Personal injury

Personal injury law encompasses all types of physical and psychological injuries such as:

injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents,
occupier’s liability claims,
public liability claims,
negligence of school boards,
public transportation and recreational facilities,
product liability claims,
catastrophic loss claims such as accidents resulting in paraplegia.
Canadian Personal Injury Law — Malpractice, Tort Law
Tort, derived from the Latin word «tortus» which meant wrong. In French, «tort» means a wrong. Tort refers to that body of the law which will allow an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury.
The primary aim of tort law is to provide relief for damages incurred and deter others from committing the same harms. The types of damages the injured party may recover are:

loss of earning capacity,
pain and suffering,
reasonable medical expenses, including present and future expected losses.
Specific torts include:

products liability, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Tort law determines when the person who causes the harm must pay compensation to the person who suffers it. This is dependent upon:

the nature of the conduct of the person who caused harm,
the nature of the harm and the circumstances in which the harm was inflicted.
Canadian Personal Injury Law — what if my accident claim is too small to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Studies have shown that approximately 60% of accident victims settle with the insurance company without using a personal injury lawyer. Are these people saving money in legal fees or losing money by settling for less than they have to?

No one can negotiate a fair settlement if they don’t understand the process and have no idea what their claim is really worth! What do you do when:

Meeting with the Insurance company;
Seeing your doctor;
Getting your expenses paid;
Settling your claim?
No one would argue that on a small claim of say $15,000 that you hire a lawyer to do all the negotiating and all other work for you. If you did this then all your settlement would go to legal fees.

There is a happy alternative that will give you the peace of mind that you have done the right thing; get you the highest settlement on your claim and keep your legal costs at a minimum.

If you think your claim is a small one we suggest you contact a personal injury lawyer and hire him or her to give you:

an opinion as to what the claim is worth;
an outline of the steps you should take to negotiate a fair settlement.This opinion should cost you a few hundred dollars and may have to be paid «up front». Ask the lawyer before the meeting how much this will cost and whether they can do it for a flat fee rather than at an hourly billing rate.
When you meet with the lawyer be organized. Have your facts at hand and pertinent documents available. Refer to our page on Dealing With Lawyers.

If you do this you will accomplish the following:

Achieve the highest possible settlement, after considering the small fee paid for the legal opinion;
Find out how to deal with the various stages of the process;
Have the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have done all the right things.

Canadian Personal Injury Law — Toxic Torts
A toxic tort is a tort caused by contact with a toxic substance. Because of the «advances» of corporate industry, the number of dangerous, toxic substances in our environment has grown immeasurably.

Some of the toxic substances that have been shown to cause significant injury to people are:

lead-based paint (brain damage, especially in children);
asbestos (lung cancer, restrictive lung disease);
dry cleaning and other solvents (brain damage, major organ damage);
pesticides such as dioxin and DDT (birth injuries);
electro-magnetic fields from utility wires or major appliances (suspected cancer);
toxic landfill waste (leukemia, other syndromes);
various drugs and pharmaceuticals such as DES and tainted L-tryptophan;
common industrial chemicals such as benzene and PCBs;
heavy metals and other chemicals such as mercury and arsenic.
If you do this you will accomplish the following:

Achieve the highest possible settlement, after considering the small fee paid for the legal opinion;
Find out how to deal with the various stages of the process;
Have the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes with knowing you have done all the right things.
Canadian Personal Injury Law — Professional Malpractice or Negligence
There are many types of professional malpractice or negligence. Any profession may be held to a reasonable professional standard for their work and their advice:

Accountants, can cause great harm and damage financially through bookkeeping negligence or erroneous tax preparation.
Architects’ plans may be faulty, causing property loss and financial harm.
Surveyors’ errors may be costly to correct and may prevent the resale of private property.
Medical or legal negligence occurs through unreasonable negligence or,
failure to provide the expected standard of care.
Medical or legal malpractice may involve criminal negligence, malicious intention or strict liability.
When a doctor or health care professional agrees to diagnose or treat a patient, he or she has assumed a duty of care toward that patient. The health care provider may be the doctor, nurse or a member of the staff or It is possible that the individual is a lab or x-ray technician with certain qualifications for operating advanced medical equipment or interpreting results of tests.

Similar standards apply to a lawyer who has agreed to represent someone. In such an instance, the duty of representation is assumed and a standard of the profession is expected.

A facility or company may also be liable for malpractice. Many times, a hospital, an ambulance company, a pharmacy or a nursing home will be subject to tort law — even a class action lawsuit.

Some examples of medical malpractice or negligence are misdiagnoses which result in delayed or inappropriate treatment. Lifelong disabilities can result from negligent surgical treatment, dangerous delivery procedures for newborns and/or incorrect and sometimes deadly prescriptions.

Canadian Personal Injury Law — Slander, Libel and Defamation of Character
We have a separate page covering this topic.
Canadian Personal Injury Law — Legal Fees
A lawyer will not usually charge for the first half-hour consultation. If the lawyer wishes to take on your case, he or she may either charge you by the hour, charge a fixed fee, or charge by way of a contingency fee.

Contingency fees are very common in tort law. When a lawyer works on a contingency fee basis he or she collects a percentage of what you eventually receive. If you do not receive anything under a contingency fee arrangement, then neither does your lawyer. It is common that the client must still pay for matters such as medical reports, court filing fees, and witness fees.