What to know in launching a personal injury claim

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A medical malpractice claim will cost much more in disbursement fees to experts, for example, and so a claim that might be financially feasible for a car accident may not be for an adverse medical incident.

Prepare the case as if you’re going to trial

Although ninety-five per cent of personal injury (at least outside of medical malpractice) and wrongful death cases settle rather than going to trial, any lawyer taking one on should “prepare the case as if it is going to go to trial,” says Patrick Brown, a personal injury lawyer at Orlando McLeish LLP in Toronto. “If you prepare the case, at the beginning, with that attitude in mind, you will likely find yourself and your client in a much better position to resolve the case.”

That will involve spending money to gather information, whether through hiring a private investigator, or having an engineer visit the scene of the incident. “You want to gather as much information as possible as early on as possible,” he adds; memories can fade and evidence disappear over time. “Very early on, you’re going to have to expend money on investigations with private investigators and engineers, and start accumulating your evidence to prove your case for liability.”

Substantiate your claim

As the personal injury case moves on, a plaintiff will also have to prove damages, which means at a certain stage, money will need to be invested on medical legal experts, be that a neuropsychologist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, neurophysiatrist or future care expert. All this will provide plaintiffs and their counsel with ammunition; without it, “defence will know it, and you’ll get 25 cents on the dollar” being asked for, says Brown.

“If you don’t prepare a case, you won’t get a reasonable or fair resolution from the other side.”