Proudly Serving the National Capital Region.
If you live in Ottawa or the surrounding area, and you’ve been seriously injured, it may be prudent to seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Not only does this provide you the best chance of maximizing a potential settlement, it can also make your life far easier.
Your attorney can help with everything from handling insurance claims, making sense of paperwork and other administrative matters, as well as helping you actually deal with your injury and any effects on your day to day life.
The following is an overview of important facts and considerations about dealing with a personal injury in Canada.
What Qualifies as a Personal Injury?
A personal injury occurs when you have been injured physically or psychologically as a result of the actions of a person, company, government agency, or other entity. The victim may be permanently or temporarily disabled as a result of the injury that has been suffered. If the injury resulted in death, a spouse, child, parent or other family member may attempt to file a personal injury claim or pursue a case in lieu of the family member that has passed away.
You can sue to be awarded punitive damages if you have suffered a loss of the quality of your life, pain and suffering, lost earning potential, lost wages and medical expenses, for instance. Some types of personal injury cases include the following: automotive and other motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, brain injuries, workplace injuries, defective consumer products, dog bites, and slip and fall accidents.
Tort law deals with economic or non-economic damages that have occurred to the plaintiff, their personal property, reputation, or rights. Personal injury cases are a type of tort law that deals specifically with the physical, emotional and economic consequences of an injury to a person. These are known as civil cases and are often filed as a way to seek monetary compensation, which is separate from any criminal charges which may have been levelled against the defendant by the justice system.
The Role of Your Personal Injury Lawyer
Your attorney will try to prove that you [referred to as the plaintiff during the proceedings] were injured due to the negligence of the defendant. Negligence can consist of either an overt act which caused harm to another person, or failure to act adequately in order to prevent harm.
For example, if an office building owner allows their entrance steps to become rundown and unsafe, and a person slips and breaks their leg then this would be due to negligent behaviour. The lawyer’s role would be to establish a timeline to prove negligence and that the business was at fault.
Your lawyer can also help you with issues like getting appropriate medical care and physiotherapy, filing the proper disability claims, and helping with any accessibility requirements at your home, as a result of the injury.
The Process of Pursuing an Injury Lawsuit
The process of pursuing a personal injury case begins with the selection of the lawyer. This is an important task because you are putting your trust in a person (and/or firm) who will have a profound impact on your chances of being awarded damages. Ottawa Injury Attorneys can provide you with a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss your case before going forward.
All lawyers in Ottawa and across the province are governed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is Ontario’s governing body. Each province has its own law society; see the Federation of Law Societies for more information. This helps to ensure that lawyers adhere to the ethical and professional legal standards required to practice law in Canada.
Your accident lawyer, as they are sometimes called, is considered a ‘plaintiff lawyer’ as he or she helps you – the plaintiff – bring a claim or case against the responsible party. Once a lawyer has been hired, they will begin the process of trying to gather all of the pertinent facts and details, including gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses if applicable. Providing your attorney with a complete and accurate description of the facts, events, and circumstances will help build a strong case that gives you the best possible chance of winning and/or maximizing your settlement.
In many instances, it is actually insurance companies which are liable for paying damages on behalf of the policy holder (the responsible party). In some cases, such as car accidents, you may actually be seeking damages from your own insurance company. Naturally, insurance companies will try to limit the amount of money they have to pay out in damages and will use their legal team and considerable resources to reduce their liability.
Dealing with an injury while trying to navigate the complex world of insurance claims can be overwhelming. Your lawyer will use their experience to guide you through the process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. Your attorney will then consult with you prior to accepting any offer.
The Fees Associated with Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Lawyers have four types of fee structures that they offer their clients. These are contingency, hourly, flat and retainers. The contingency payment structure is the most commonly used structure for personal injury cases. This is when a lawyer collects a fee for their services only when they are able to win a favourable judgement either at trial or through a settlement for their client.
A retainer is an agreement in which a person pays their lawyer a specified amount as a deposit and then are billed moving forward for the legal services. This type of billing is common for legal services provided to companies and other organizations.
If a lawyer charges you hourly then you will get a list of their billable hours as an invoice and you have to pay according to a payment plan that you reach. Some personal injury lawyers charge a flat fee for their services which can save people money if the case is settled quickly.
The Settlement Factor in Personal Injury Cases
Many personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. This is because going to trial tends to be a long and costly process for all parties involved. Reaching a settlement also provides a more predictable outcome (rather than relying on the ruling of a judge for instance) and can allow the plaintiff to receive guaranteed compensation in a more reasonable time frame.
In the case of product liability lawsuits for instance, out of court settlements are also generally seen as more favourable from a public relations standpoint and the liable company may be willing to pay a larger settlement to avoid the negative press of going to trial.
As with any legal matter, you may run into a great deal of hurdles along the way. This is why seeking advice from a legal professional is crucial to making the right decisions, avoiding common mistakes, being well prepared and ensuring you achieve your desired outcome. We help you get the full compensation you rightfully deserve.
Use the form on the right or give us a call to book your free consultation, where a lawyer will carefully review your case and help guide in the important next steps. Once you’ve scheduled your initial consultation, see our Getting Started Guide for tips on how to prepare and what to bring.