Why do I need an Ottawa personal injury lawyer?

At our law firm we are regularly reminded why it is vitally important to get legal help early after an Ottawa motor vehicle accident.  When you don’t, valuable evidence can be lost or forgotten.

Recently we were preparing our client for examination for discovery.  That is the step in the lawsuit when the other side’s lawyer gets to ask you questions about your accident and injuries.  Our client was intelligent and sophisticated.  However, he had been through so much in the aftermath of the accident, that the precise details of the accident itself had started to slip his mind.

Fortunately, we had interviewed him shortly after the accident and had taken extensive notes about:

  • the route he took before the accident;
  • how he approached the intersection;
  • how long he waited for the light to turn green;
  • what position he was facing as he advanced;
  • whether or not he was drinking coffee at the time of the accident;
  • how long it was between the time he saw the vehicle that struck him and the impact itself;
  • what happened to his body inside the car on impact;
  • where his vehicle stopped;
  • what he did after the accident;
  • who was present at the scene and what they said; and
  • what pain or discomfort he felt at the scene.

These are small details that can make a difference both to liability (ie who was responsible for the crash) and damages (ie the extent of your injuries).  Having a personal injury lawyer record your earliest recollections for you can save a lot of heart ache as time passes and life fills your head with details other than these.

Do yourself a favour.  After a serious accident, have a legal consultation to determine what your options are.  For more info or to contact a personal injury lawyer, call 613 233-4529.


Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyer’s Secrets to a Successful Discovery

While the legal process can be overwhelming and challenging for someone who has recently suffered a personal injury, it should be comforting to know that there are a few things you can do to make your experience more positive.

No one really wants to face all that pursuing a personal injury claim entails, but having the right Ontario injury lawyer will greatly help you navigate the complicated legal process.  One of the most challenging parts of presenting your case is examination for discovery.  If you have been injured in an accident, you will likely have to be a witness at examination for discovery.  This means that you will have to explain your side of the story, answer the insurance company lawyer’s questions in cross-examination, and confront all of the evidence involved in the case.

The Ontario personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are committed to helping their clients and other witnesses, such as family members, get through discovery successfully.  The key to doing this is preparation.  A good injury lawyer should prepare all of their witnesses for what discovery will entail.  For the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth, this is accomplished through up to three meetings.

 During the first meeting, the injured person or their family member is oriented to the process of discovery.  Your lawyer will explain what discovery means, what will happen and what will be required of you.  The Auger Hollingsworth website is full of useful information to help witnesses prepare for discovery and during this meeting, the witness will take home a package of information to look over.  This first meeting is meant to introduce the witness to the process of discovery and to talk about the case in general terms.

 The second meeting is more detailed and involves a dry-run of what the witness will have to say and the kinds of questions they will have to answer.  Your lawyer will focus on examining you on the more difficult points of the case so that you are better prepared.

 The third and final meeting involves a mock cross examination by another lawyer in the office.  This ensures that you are fully prepared to be cross examined.  If this trial run goes well, you should be well-prepared to face any insurance company’s lawyer.  While this process of preparation may sound intense and tiring, it is worth investing the time to prepare for whatever you may face during discovery.

 If you have further questions about discovery and preparing for your case, contact the Ontario personal injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.  Call us at 613 233-4529.

Why Many Ontario Personal Injury Cases Settle for Too Little

Are You Getting What You Deserve for Your Ottawa Accident Case?

Individuals who have suffered serious personal injury due to an Ontario accident should receive fair compensation for their pain and suffering.  Unfortunately, many personal injury cases settle for much less than they should.  While the law and legal proceedings can be complicated, lengthy and sometimes overwhelming for injured individuals, there is no good reason why
they should not receive the compensation they deserve.  That being said, there are a few reasons why personal injury cases often settle for less.

Lack of Preparation for Examination for Discovery

One of the reasons is that in some cases, clients are not prepared for examination and discovery.  This means that the lawyer has not adequately prepared their client for what will happen and what may be required of them when evidence is presented and when the individual might have to share their side of the story.  Everyone facing a personal injury case should be informed and well-prepared for the process that lay ahead.  Not being adequately prepared can negatively impact the case and result in a lower settlement.

No Review of Your Past Medical History

Often, clients are familiar with their entire past medical history.  It can be easy for someone to forget certain past injuries, illnesses, or medications they were on, and not knowing all of this information can damage a personal injury case.  It is important to get all of your past medical records so that you are up-to-date with what all of your medical records say.  It is important to
be familiar with all of your medical history because past injuries or illnesses or other medical conditions can have an impact on your case and on the compensation you may be entitled to.

