Frequently asked questions about hiring a lawyer
How to find a good lawyer:
Lawyers present an intimidating front to the general public. The following are answers to several questions many people wish to ask, but generally don’t. A reminder, however, that the following information is not considered legal advice, and is general information only.
Every situation is different and you should contact a lawyer registered to practice in your province to properly advise you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Though this list is by no means exhaustive, you might well want to consider contacting a lawyer for advice where any of the following are involved:
- A large amount of money is at stake
- You’ve been injured in an accident
- Serious damage to property has occurred
- Disputes involving children
- If you’ve been served (you’re being sued)
- A very emotional situation where you need a rational third party involved as intermediary
- Starting a business
Sound Legal Advice is Worth It
One of the changes I’ve noticed in my law practice over the years is the increase in the number of people suffering stress-related injuries from motor vehicle accidents. No longer is it a question of just the pure physical injuries such as broken bones, whiplash etc. that brings them to my office.
There was a time when the Courts were not sympathetic to these types of claims in motor vehicle accidents except in the most horrific of cases. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] was accepted as an outcome for soldiers returning from the battlefield but not associated with motor vehicle accidents. This is no longer the case. There is a growing recognition in the Courts that this very disabling condition can just as easily result from motor vehicle accidents. I have many recent cases where psychiatrists have been called upon to give expert evidence at trial on this very possibility.
Because it is an invisible disability, initially it may be missed by your family doctor and your lawyer. I recently had a case where the client’s physical injuries were quite minor and my client was prepared to accept ICBC’s offer based on these physical injuries alone. Given my sensitivity to the potential for PTSD in motor vehicle accidents, I have become alert to cues that signal the possible existance of this condition. In this case, I referred my client to a psychiatrist who diagnosed PTSD. This diagnosis opened the door to a claim for future loss of income as there are much longerterm effects of PTSD which can affect a person’s ability to work.
My client’s claim without the diagnosis of PTSD was worth approximately $30,000.00. With the recognition of the impacts of PTSD, his claim was worth approximately $300,000.00.
Invisibile disabilities are easily overlooked. This is just one more reason why you should never accept ICBC’s offer without very careful consideration and sound legal advice.
You should typically look for a lawyer experienced in the area of law pertaining specifically to your situation. A lawyer who focuses his or her practice in a given area of the law will be more likely to know how best to advise you in your time of need.
As an example, Tim Louis has more than 25 years of experience in:
To hire an effective personal injury lawyer, you need to look at the lawyer’s reputation, reviews online, summary of previous client’s experience with that lawyer, case experience, years in practice, lawsuit experience and more.
Location is no longer a driver of your decision of who to hire. This is because paperwork and processes required over the life of your lawsuit eg: discoveries, court appearances, pre-trial, chambers applications, and mediations are now online. What is more important is reputation, word of mouth, online reviews, seniority, and experience.
If you are considering a specific personal injury lawyer, you should then visit their website, contact them, book a consultation, and then only if you are satisfied, enter into a written retainer agreement.
- Pain and Suffering or General Damages – this is for the injury itself.
- Past Loss of Income – income loss you have suffered from the date of injury up to the date of settlement.
- Future Loss of Income – income loss you will suffer after the date of settlement.
- Special Damages – out of pocket costs. Anything you paid for as a result of the injury – medical treatments, prescriptions and more – any costs other than those related to the lawsuit.
- Future Cost of Care – if you are going to incur a care cost in the future – the defendant must pay you a lump sum for these future care costs as part of the settlement.
You prove emotional distress by obtaining an expert diagnosis from a doctor, counsellor, psychologist, or a psychiatrist to support emotional distress.
If your long-term disability insurance company has terminated your benefits, or is even threatening to terminate benefits, you need to hire a long-term disability lawyer.
Yes, an employer can terminate an employee while on long-term disability. You have grounds for a lawsuit against your employer for termination without cause if the employer has not waited long enough for you to recover and return to work.
What is long enough? It depends on how long you had worked for the employer before the long-term disability claim, as well as your doctor’s diagnosis, prognosis and prediction for when you would be able to return to work.
Whether your employer does or does not have grounds to terminate you, this has no impact whatsoever on your right to continue receiving long-term disability benefits and/or payments from your long-term disability insurance company.