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5 Questions you need to ask when hiring a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer.

By Matt Lalande in 5 on the Fly, Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer on July 11, 2023

5 Questions you need to ask when hiring a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer.

Five on the Fly: 5 Questions to Ask when Hiring a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer

Navigating the selection of a personal injury lawyer in a time of need can be especially challenging in today’s media-saturated landscape. There are many personal injury lawyers with commercials on TV, advertisements on social media, and billboards along highways, each proclaiming that their law firm is the best choice.

Amidst this barrage of promotional material, it’s hard to determine who you can really trust. Without personal referrals or firsthand experiences, it’s even harder to separate genuine expertise from mere marketing noise. That’s why it’s critically important to arm yourself with the right questions. Asking about success rates, strategies, and past experiences can help you cut through the clutter, helping you identify the lawyer who can truly advocate for you in your journey towards justice.

Remember, you only have one chance to the right lawyer in a time of need. Below are 5 questions that we suggest you should always ask when interviewing Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyers to represent you in your case.

1. What is your experience with Serious Injury, Employment Law, Wrongful Death and Long-Term Disability Law cases?

When contemplating hiring a Hamilton personal injury lawyer in Ontario, particularly for cases involving serious accidents, wrongful death, or disability claims, it’s crucial to understand their specific expertise in these areas. Personal injury law encompasses a broad spectrum, with each area carrying its own unique legal intricacies. It is a question you MUST ask you Hamilton personal injury lawyer during your interview.

Why? In Ontario, there are many complex laws and legislation governing many different types of personal injury cases like slip and falls, serious accidents, wrongful death, and disability claims. Lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases must clearly understand all facets of legislation such as the Family Law Act, the Occupiers Liability Act, the Dog Owners Liability Act and the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) in order to provide proper and competent representation. It’s important to remember that if you’re going through a major life changing event not to hire a lawyer who “dabbles’ but rather you hire a Hamilton personal injury lawyer with experience and expertise in the area of law in which you need assistance with. The specialized experience of a lawyer in these areas goes beyond their years in practice. It is their track record, success rates, the verdicts they have obtained and the average settlements they have managed to secure for their clients that truly count. Any Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer that you speak to should be open to sharing this information, and possibly provide references from past clients who had similar cases. This will give you a clearer picture of what you might expect from your case and will assist you in choosing the most qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you in Hamilton.

2. What is your fee structure like? Do I need to pay anything upfront?

Most Hamilton personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you recover money. Be sure to understand how this percentage is calculated, whether it’s negotiable, and if you’ll be responsible for any costs if you don’t win your case.

Before you speak to a Hamilton personal injury lawyer it’s important to understand the theory behind contingency fees.

A contingency fee is a payment arrangement that depends on the outcome of a case. In simple terms, a contingency fee means that your attorney doesn’t get paid unless you win your case or get a settlement.

Let’s say you hire a personal injury lawyer to help your loved one with a case after a serious car accident. Instead of paying them upfront or by the hour, you agree to a contingency fee arrangement. If you win your case or get a settlement, your attorney gets a percentage of the money you receive. The percentage can vary, but it’s often around 25-30%%.

This arrangement has several benefits:

  1. No Upfront Fees: Contingency fees allow people to hire a Hamilton personal injury lawyer without having to pay upfront. This is especially helpful if you’ve been in an accident, are unable to work, and have mounting medical bills – and cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
  2. Shared Risk: With a contingency fee, the lawyer shares the risk of the case with you. If you don’t win, they don’t get paid, which can motivate them to work hard to win your case.
  3. Access to Justice: Contingency fees can provide access to the legal system for individuals who may not have the resources to pay an Hamilton lawyer upfront.
  4. Aligns Interests: The contingency arrangement aligns the lawyer’s interests with yours. The more money they can win for you, the more they get paid.

3. How long will my case take?

This is great question with no straight forward answer. In Ontario, the duration of personal injury cases often extends over long periods due to several complex factors. One of the primary reasons is the need to reach “Maximum Medical Recovery” (MMR), or a stable baseline in the health condition of the injured party. Determining MMR is crucial to ascertain the full extent of the injuries, the potential for future recovery, and the long-term impacts on the victim’s quality of life. This process involves careful monitoring of the patient’s health progress, which inherently takes time. It would be negligent to settle a case early and a waste of Court resources to bring a case to trial that is not ready.

