How do contingency fees work?

If we agree to proceed beyond an initial investigation in your case, we usually enter into a contingency fee agreement that governs how we are paid.  Most individuals cannot afford to pay upfront for a lawsuit. Contingency fee agreements facilitate access to justice by allowing you to compensate us for our time by paying a percentage of the amount you recover at the end of the case.  The percentage fee is decided upon based on the risks in your particular case, the amount of resources we will spend to properly prepare your case, and other factors that we will discuss together.

The Law Society of Ontario requires firms to publish the maximum contingency fee they charge to ensure the public can make informed decisions. Unless a court orders otherwise, our fee will not be more than 35% of your damages and costs. Your fee may be lower. Fees will always be discussed and agreed upon in advance to ensure there are no surprises.

How long will it take to resolve my case?

How long a particular case will take to resolve is very difficult to determine. Some of the factors that go into determining how long a case will take to resolve include:

  • The degree of co-operation we receive from other people and institutions from whom we request records
  • The degree of co-operation we receive from doctors and other health professionals in providing us with copies of clinical notes and records, medical legal reports and prognosis reports
  • How quick you are to respond to our requests for information and documentation
  • The length of time it takes to arrange various assessments that are required with treating practitioners, rehabilitation consultants etc., as well as the duration it takes for these assessors to provide their reports
  • The degree of co-operation we receive from the defense lawyer(s) in arranging and conducting examinations for discovery
  • The length of time it takes for the defense lawyer(s) to arrange various defense medical examinations, which are usually scheduled after you have attended the assessments as required by your treating practitioners and our firm
  • Whether the defense lawyer(s) upon instruction of the insurance adjuster are amenable to holding a private mediation and whether it is in your best interests to attend one
  • The length of time after examinations for discovery have been completed for the Court to provide a date for a pre-trial conference as well as a trial date
  • The attitude and approach taken by the defense lawyer(s) towards the resolution of your case

As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the timing of resolution of a claim which are out of our control. It is therefore difficult to have a concrete timeline for how long it will take for your case to settle.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

What initial steps should I take?

Very often, the conditions that existed at the moment of your injury will be lost if not preserved either by video, photography or retention of involved equipment. Therefore, you must do whatever you can to preserve the evidence. As well, take photos of your injuries, bruises and cuts as they may provide valuable information for your lawyer later on about how you were injured.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

What is it worth?

When you pursue a personal injury case, you can recover damages that will compensate you for your economic losses, your loss of earning capacity, your pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and for the loss of a family member’s care, guidance, and companionship. You can also recover expenses associated with your ongoing care and future needs. Until the doctors give us your prognosis or prediction about you or your family member’s future disability, we are unable to provide you with specifics on the amount of compensation you can receive.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Are there any time limits I should know about?

In general, you will have two years to start an action if your claim is after January 1, 2004. However, there may be shorter time limits for starting actions and certain defendants must have notice of your intention to start a lawsuit within days of the incident. If your case involves suing a municipality for failure to remove snow and ice, you must assume you have 10 days to give written notice. In the case of the province of Ontario, assume you have to give written notice within 10 days. As a result, you should consult a lawyer immediately following an incident to ensure that proper notice is provided.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Does the retainer cover legal fees?

No, legal fees are a separate expense and are often a percentage of the compensation you receive for your case.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

Is the retainer the only money I pay?

No, the retainer only covers out-of-pocket expenses, such as obtaining copies of clinical and hospital records, paying for court fees, and expert medical opinions.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

What are some of the costs and expenses of a personal injury lawsuit?

Costs and expenses of a personal injury lawsuit include disbursements paid to investigate and pursue your case, and the lawyers’ fees.

First are the disbursements. These are expenses that have to be paid for out of pocket. They can include police reports, hospital records, expert opinions, court filing fees and other administrative costs. A monetary retainer is usually requested to assist in paying the initial disbursements expected to be incurred to conduct a preliminary investigation of your case. If you cannot pay your retainer in full, a payment schedule can be set up. In some cases, the retainer can be waived entirely. However, repayment of expenses incurred will be expected in developing your case, either from the insurance company that pays your compensation or from your compensation. In a successful case, the majority of these expenses will be paid by the insurance company.

The second type of cost is the legal fee. The vast majority of experienced personal injury lawyers will charge you a percentage of the compensation that is recovered for you, which is called a contingency fee. The percentage will depend on many factors including the size of the recovery, how difficult the case is, how long it takes to resolve and how much of the lawyer’s own money has to be invested in the case. You should have an idea of the range of the percentage that will be charged. Additionally, lawyers have to charge HST on fees.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

How much will the first visit cost and what will happen during the first visit?

Your first consultation at MD Lawyers is free. You meet with a lawyer who will hear about your case. At your first meeting, be prepared to answer questions regarding how you were injured, who was involved, when it happened and what your injuries were. Other important information to discuss will be how your life has changed since your injuries were sustained including the effect on your work, leisure, family and community life. Your responses will assist the lawyer in determining if you can demonstrate someone else was at fault for your injuries, and if you still have time to sue.

The lawyer will then be able to give you a preliminary idea of whether you have a case and its potential value. It is important that you bring as much information to your first visit as you can; be sure to ask for a list of materials you should bring for your meeting when you book your appointment. Finally, at your initial consultation, you should have a clear and frank discussion about costs and legal fees moving forward.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

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First consultation is free.