Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto

Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Toronto

Meeting with a Personal Injury Lawyer

Jerry Seinfeld once said, “To me, a lawyer is basically the person that knows the rules of the country. We're all throwing the dice, playing the game, moving our pieces around the board, but if there is a problem the lawyer is the only person who has read the inside of the top of the box.” When you’re dealing with an insurance claim due to personal injury, you may be tempted to try to do the work yourself. But these types of claims can be exacting and complex, and you will find that it’s far better to have someone on your side who’s “read the inside of the top of the box!”


Personal injury lawyers are unlike lawyers who work in other areas: they choose to work on the kinds of cases that they do because they are the kind of people who empathize with their clients’ predicaments and want to help them get the compensation they deserve. They also understand that when you (or a family member) has been injured, you may be at a low point in your life; you may be dealing with medical issues, unable to work and worried about the future. That’s why personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. Basically that means that your lawyer will not charge hourly rates; instead, personal injury lawyers will receive a percentage of any compensation that you are awarded. Since it’s likely that your claim will be more successful (and will move through the system more quickly) with a personal injury lawyer at the helm, working with one is a smart idea.


The Initial Consultation

In Canada, the initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is usually free of charge. You should arrange to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident, since a lawyer can advise you about the best course of action to take. If you are unable to leave the hospital or rehabilitation centre, a personal injury lawyer is often willing to travel to see you. During the course of an initial consultation, you can evaluate how well you can communicate with the lawyer, and whether or not you want to work with their firm. You can talk to several lawyers before choosing the one that you want to partner with. Some of the things you can consider are:

  • Does the lawyer deal exclusively with personal injury cases? We all know lawyers who deal with wills, family issues, or real estate transactions, but these lawyers will not have the necessary knowledge to steer your case through the complicated insurance process or a torts case.
  • Is your lawyer a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association? If not, why not? The OTLA is the professional association for lawyers, and your lawyer should have these credentials.
  • Does your lawyer have trial experience? Most personal injury cases are settled before they get to trial, but you will want to make sure that your lawyer has taken cases to trial and received good results. You don’t want to settle too soon, and you want to have the option of going to trial if necessary.
  • Does the lawyer have experience with claims similar to yours? For example, if your injury is considered catastrophic because of both physical and psychological factors, have they handled other claims where this was the case?
  • Does the lawyer seem trustworthy? Are you confident in the lawyer’s ability to help you? Does the lawyer seem like the right person to handle your claim?
  • How well do you communicate? Does the lawyer answer your questions clearly? Does the lawyer fully understand your situation? If your first language is not English, does the lawyer speak your language?


What to Bring

There are some pieces of information that you should bring with you when you meet your lawyer for the first time, so that the lawyer will be able to correctly assess your case. These include:

  • Medical information. Documents outlining diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Test results. Dates admitted to hospital, names of medical professionals seen. Documentation regarding therapists, etc.
  • Police report. If the injury is the result of an accident, bring a copy of the police report.
  • Insurance information. Insurance policies – health and auto, if a motor vehicle accident was the cause.
  • Work information. Dates you were unable to work. Details of lost pay.
  • Photos or videos. Photos of your injuries and/or of the accident scene.
  • Personal account of the accident. Write down all of your memories about what happened. Be as detailed as possible. Explain the incident from your point of view.
  • Personal account of how the accident has affected you. What tasks are you now unable to perform? How has the injury affected your family?

Be prepared to answer questions about your diagnosis, your condition, and more.


The lawyer will need to have a full picture of the accident and your injuries. It can be helpful to have a family member present to help you answer questions, and for support.


Meet with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, and make sure that you get the compensation you deserve!