Legal Advice for First Time Litigants

You’ve managed to hire a personal injury lawyer and have an action started on your behalf. How are you going to make it through the litigation process with your sanity intact?

  1. Understand the Steps

If you are generally aware of the steps that will be happening next along with a general time frame, you will find it helpful. You should be able to get this information from your counsel.

  1. Keep communication open with your personal injury lawyer

Getting information often seems to be a challenge. Generally speaking, lawyers are busy – balancing appointments, files, court times, deadlines imposed by the Rules of Court and client communication. Very often, files are being well handled but communication with the client could be better. Find out how your lawyer communicates best. I know that for me, it’s email. Others prefer telephone or meetings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Expect to get answers. Your lawyer works for you!

As an aside, it’s often a long process. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, be aware that you should hire the expertise however, you also need assess whether you think you will have a good, open relationship with the lawyer. Good communication always makes the process easier.

  1. Expect the glacial pace

TV is the only place that an action is commenced and judgment granted all in the same hour. Expect a pace that is first dictated by your health. Until you have either recovered or reached peak recovery, your lawyer cannot assess your loss or prognosticate how that loss will impact your future. That time offers a starting point for medical and economic assessment.

Once your damages are assessed, the litigation process will heat up. There are, however, many steps taken between the commencement of a case and trial. As Plaintiff’s counsel, it is our job to meticulously complete all steps and continue pressing the matter towards trial. It often seems that Defence counsel is reluctant to keep the same pace. It is generally only the pressing of a case towards trial that results in settlement or judgment.

  1. Medical and economic assessments can be extensive

You will probably be expected to go through numerous medical assessments to assist your personal injury lawyers in creating a good explanation of your medical and functional limitations as well as the outcome these may have on your employment, retirement age, ability to perform self-care or housekeeping chores and childcare. Appointments with experts are often booked months in advance and it often takes them months to complete their reports.

In response, you may be required to undertake the same type of assessments for Defence counsel.

  1. Remember, your lawyer is a human being

It is part of your lawyer’s job to help buffer you from the stress of litigation and provide you with the information you need to make it through the process. Remember, though, your lawyer is only human. He or she is not always going to be available to you and cannot always give you the information or advice that you need. If your expectations are reasonable and realistic, you won’t be disappointed.

At Robinson LLP, we understand that our clients haven’t necessarily been involved in the Court process before. We are happy to provide whatever assistance we can to make the process painless.

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