Frequently Asked Questions
What will the cost be?
We are committed to ensuring that you get the best possible settlement or verdict based on your needs. Having Oatley Vigmond on your team will not cost you anything until a verdict or settlement is reached.
When your case settles, or after a successful verdict, Oatley Vigmond charges a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the amount recovered.
The amount of the contingency fee depends upon the type of case you have. In most cases, the maximum contingency fee that is charged on settlement is 30% of the amount recovered. In medical malpractice cases, which tend to be complicated, the maximum contingency fee that is charged on settlements is 35%. In cases that proceed to trial, the maximum contingency fee that is charged is 35% of the amount recovered.
For more information on contingency fees, please refer to the Law Society of Ontario’s online guide, Contingency Fees: What You Need To Know.
How long will my case take?
Each case is different, but an average personal injury cases takes 2-4 years for a final outcome. It’s important that we allow time for injuries to stabilize so that we can make sure we fully understand the extent of your impairments.
Will my case go to trial or will it be settled out of court?
We have a history of successfully trying cases in court when trial is necessary. However, our objective is to settle every case without trial if possible. We are committed to settling our clients’ cases as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the outcome of the case. Whatever is right for you is what will drive our course of action.
How is a lawsuit started?
Lawsuits are started by filing a document at the courthouse. The document is called a Statement of Claim. The Statement of Claim describes all aspects of your lawsuit. You will be identified as the “plaintiff”. An at-fault party will be identified as the “defendant”; the person you are suing. It will identify how much money you are suing for, how you were injured, the injuries you suffered, what the defendant did wrong and the particular types of “damages” (another word for money) you are claiming for eg. money for lost earnings, the cost of your future care or your lost home maintenance capacity.
Will I be required to attend medical examinations as part of the claim?
In an effort to build your case, we will need you to attend a number of medical appointments with doctors who will assist us with your case. You will be given plenty of advance notice of these appointments. When you do learn of the appointment dates please advise us immediately if you cannot attend. Doctors charge cancellation fees for missed appointments and we do not want you to incur this expense.
Likewise, you will likely be required to attend medical appointment(s) arranged by the defence as part of your lawsuit. Our rules of court mandate that you attend these assessments.
What is an examination for discovery?
An examination for discovery is a very important step in the lawsuit. Examinations for discovery provide the parties to a lawsuit with an opportunity to discover what the other party would have to say at a trial.
We will meet with you before the examination to ensure that you are properly prepared for it. At the beginning of the examination for discovery, you will swear an oath to tell the truth. The lawyer for the defence will then interview you. A court reporter will be in the room to transcribe the questions and the answers. We will be beside you to ensure that the defence lawyer’s questions are proper.
The most important tip that we can give our clients on examination for discovery is to tell the truth. It is important not to minimize or exaggerate your issues.
What is a mediation?
A mediation is an out of court meeting held to try and settle your case. We will attend with you. The lawyer for the defendant will also attend along with a representative of the defendant’s insurance company. The defendant will not attend the mediation.
The mediation will typically last the better part of a day. It will begin by our presentation of your case. The defence lawyer will then respond to our presentation.
At the end of the presentations, the parties will “caucus”. This simply means that everyone will go into separate rooms.
The mediator will then begin the negotiation process and offers are exchanged. Rest assured we will be with you throughout the process and will advise you about each offer. In turn, we will provide our advice about offers and counter-offers to make on your behalf. We will take your instructions and provide the offers to the mediator who will deliver them to the defence lawyer. If at the end of the day the defendant agrees to pay an amount that you are willing to accept then your case is settled.
What is a pre-trial conference?
A pre-trial conference is a meeting between a judge and the lawyers in your case. You will be required to be at the courthouse for the pre-trial conference but you may not meet with the judge.
At the pre-trial conference a judge will give his or her views on the strengths and weaknesses of your case and the defendant’s case. The judge’s views are not binding and are meant to assist the parties in settling the case.
Regardless of the view of the pre-trial our rules of court prevent the pre-trial judge from being the presiding judge should your case go to trial.
What happens if my case cannot be settled and it goes to trial?
If a case cannot be settled then it is decided by a judge or a jury at trial. In cases involving serious personal injuries a trial can last a number of weeks.
At trial evidence is provided to the Court by witnesses. Family members and friends of the injured person testify as witnesses to help the Court understand the impact of the injury. Treating doctors and rehabilitation professionals also testify as witnesses. Usually, a number of experts will need to testify in order to assist the Court in understanding the nature of the injuries and to explain the economic losses that flow from the injuries.
Most cases settle before trial. However, in order to obtain a fair settlement it is necessary to have the case prepared for trial. As personal injury lawyers, we are constantly thinking of how to persuasively present your case at a trial. We ensure that you are seen by medical experts who will be able to clearly and convincingly explain your injuries and impairments to the Court. We ensure that we collect all of the medical, employment and other records that we will need at trial.
Preparation is the key to being a good trial lawyer. If your case does proceed to trial we will spend a considerable amount of time with you and our witnesses to prepare.