Additionally, the complexity of legal procedures, which involve numerous assessments, medical examinations, and the need for expert opinions, contributes to the length of personal injury cases. Each of these assessments aims to provide a clear and detailed understanding of the injuries sustained, the liability of the involved parties, and the appropriate amount of compensation. The collection, evaluation, and presentation of this evidence, especially when multiple experts are involved, can be a lengthy process.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a substantial impact on the timelines of personal injury cases. The sudden transition to virtual court proceedings, along with a backlog of cases, has resulted in significant court delays. The pandemic has disrupted not only court schedules but also the timeliness of medical treatments and evaluations necessary for personal injury cases.

Other factors that may extend the duration of personal injury cases in Ontario include the negotiation process with insurance companies, who often initially resist paying full compensation, and the readiness of the plaintiff and their attorney to go to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached. Also, the more severe the injury, the more complicated the case generally becomes, often leading to increased duration.

Our typical case involving a serious injury lasts approximately 2 to 3 years.

4. Do you have Trial Experience?

Surprisingly, most lawyers do not and without trial experience, cases are viewed in a vacuum – meaning they are viewed only within the knowledge of what the lawyer knows and practices.

Hiring a Hamilton personal injury lawyer with trial experience can significantly impact the trajectory and outcome of your case. First, an experienced trial lawyer’s reputation often provides leverage during negotiations with insurance companies. Insurers are aware that lawyers with a strong track record and are more likely to offer a fair settlement to avoid costly and unpredictable trial outcomes. Second, these lawyers have in-depth knowledge and expertise in court procedures, evidentiary rules, and case law, which can be pivotal in your case. Their ability to craft compelling arguments and effectively present your case to a judge or jury is invaluable. Moreover, a lawyer who has frequently been in the courtroom will approach a potential trial with confidence. This assertiveness can positively influence the course of your case, as they are not easily intimidated by opposing counsel or complex court proceedings. Lastly, trial-experienced lawyers tend to prepare a case from the outset as if it will go to trial. This level of thoroughness ensures that no detail is overlooked and can often lead to more favorable settlements or verdicts. They view the case through the lens of a potential trial, meticulously gathering and analyzing evidence to construct the most robust possible argument for their client.

When you interview Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyers, make sure to always ask about trial experience.

5. What is your success rate as a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer?

Remember – a lawyer’s past success is NOT a guarantee of future success in any case. This is very important to understand – but asking the Hamilton personal injury lawyer that you interview about their success rate is crucial as it can provide a multifaceted understanding of their professional capabilities, from their experience and skill level to their strategy and approach to cases.

Firstly, the success rate can be a clear indicator of an accident lawyer’s experience and skill. Lawyers with a high success rate have often navigated through many cases, which means they have had multiple opportunities to refine their legal knowledge and their ability to apply that knowledge effectively. This practical experience can also translate into a greater understanding of the complexities of personal injury law and the skill to construct a strong, persuasive case. It suggests that they have mastered the ability to scrutinize evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and present compelling arguments in court if necessary.

However, understanding the lawyer’s success rate should also provide you with an insight into their strategy and approach. It’s important to inquire about the nature of the cases they have handled and the strategy they employed to win. For instance, a lawyer might have a high success rate because they strategically choose to represent ‘easy’ cases or they aggressively negotiate for quick, albeit lower, settlements. This approach could work well if your case is straightforward and a quick resolution is your priority.

On the other hand, if your case is more complex, a Hamilton lawyer with a track record of winning tough cases in court might be more desirable. This would suggest that they are not afraid to go the extra mile, thoroughly investigate, prepare meticulously, and litigate intensely on your behalf. Their success rate in such scenarios would reflect their resilience, strategic foresight, and courtroom prowess.

Do you need to speak to a Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer?

Are you in a time of need, struggling with the aftermath of an injury and need to speak to a Hamilton personal injury lawyer? We understand that the period following a personal injury can be one of uncertainty, pain, and immense stress.

Dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath is challenging enough, let alone navigating the complexities of a personal injury case. That’s why choosing the right lawyer is crucial. We can help. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can provide you with the thorough, compassionate, and effective representation. Remember, a successful resolution to your case can greatly aid in your recovery and provide the closure you need to move forward. Allow us to shoulder the legal burden so you can focus on what’s most important – your recovery and wellbeing. Reach out today and let us help turn your struggle into a journey towards justice.

Call us local in Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888 or no matter where you are in Ontario, toll free, at 1-844-LALANDE. Alternatively, you can chat with our live website operator 24/7 or fill out a contact form through our website, and someone from our office will get back to you within 24 hours.

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