Appropriate Expert Reports

Another reason why personal injury cases often settle for less is that some lawyers do not obtain appropriate reports from experts.
If you are facing an injury case you should be confident that your lawyer will do everything required to achieve a successful outcome for your case.  If lawyers fail to prepare or submit all of the necessary reports or even additional reports that would
benefit your case, the outcome is likely not going to be as good as it could have been.

 Settling Too Quickly

And lastly, sometimes cases are settled too quickly when the extent of the individual’s injuries or their future job
prospects are not yet fully known.  It can be tempting to settle a case quickly since you may feel like you just want
to get it over with or you want to save time and money.  While these are important factors to consider, by settling too early, you risk losing the compensation you may otherwise receive.  It is unwise to settle a case before the injuries and job prospects have been adequately assessed.

There is No Substitute for Good Representation

Facing a personal injury case can be daunting but if you work with the right lawyer, you should receive the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.  Be sure to work with a lawyer in whom you have the utmost confidence and who you can trust to adequately represent you.

Ottawa Lawyer | Restrictions on Discovery in an Ontario Accident Case

When Examination for Discovery in an Accident Case Becomes Ridiculous

OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER – Starting next year there will be greater restrictions in Ontario on the amount of time that is spent examining parties to a law suit for discovery. Examination for discovery is the part of a law suit where the people involved are asked questions under oath about the accident and, if they are a person claiming damages, the nature of the claims.

Not everyone is happy to see the discovery time reduced, but I am. I cannot stand watching my client angst over questions like: “Did you see the specialist before or after your elbow pain increased?”. Or “How many times in the year before the accident had you seen your family doctor”. What a flippin’ waste of time and money…

Sure, medical appointments before and after the accident are relevant. But, in Ontario there is a master print out of all medical services provided to an Ontario resident, a description of those services and the dates of those medical services. Plus, the defence lawyer either already has or will get copies of all the medical records.

A defence lawyer has no reason to ask those questions except to try to catch the plaintiff in a “lie”. What person on a jury is going to conclude that the plaintiff is a liar because he or she cannot remember the number or order of medical appointments the plaintiff attended 3 or 4 years earlier? My view is: none.

It is my sincere hope that this type of mind-numbing, time wasting interrogation will fade to nothing when the new discovery rules are in force and the defendants have to pick up the pace of their examinations or risk missing the important stuff. Here’s to change!

If you have been injured in Ontario and are interested in getting fair compensation from your insurance company, a top personal injury lawyer can help. For more information, contact the Ottawa accident lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 860-4529.

Discovery and the Ottawa Car Accident Victim

Discovery and the Ottawa Car Accident Victim

OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER – Most personal injury lawyers will tell you that many cases are won or lost at examination for discovery. This is the part of the case where you are asked questions, under oath, by the opposing lawyer.  The questions and answers are transcribed by a court reported and become evidence to be used by the opposing lawyer at trial.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your case is failing to prepare for discovery.

In a motor vehicle accident case, your pre-accident medical condition is relevant.  The insurance company’s lawyer will have access to all your medical records.  For example, the opposing lawyer will know if you complained of headaches in the year leading up to your accident because your doctor will have written it into your chart.

If you deny ever having a headache before the accident, it will hurt your case.  Even if you innocently forgot.  Even if the headaches are different from what you have after the accident.

You can avoid this pitfall by asking your lawyer to review your medical records with you before your discovery.  In almost every case, we review our client’s evidence with them at least twice before discovery.   If the client wishes additional meetings, we can almost always accomodate this request.  Discovery prep is a crucial step toward a successful settlement or judgment.

Have you received an accident-related injury in Ottawa and want the best help in preparing for your discovery? A top personal injury lawyer is the best call you can make. For more information, contact the Ottawa injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 860-4529.

Ottawa Lawyer – How to Wreck Your Case at Discovery

Ottawa Lawyer – How to Wreck Your Case at Discovery

If you are injured in an Ontario accident, your Ottawa personal injury lawyer may start a law suit on your behalf.  One very important step in your case is your examination for discovery.    The evidence you give, and how you give it, will have a serious impact on the insurance company’s settlement position.  Here are some serious faux pas that can wreck your prospects of a successful settlement or trial outcome.

1.  Lie.  About Anything.  And you case is lost.  Period.  The number one goal of most defence lawyers on discovery is to catch you in a lie.  Defence lawyers know that jurors will not make an award to anyone who exagerates, denies past injuries or tries to conceal skeletons in the closet.  If you are worried about something, talk to your lawyer about it in advance.  There is rarely a wart on a case that cannot be managed if the proper planning is done.

