A Condemnation of Ontario Injury Lawyers Charging Unjust Fees
On Saturday, the Toronto Star published an investigative article titled “Double-dipping lawyers taking big slice of injury settlements”. The article details the practice of some Ontario Personal Injury Law Firms of charging a contingency fee (“we only get paid if you win”) and taking a second fee on top of that called “costs”.
This has never been a policy at my firm and, as I outlined in one of my client-friendly videos in 2012, this practice has been disallowed by the Ontario Solicitors Act because it leaves personal injury claimants with less money in their pocket at the end of a settlement. I am firmly against this practice, and believe that all law firms in Ontario currently engaging in such a practice must stop.
As the Toronto Star states, “When lawyers are working on contingency, the Solicitors Act forbids them from taking any part of the “costs” award, unless there are “exceptional circumstances” and they have a judge’s approval. The theory is that the lawyer’s cut of the damages already pays his legal bill and so the portion called costs belongs to the client.”
I encourage you to read the full Toronto Star article, which tells several real stories of personal injury clients who were negatively impacted by lawyers taking “costs” on top of the contingency fee. Afterwards, watch my video, wherein I break down how my fees and disbursements, with nothing hidden from the client:
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA)’s Code emphasizes ethical practice and high standards of client advocacy. I have signed onto the OTLA Code and more importantly I have been adhering to the Solicitors Act about how clients can be charged for legal services.
If you have sustained a personal injury at another party’s fault, please contact me and my team of experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. We do not take any payment beyond our contingency fee.
More on Personal Injury from Roger R. Foisy:
- Quantifying Damages: Personal and Attendant Care
- What Happens During the Mediation of a Personal Injury Claim? [Video]
- Driving Rehabilitation Services after Personal Injury