Personal Injury FAQs

What is personal injury law?

Personal injury law is part of the Law of Torts. A tort is a wrongful act recognized by the law as a basis to commence a lawsuit. These wrongs or torts result in injury or harm which constitutes the basis for a claim by the injured party. A personal injury claim can be commenced by an individual for either physical, mental, or property damages. Types of damages an injured party may recover include pain and suffering, loss of earnings, medical expenses, housekeeping and home maintenance, and medical expenses.

Whether or not you have been injured as a result of a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite or other personal injury, you may be entitled to collect substantial financial compensation for your injuries. You should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible not only because the law provides that you have a specific time within which to bring forth your case (statutes of limitations) but also because the sooner you retain a personal injury lawyer, the sooner your claim can be investigated. A lawyer will gather vital information, have witnesses interviewed and obtain statements while your injury is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

What legal options do I have after being injured in an accident in Ontario?

The severity of your injury and its impact on your life can help you determine whether or not it makes sense to begin a lawsuit after an accident. You may want to seek compensation through small claims court, or hire a paralegal instead.

Understanding your options is the first place to start.

Watch this video to understand your personal injury legal options in Ontario:

Should I hire a personal injury lawyer or deal directly with the insurance company?

Because many people are concerned about lawsuits and are especially fearful about having to testify in a court of law, injured parties often settle their claim directly with the insurance company before consulting with an experienced injury lawyer.

Watch this video to help you decide whether to hire a personal injury lawyer or not:

What is a contingency fee?

Most personal injury lawyers work on a “contingency fee” basis. That means you only pay the lawyer his or her legal fees if he or she collects money for you in the resolution of your case. Roger Foisy represents clients on a contingency fee basis and offers an initial free consultation to accident victims.

You may see some Ontario personal injury lawyers charging 33.3% while others charge only 20-25%.

Watch this video to learn how injury lawyer fees are calculated and why there is often a difference in rates:

How are personal injury settlement values determined – how much is my case worth? [new question]

There are many factors taken into consideration when personal injury settlements are determined. That is why your lawyer must effectively convey the unique impact of the injury on your life to help maximize your settlement value.

Watch this video to learn more about how injury settlement values are determined in Ontario:

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury is defined as any damage to the brain caused by a trauma. Brain injuries can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe. It is important to note that even a mild traumatic brain injury can have serious consequences. Brain injury can occur from such traumas such as car accidents (striking of head on the interior of the car); a slip and fall (striking head on a hard surface); a substantial neck injury (whiplash or C2 fracture).

What is a spinal cord injury?

A spinal cord injury occurs when cells within the spinal cord are damaged or when the nerve tracts that relay signals up and down the spinal cord are severed. This usually occurs when a traumatic event such as a fall or other impact affect the spine. Common types of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Contusion – caused by a bruising of the spinal cord
  • Compression – caused by pressure on the spinal cord
  • Laceration – occurs when nerve fibers tear or are severed
  • Central Cord syndrome – occurs when there is specific damage to the corticospinal tracts of the cervical region of the spinal cord.

What rights do I have if I am injured in a car accident?

You have two possible ways to claim compensation. First, you may be entitled to recover damages if another person is at-fault for your accident. Second, you may be entitled to recover certain benefits, called no-fault benefits, no matter who is at-fault.

Watch this video to learn about what insurance is available to you after a car accident:

Can owners be sued for injuries caused by their pets?

Pet owners are responsible for ensuring that their pets do not cause harm to others. For example, when a dog attacks a person, the resulting injuries can sometimes be severe, requiring emergency and ongoing medical treatment. Scars and disfigurement can occur in serious cases, and in the worst scenarios, victims may be killed. Children are often bitten by dogs after unknowingly provoking them. In most cases, the dog owner’s homeowner insurance handles injury claims. If an attack happens while the victim is legally on private property (e.g. an invited guest, to deliver mail, etc.) or while the victim is on public property, the owner is typically liable as long as the victim was not intentionally and persistently antagonizing the animal. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, Roger Foisy can assist you.

Can home owners and/or business owners be sued if I slip or trip and fall on their property?

Slip or trip and fall accidents are a common type of personal injury accident. Every owner and occupier of property must ensure that people are safe when they enter onto their property. A homeowner is responsible for ensuring that the driveway and steps leading into their home are in good repair and in the winter free of ice and snow. Similarly, an owner of a business must make sure that their floors are free of spills and slipping hazards.If your fall was on a municipal sidewalk, you must provide the municipality with written notice within 10 days. Failure to provide written notification to the municipal clerk in time can invalidate your claim.

I keep reading the words pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages in the context of personal injury law suits. Just what do those damages encompass?

Pecuniary damages are those losses which can be translated into an economic loss. Past and future employment losses; past and future medical expenses; and out-of-pocket expenses are some examples.

Non-pecuniary damages are those losses which are not easily measured in financial terms. They include pain and suffering to an injured person or they include damages to a family member of an injured party who has suffered a loss of care, guidance and/or companionship.

What is Subrogated Interest?

Subrogation is a legal right afforded to insurance companies to recover the amount they have paid for a loss by suing the party that caused the loss.

In certain situations, a third party like OHIP will cover costs associated with treatment (physician and hospital services, diagnostic testing, etc.). If these are necessary as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, the third party is entitled to pursue compensation. In the majority of cases, the third party will essentially “piggyback” on a claimant’s lawsuit. In other words, neither the claimant nor the third party will recover anything if the case is not successful, however the third party can pursue financial reimbursement if a settlement is reached.

What third parties can make subrogated interest claims? [h3]

Groups that are entitled to make subrogated interest claims include:

  • The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
  • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
  • The Criminal Injury Compensation Board (CICB)
  • Group Insurance Companies (workplace healthcare benefits)

Applicability varies and there are limitations to be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.

Can OHIP make subrogated interest claims related to automobile accidents? [h3]

The Insurance Act and Health Insurance Act both limit OHIP from advancing a subrogated interest claim against someone insured under an Ontario motor vehicle liability policy for injuries arising from the operation of an automobile. This means that, in the majority of cases, OHIP cannot recover costs associated with automobile accidents.

To learn more about the reasons for this, read our blog.