Q&A on Fees and Laws

  1. How much does it cost for a consultation about my situation?

Answer: There is absolutely no cost for your first, confidential, assessment. You can tell your story in your own words and we will assess your situation and advice you accordingly. There is never any obligation for you to hire us as your representation. We will advise you on your injury and you can go from there.

  1. If I hire your firm to represent me, how do you get paid?

Answer: We operate under a contingency fee structure so you are not required to pay a retainer or fees for other services such as disbursements (money we spent in order to fund your claim) as long as your case can be settled without going to trial. Therefore, our fee comes from the defending insurance company at time of resolution whether trial or settlement.

  1. Should I sign anything before consulting a lawyer?

Answer: No. You should never sign anything until you have spoken to a lawyer who represents your needs and not anyone else’s. Only a lawyer working on your behalf is concerned about you and your rights. Do not ever sign anything until you have informed, legal advice from a qualified lawyer who works on your behalf. This person should be a member in good standing with Law Society of Upper Canada.

  1. What does “No-fault” insurance mean and how does it apply to me?

Answer: No-fault insurance applies to any accidents where the insured claims accident benefits from his or her own insurance company even when the accident is caused by that person. These are called Accident Benefits. Therefore, if you were injured in a car accident and you were at fault, you are still eligible to receive accident benefits from your own insurance company. If you were not at fault for the accident you are eligible for accident benefits as well as a tort claim.

  1. What does “Tort” mean?

Answer: Tort refers the person who is at fault for the accident. If you are not at fault for your accident you can make a tort claim against the individual who caused the accident. As stated above, you are also eligible to receive Accident Benefits.

  1. I was injured in a slip and fall accident not a motor vehicle accident. What compensation am I entitled to?

Answer: If you have sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, referred to as general damages, loss of income and loss of ability to earn income, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses and any healthcare expenses not covered by OHIP or other sources. Your entitlement to compensation for this type of injury will depend upon the circumstances of your fall. (Contact Us) to make an appointment so we can advice you on the best course of action for your specific situation.

  1. What is a deductible with regards to a tort claim?

Answer: A deductible is the amount of money that and insurance company does not have to pay you from any award for general damages that a jury might award you or from an agreed assessment of your general damages (pain and suffering). For example, if a jury awarded you general damages in the amount of $75,000 the insurance company would only have to pay you $60,000 if your accident occurred between November 1, 1996 and September 30, 2003. The deductible is $15,000. However, if your accident occurred after or on October 1, 2003 the deductible is $30,000 unless the jury awards you $100,000 or more in which case there is no deductible.

  1. What does it mean to “meet threshold”?

Answer: The term “threshold” is a verbal description of those injuries that are sufficiently severe to be entitled to an award for pain and suffering. The definition changes under the various versions of The Insurance Act, and the date of your accident determines which Insurance Regime applies. In a very broad sense, you must satisfy the Trial Judge that you suffer from a serious and permanent impairment of an important physical, mental or emotional bodily function that is ongoing in nature. It is important to understand that it is a complex set of facts particular to each case that leads to the conclusion that your injuries pass the threshold. There are many factors that have to be considered, including but not limited to the injury itself, any impact on employment and education, as well as the degree to which the impairment(s) affect social and recreational activities.

  1. Is my family eligible for compensation even though I was injured?

Answer: Yes. The Family Law Act provides for recovery to some extent for the loss of guidance, care and companionship as well as certain out of pocket expenses. Additionally, the Accident Benefits insurer (most often your own insurance company) pays certain expenses to family members.

  1. How long will it take to complete my lawsuit?

Answer: The time to resolve your lawsuit varies considerably. It varies greatly, depending on the number of people involved, the nature of the injuries and other pecuniary damages, insurance coverage issues and even the personalities involved i.e. the particular insurance company or companies, the adjuster, and eventually the lawyers themselves. Every effort is made to resolve your lawsuit in a timely manner, but please keep in mind that certain injuries, impairments and losses take time to mature or manifest themselves. The best resolution is not always the fastest. Each case is as unique as the person injured, and no hard and fast rule applies.

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