Many lawyers have treated personal injury cases as just a way to help them pay rent. All of that changed dramatically in 1990 when the Ontario provincial government introduced a law that placed severe restrictions on the right to sue for injuries resulting from a traffic accident. This major change in the law caused a major upheaval in personal injury law. I know lawyers who have abandoned the field entirely. Some lawyers moved from Ontario to places like British Columbia and Michigan where, once qualified, they could practice personal injury as they had done in Ontario. Many lawyers believed that personal injury law in Ontario had come to an abrupt end.
Since then, the field of personal injury law has not died but has become immensely more complex. There are now thresholds and deductibles to consider and the number of claims warranting a lawsuit has dropped significantly.
What all of this has come up with is that a serious personal injury case is an extremely complex matter. Not only must the lawyer know the law well, but it is essential to know how to properly construct his claim and present his case before a jury. Unfortunately, today the number of attorneys who have conducted a complex personal injury case is remarkably low. Insurance companies know this. They also know who these lawyers are. Unfortunately, the public does not. The Law Society has provided some level of assistance through its Chartered Specialist program, although unfortunately the Law Society is considering eliminating it.
The public is therefore left to their own devices to determine which lawyer has the necessary trial experience to push a personal injury case forward. The best way to deal with this all-important question is to ask the attorney – how many personal injury lawsuits has he run alone or as lead counsel?
No one would want to undergo serious surgery by a doctor who has not performed this procedure before. Why should anyone expect less of a lawyer they choose for their personal injury case?