What Fees Do You Charge?
At SG Injury Law, our Ottawa injury and employment lawyers offer legal services on the basis of an hourly rate or payable on a contingency basis. This includes cases such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, wrongful dismissal and long-term disability refusals.
The majority of our injury and LTD clients choose to proceed on a contingency basis, which means that no fees are charged until and unless the case is resolved through a financial settlement or an award of damages at trial. If you do not win your case, you do not pay any legal fees. If your case is successful, then the fees are based on a percentage of the damages and costs paid by way of settlement or court order.
In more rare injury and LTD cases, clients opt to pay based on an hourly rate for services provided. The hourly rate usually depends on the level of experience of the lawyer handling the claim.
For employment law matters, your fee arrangement will depend on the nature of our retainer. For example, if we are providing an opinion on a severance package, fees would be paid on an hourly basis or flat rate. For a wrongful dismissal claim, fees could be paid based on an hourly rate or a contingency basis (percentage of recovery), depending on what is fair and reasonable for both parties.
Generally speaking, some factors that may be taken into account when considering both the percentage of the contingency fee or the hourly rate charged, include the following:
- the likelihood of success
- the nature and complexity of the claim
- the expense and risk of pursuing the claim
- the amount of the expected recovery
- who is to receive an award of costs, and
- the amount of costs awarded by the court.
Effective July 1, 2021, the there were various changes to the laws surrounding the use of contingency fee agreements. One of these changes is a requirement for all law firms operating on a contingency basis to inform the public of their maximum contingency fee rate. At SG Injury Law, our standard rate is 25% for most contingency fee agreements from July 1, 2021 and onward. For complex or risky files (where it may be more difficult to prove liability or the probability of of recovery is lower) our rate may increase to 30%.
How Much is My Injury Case Worth?
If you have been injured in an accident in Ontario you are entitled to damages and compensation if someone else was at fault. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident you are entitled to certain benefits regardless of who was at fault.
Court rulings have held that the maximum amount that an accident victim can recover for pain and suffering is approximately $363,000.00. This number rises each year with inflation. Accident victims who have suffered the most catastrophic injuries would be entitled to compensation in this range. Compensation for pain and suffering is determined based on the awards given in previous similar court cases, adjusted for inflation.
The Ontario government has passed legislation in an attempt to limit compensation for pain and suffering for motor vehicle accident claims. To receive compensation your injuries must reach a threshold in terms of the seriousness of the impairment. There is also a deductible imposed on the value of your pain and suffering. For example if the deductible is $30,000.00 and your pain and suffering damages are worth $50,000.00, the Ontario government permits the insurance company for the at-fault driver to only pay you $20,0000.00.
Aside from damages for pain and suffering, additional compensation that may be available for personal injury victims includes the following:
- Past and Future Income Loss.
- Loss of Competitive Advantage.
- Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses.
- Past and Future Care Costs.
- Family Member Claims for the Loss of Guidance, Care and Companionship.
- Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses.
- Childcare expenses.
Numerous factors are considered when determining the value of your claim. Some of these factors include whether the injury or injuries have resulted in ongoing pain and psychological distress. Other factors include whether you are impaired from working and engaging in your usual activities of daily living, such as housekeeping and home maintenance, family responsibilities and recreational activities.
After reviewing your medical records and obtaining opinions from medical specialists, we will be able to provide an accurate assessment of your claim.
To discuss what your injury or disability claim is worth, contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation.
What Should I Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident there are several things you should do to make sure you are safe and that your rights are protected.
First, if you are involved in a collision, stop. If you do not stop you may face criminal charges.
Report to the Police
If anyone is injured or if the vehicles damage appears to be over $1,000.00, you must contact the police. If there is an emergency or if you believe any of the other drivers are drunk, on drugs or guilty of another Criminal Code offence, you should call 911.
If it appears that no one is seriously injured and the total damage to all vehicles is less than $1,000.00 you should still call the local police for instructions.
If the police or a collision reporting centre are not involved and there is no Motor Vehicle Accident report, the other party may dispute who was at fault for or even involved in the accident. It is important that the details of the accident are documented.
The Motor Vehicle Accident report will identify the names and addresses of the parties involved in the collision and their insurance information. This information is needed for your claims.
Move Your Vehicle to Safety
If it is safe, move your vehicle to the side of the road. If your vehicle cannot be moved, turn on your four-way flashers or use some other warning signal such as warning triangles or flares, if appropriate.
