Resources and Knowledge

How to Choose a Lawyer

Choosing a lawyer after a serious injury can be a difficult and daunting decision.  Some of the questions that should be asked of any lawyer who wants to represent you or your loved one before you make your selection are:

How is the lawyer going to charge you legal fees?

In Ontario a lawyer can charge you fees in two ways.

  • Time-based fees – fees are based on the time spent by the lawyer and are generally billed on an hourly rate.  Payment is required on a regular basis.  Fees charged by the lawyer are not dependent on the result obtained for the client.
  • Contingency fees – the fees charged by the lawyer are a percentage of the amount recovered for the client.  No fees are charged until the client’s action is resolved.

FRH charges legal fees for personal injury matters on a contingency basis.  No amount is paid for legal fees until your case resolves.  If there is no recovery, no legal fees are owed.  In most cases, the party responsible for the injury pays a significant portion of the legal fees.


How is the lawyer going to charge you for disbursements?

Disbursements include any amounts paid by a lawyer to third parties for things such as medical assessments, expert witnesses, investigators, accountants, medical records, and court fees.  Some lawyers require a client to pay for disbursements up-front or on an on-going basis.

FRH LLP only charges for disbursements after your case has resolved.  In most cases the party responsible for the injury pays for a significant portion of the disbursements.

Does the lawyer have sufficient financial resources to finance your case to conclusion?

Litigating serious personal injury claims requires a large financial commitment from the law firm.  To take a significant case to trial can cost the law firm in excess of $100,000.  A law firm must have sufficient financial resources to see a case through trial, so that the final decision as to whether to take your case to trial is based on your best interests, not the financial solvency of the lawyer.

FRH LLP has sufficient resources to finance your case as long as it takes to have the case resolved.

How long will it take to get your case resolved?

No one can predict the future with precision.  Beware of any lawyer that promises to have your case resolved quickly.  Typically it takes any significant injury at least two years to reach a point at which medical doctors can accurately assess how the injury will react in the future.

At FRH LLP our primary concern is that you are not undercompensated.  We will not recommend resolution of your claim until we are confident, with the assistance of medical professionals your condition will not deteriorate further.  It is our belief that your case is worth the most when it is ready for trial.  Our objective is to get your case ready for trial as quickly as possible in order to obtain the best possible resolution for you.

Does the lawyer have sufficient staff and technical support to conduct your case?

Personal injury litigation requires a significant time investment to prepare a case for resolution, either through settlement or at trial.  A lawyer who takes on a serious personal injury case must have an experienced team to support them to ensure that any accident benefits are obtained quickly, the appropriate medical records are requested and reviewed and the matter proceeds through the litigation process as quickly as possible.

We have a team of lawyers, law clerks and assistants who are all experienced in personal injury litigation and whose sole focus is to ensure the best result for you.  

Has the lawyer taken cases like yours successfully to trial?

Trials are becoming increasingly rare in Ontario due to limited judicial resources and the increased cost of taking matters to trial.  Ask any lawyer who wants to act on your behalf if they have taken cases like yours successfully to trial.  Ask them if they will do the trial themselves or refer the case to another lawyer once it is ready for trial.

The lawyers at FRH LLP have an enviable trial record.  We do not refer out trials to other lawyers.  You will know that the lawyer who has handled your case throughout and knows it best will be doing the trial.

Does the lawyer have a policy for communication with clients?

We take our responsibility to keep you informed very seriously.  Our policy, which is strictly enforced, is that you are always to be kept in “the loop” as to the status of your case.  We return all phone calls expeditiously and respond to emails and other forms of communication in a timely manner. 

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