Author: Charles

microphone at court house

The 5 Stages of a Personal Injury Trial

A personal injury trial is always a matter of some tension. The victim or their family has to go through the personal injury process, seeking compensation for damages that could be up to and including the death of a loved one. This kind of situation puts almost unbearable pain and stress on a family, which is only heightened by the confusion that they often find themselves in. Knowing the shape that the future is going to take can relieve at least some of that burden and leave them more able to face the personal injury trial process.

1. Filing the Complaint For the best results, get a personal injury lawyer Etobicoke you trust. You want a good lawyer on your side right from the beginning because the very first thing that you’re going to have to do is put your complaint together. This document doesn’t have to be long but it does have to be thorough. It as to include your complaint, a chronological sequence of events, and the type of relief that you’re seeking—usually money, and typically the specific amount (plus a certain percentage so that you can compromise in case of settlement.)

2. Serve the Defendant. As an injury law firm in Etobicoke, we know plenty of services that can help with this next part. The defendant has to be made aware that they are, in fact, a defendant. This means that they have to be served their paperwork. You cannot do this yourself, but there are many professional services who can do it for you. The defendant has 30 days to file an answer and things can proceed from there.

3. The Discovery Process. This is the longest process of the proceedings. You and your defendant (and your respective lawyers) trade information during this process. There are depositions, requests for documents, interrogations, and more. The only rules are that is has to be relevant and non-privileged information. In the course of suing someone for negligence resulting in a serious slip and fall accident, they couldn’t ask you if you’re cheating on your wife—it has no bearing on the case. They also couldn’t compel a doctor to reveal confidential information about a patient, and so on. This is typically where the meat of the case is handled. In a typical case, one side or the other quickly realizes that their case isn’t as strong as they believed it to be.

4. Motion Practice. This is a request to the court based on a limited part of the case, such as a motion to compel discovery (if one party refuses to coporate.)

5a. Settlement.
In a settlement, both sides compromise. There is some kind of financial transaction and both parties sign an agreement that it’s the end of the matter. If someone flakes out, a court can be petitioned to enforce the agreement.

5b. Trial. 

Very few personal injury cases go to trial; an injury law firm in Etobicoke might see only a few a year. Assuming no one appeals, the trial is the end of the road: one party wins and the other loses.

expert-person

Is an Expert Witness worth the Cost

Expert witnesses often seem to be the stuff of made for television courtroom dramas until you need one in real life. When you’re trying to settle a personal injury case, bringing in an expert witness can be the difference between winning and losing the case—but it could also make a big difference in the payout. Experts in a field don’t work for free, and being called upon to testify in a case is work. While they can only give their professional opinions and are not on any “side” in the case, calling one can be a difficult decision. Look at the perks and types and then decide if an expert witness will make a difference in your case.

The Perks of an Expert Witness

The perks of an expert witness is that they can help bridge the gap between the jury’s knowledge (assuming, of course, that you’ve chosen a jury trial for your personal injury proceeding) and the knowledge needed to understand the injury at hand. The most commonly brought in expert witnesses are medical experts and engineers. If you’re trying to hold a manufacturer responsible for the injury that you received due to a faulty piece in their product, for example, an expert engineer could be called to explain to the jury what the part was supposed to do and how it failed to do that in your case.

Expert witnesses often sound very impressive to a jury. Part of their introduction involves their credentials, which could include where they went to school and any relevant experience that they have. Some injury lawyers in Etobicoke prefer to bring in an expert

witness whenever possible just because they like the weight that it adds to their case. Here, we prefer to use them as a tool: good to have at hand when someone has the need of it, but not something that is useful in every circumstance. A good, solid case should stand on its own without an expert to lend weight to your evidence.

Should You Pick a Retained or Non-retained Witness

If you’ve decided that your case would benefit from someone to explain it or present evidence, you have to decide between retained and non-retained. A retained witness is someone with no personal involvement with the case or knowledge of your life. They were contacted to help prepare the case because they are an expert in their field. Most witnesses are of this type; as personal injury lawyers go, Etobicoke locals prefer the respectability of having no ties. This is especially useful for engineers and mechanics who should have no tie to you.

A non-retained witness is a witness who knew you before the incident in some capacity. The most common non-retained witness is a doctor. Say you have a spinal condition, but you also injured your spine in an accident; your own doctor could provide records and expert testimony on what was damages from the accident and what was the condition you’ve been living with before then.