If possible take photos of the accident scene, preferably before the vehicles are moved. Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles.
Photographs can be helpful to demonstrate the seriousness of your collision to the insurance company and possibly a judge or jury. They may also assist with an understanding of how the accident happened.
Get Contact and Insurance Details
Get the names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance policy information of the other drivers involved in the collision. Write down the license plate numbers and names of owners of the vehicles involved in the collision.
Also write the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of passengers and witnesses. If there is any dispute about who was at fault, the evidence of a witness could prove crucial to winning your case.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are injured, depending on the seriousness of your injuries, go to the emergency department at the hospital or see your family physician.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company may want to meet with you to sign authorizations, take a written statement or settle your claim. Do not agree to do any of these things until you have contacted your injury lawyer.
There are deadlines and limitation periods that apply to your accident benefit claims and the claim against the other driver. Your lawyer will help ensure you do not miss any of the deadlines.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
In order to ensure you are properly represented in your injury or insurance case, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer.
While a general practice lawyer may be able to bring your claim, they may not know all sources of compensation available in the court action and under the accident benefits legislation. If your lawyer lacks experience bringing personal injury claims, they may not have access to, or even be familiar with, the best experts in the industry. They may not be up to date on the most recent cases and decisions in an ever-changing area of law.
For car accident victims, the Ontario accident benefits system is complex. You may be surprised to know that even many personal injury lawyers have limited experience suing and bringing arbitrations against insurance companies for accident benefits.
The insurance company on the other side of your case has on staff a team of sophisticated adjusters who handle thousands of accident claims. The insurance company will hire a lawyer or team of lawyers who specialize in defending personal injury claims. The job of the insurance company lawyer is to make sure you are paid as little as possible or if possible nothing at all. If you do not hire your own experienced personal injury lawyer, you are already one step behind.
A good, experienced lawyer will explain all of your options and guide you through the entire legal process. He or she will help build your case, access benefits, help make decisions on when to settle, explain the value of settlement offers and advise whether you need to take your case to court.
If you are going to hire a lawyer, make sure you are confident in his or her experience handling injury and insurance benefit cases. For car accident cases, make sure your lawyer is confident, knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to no-fault accident benefits.
Before hiring a lawyer, ask him or her whether she specializes only in personal injury and insurance law. Ask about the sorts of cases he or she has taken to court. If it is a larger law firm, ask who will be doing most of the work on your file. You should also know if your lawyer has worked for an insurance company himself or herself. Do they know first-hand what sort of tactics the insurance company will use, what factors the insurance company considers important in assigning a value to your claim and when is the best time to start the negotiation?
Personal injury and insurance law is complex. To ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you are entitled to, you need to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
How Long Will My Case Take?
A big question for many injury and disability clients is how long will it take for the case to settle or go to trial?
A personal injury case can last anywhere between a few months to a few years; or even several years. A few months is the bare minimum, and it is very rare for a personal injury case to settle that quickly.
For accident claims there are two key factors that determine how fast your case will settle: liability and injury recovery. Liability is the question of who is at fault. If there is no question that someone else’s negligence caused an injury, the claim will probably settle faster than if negligence is disputed.
The status of your recovery is usually the biggest factor that determines how long your case will take to settle. In most cases it is best to wait until you have reached maximum medical recovery before trying to negotiate a settlement. This means that you have followed the recommendations from your doctor and other therapists and your recovery is “as good as it is going to get.”
If you are still in treatment and still getting better, you can always try and negotiate a settlement. However, you will probably get less money. If you have not reached maximum medical recovery, the insurance company will assume you are going to improve and pay less.
You will be in a far stronger position to negotiate if you have medical evidence that your condition has stopped improving and will not get better.
A settlement with the insurance company or at fault driver is final. Once you have settled for a certain amount, if your condition gets worse in the future or you run out of money, you cannot go back and sue for more. For this reason, we never recommend an early settlement if we believe you may receive more by waiting, or of the prognosis is still uncertain.
Ultimately, it is your decision on whether to try and get an early settlement or not. The job of a personal injury lawyer is to provide you with the best possible advice and recommendations regarding the timing of the settlement negotiation and the value of your claim at any particular point in time.
How Do I Get Started?
For more information about making a personal injury or long-term disability claim, or to arrange a free no-obligation consultation, please contact us.