whether or now you need follow up calls or meetings to avoid client and lawyer frustration.
- Does your lawyer have a good bar standing – Check with the provincial bar association to ensure that your lawyer is in good standing with no disciplinary proceedings against them.
- Fee agreements – BEFORE engaging the lawyer for representation, make sure you have a clear understanding of how the lawyer collects his/her fees. Lawyers have very different ways of charging clients from retainers to contingency agreements so check with your lawyer to see how he/she charges and whether their method is acceptable to you.