2. Ramble.  On and On.  The best witnesses at discovery answer the question they are asked and then stop talking.  Defence lawyers know that a skilled witness who is very responsive to the questions will do well with a jury.

3. Volunteer information without being asked.  Only the defence lawyer gets to use your discovery.  You do not get to use it.  As a result, there is no point going on and on and answering questions you are not asked.  It cannot help you.  It can only hurt you.

4. Be rude and Get Mad.  The transcript will show your attitude in many ways.  Be polite.

5. Be Vague.  Just to Get it Over with.  Giving vague answers to describe the impact of your injuries on your work, leisure, family and housekeeping chores will ensure that your damages are undervalued.

Avoid these pitfalls to improve your opportunity for success in your personal injury case.

Ottawa Lawyer: Are you ready for Examination for Discovery

Ottawa Lawyer: Are you ready for Examination for Discovery

One of the most important steps in your personal injury law suit is examination for discovery.  During the examination, you are asked questions under oath about the key aspects of your medical history, employment, family life and the accident itself.  Careful preparation for discovery is key.

In this video, Ottawa personal injury lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth describes to new lawyers what steps she takes to prepare her clients for discovery.  If you enjoy the video, please leave a comment on You Tube.  We love your comments.

Success at Examination for Discovery | Ontario

Success at Examination for Discovery | Ontario

Many plaintiffs worry about the examination for discovery. The truth is, this is an important part of your case. It is the first time the opposing lawyer hears from you directly. Not only will the lawyer form an impression of the strength of your case based on the facts you describe, but also the lawyer will be assessing how strong you are as a witness. Nevertheless, a little practice and preparation will go a long way toward success at the examination.

What is Examination for Discovery?

It is simply sworn testimony (questions and answers) given before a court reporter, usually at a court reporter’s office. The facility is generally like a conference room. Usually, all of the lawyers involved in the case are present. At the end of the examination, a transcript is often prepared. The transcript is a verbatim version of what was said at the examination.

Why Have Examination for Discovery?

There are three main reasons why the opposing lawyer wants to examine you. First, as mentioned above, the lawyer and his or her client want to size you up as a witness. How will the jury like you?

Second, they want to hear your version of the facts, straight from your mouth.

Third, they want you to commit to your story. Because you are giving sworn evidence, if you try to change your answers at trial, you will be cross-examined against what you said at examination for discovery. This is called being “impeached”. It hurts your credibility if your story is not consistent.

How Can You Succeed at Examination for Discovery?

(1) Tell the truth. The lawyers and investigators you are dealing with are very smart and very experienced. It is unlikely that you will get away with exaggerating or otherwise not telling the truth. In a personal injury case, that means you must admit to past injuries or medical incidents or conditions and you must not overstate your injuries.

(2) Stay focused. Some lawyers are aggressive. You will have no doubt that this is a formal legal proceeding. Other lawyers, however, are warm and friendly. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a casual conversation. You are there to answer the specific questions asked and nothing more. On breaks, you should not talk about anything personal in the presence of opposing counsel. No exceptions. Nothing said at discovery is “off the record”.

(3) Listen to the questions. Do not answer a question you don’t understand. Do not start answering the question part way through. Don’t answer more than the question asks. If you listen to the question, these rules are pretty easy.

What Do You Do if You Don’t Know the Answer to A Question?

You answer: “I don’t know”. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the examiner that you don’t know the answer to the question. Discovery is not a memory test. And most importantly, you must not guess at any answer. Sometimes it is acceptable to approximate. For example, this is acceptable if you are estimating a car’s speed or a distance. Just be sure to clarify that it is an estimate.

What Does Your Lawyer Do While You Are Being Examined?

Your own lawyer ensures that you are fairly treated during the discovery. For example, they will make objections to questions that are improper. If your lawyer does not object, you should answer the question. Unfortunately, in a personal injury case there are subject matters you will be asked about that can be pretty personal. Even your sex life can be a reasonable topic in many cases. Be confident that your lawyer is making all legitimate objections.

You cannot have a private discussion with your lawyer during your examination for discovery. It is simply not allowed.

The main thing your lawyer is doing during your examination is planning what else needs to be done on the case. Often the discovery will highlight areas that need fleshing out. Your lawyer will be making a list of these areas and planning the next steps.

I hope this information has given you an overview of what to expect during your examination for discovery.

To speak to an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer call 613 233-4529, email us at [email protected] or use our handy contact form.

  • Auger Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers representing injured people in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth, Cornwall, Kingston, Renfrew, Lanark, Pembroke, Petawawa and Hawksbury, Toronto, Peterboroght, L'Orignal. Note: This Website Provides Information but not legal advice. Contact a lawyer for legal advice about your case. Every case is different.
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