How What You Share on Social Media Could Sink Your Case

Everyone is always talking about the way social media changes the world. Yes, twenty years ago you had to wait months between international letters and today you can send an email; yes, having cameras in a phone that fits in your pocket and goes everywhere with you makes it easier to capture crimes in progress or document your accidents, but there are also pitfalls out there for someone hoping to bring their personal injury case to a favorable conclusion. Every seemingly innocent update can and will be used against you in a court of law, so here’s what you should do if you’re trying to bring about a successful personal injury suit in the Internet age.

Be Careful with Pictures

The first thing that you should do is be careful with pictures. The defense is going to be looking for any defect that they can find in your arguments. If your Etobicoke personal injury lawyer hasn’t already made that clear, you’ll hear it here: pictures are your most powerful documentation. They really are worth a thousand words, and potentially thousands in compensation for your injuries.

That said, you don’t want to post pictures of your injuries too freely. A snapshot of your smiling face the day after you were in a terrible accident isn’t going to go over well; it’s going to make it look like you’re not being truthful when you say you’ve spent every day in pain since the incident. You also want to cut down on the images of you at the beach, a fancy restaurant, or traveling. Even if you can drag yourself out of the house and push through the pain, it’s going to look like your injuries aren’t as severe as they are if you’re “checking in” all over town.

Don’t Put on a Brave Face

It’s nice to be able to reassure everyone you know that you’re alive, and it’s natural to want to tell people that you’re doing alright, or things are getting better. You have to curb these impulses before they sink your case. If you have to, tell someone to text you or call you if they want to talk about how you’re doing. If it can be publicly accessed the defense can use it against you. After all, if you told your great-aunt and your former soccer coach that you were fine, clearly you’re faking it now, right?

Keep Your Story Consistent at All Times

Go over the details with your Etobicoke personal injury lawyers early and often so that you remember how things actually went. Our memories actually get fuzzier when we share them; if you tell the story too much (say, again and again on social media) you could fog up the details in your own mind.

Also, if you’re updating your Facebook friends every day with how you’re feeling second by second, it can look like you’re changing your story when you’re really just fully discovering the extent of your injuries and trying to heal.

Upset driver After Traffic Accident

Quick Guide to the 3 Most Common Types of Auto Accidents

Car accidents are a regular and severe occurrence. Between the relief to still be alive (or the shock the victim’s family feels when a car crash is fatal) most people don’t consider that they might be owed due compensation when they suffer because of someone else’s negligence. Just because you’re in a car doesn’t mean that personal injury no longer applies; with the costs associated with a car accident, from extended physical therapy and car replacement costs through to loss of income and severe physical and mental anguish, it pays to know that there are personal injury possibilities in each of the three major types of auto accidents.

1. Single Vehicle Accidents May Still Be Negligence

The first kind of accident and thankfully the most common is single vehicle accident. When most people think of think of accident they don’t think to call an injury lawyer in Etobicoke because they don’t think it could be due to negligence. Most single vehicle injuries and accidents result from driver error; backing into a post, taking a turn too quickly, or not accounting for weather conditions are all common examples of driver fault single vehicle crashes. They aren’t the only causes, however. A single vehicle accident may be grounds for a personal injury case when it’s due to the negligence of mechanics or other service employees. A mechanic who misaligns the brakes could be responsible for their failure. Other cases of negligence include blocking, breaking, or cluttering a public road so that it becomes unsafe to travel.

2. The Fender Bender and Minor Dings

The simple fender bender isn’t that simple when you find yourself up against an accident with more than two parties involved. In an eight car pile up, who’s at fault? Whichever car pulled up to the intersection last? Portioning out responsibility in a case like that can be very difficult, and getting a lawyer on your side ASAP can mean the difference between a smooth litigation process and your settlement being up in limbo for months while it drags through the courts.

Of course, the key in any fender bender is pictures, pictures, pictures. You should photograph all damage done to yourself, your car, and the other party(ies) person and car. You don’t want anyone to take advantage of the situation to claim more than they are due. Also make sure that you get medical attention immediately, even if you think that your injuries are minor; establishing a medical record ASAP is essential.

3. The Insurance Scam Act

Etobicoke personal injury lawyers are very familiar with insurance scams. You should be as well; often these are staged accidents that you had no hope of avoiding, but still are posed to land you in hot water. Don’t be taken for a ride; get a lawyer on your side as soon as possible to help you assess the true damages (if any) and watch for signs of a scam, such as a mildly injured party upping the claims of their injuries.