How do I prepare for a meeting with a lawyer I want to hire to represent me?
IF THERE IS A TIME LIMIT SITUATION, LEAD WITH THIS INFORMATION when making arrangements for a consultation. While our staff, and most capable law firm staff, will ask the right questions, missing critical deadlines could end your case before it even starts.
A fall on municipal property requires quick action. Not knowing this or not being in a position to hire a lawyer within the first 10 days following an injury is not an acceptable excuse. A reminder that we make home and hospital visits for situations like this.
The time limit for many personal injury claims in Ontario is two (2) years from the date of the incident that caused your injury. Two years to commence the action, not two years to resolution. If your injury or loss is approaching the two-year mark you need to consult with a lawyer so that if warranted a claim can be issued to preserve your right of action.WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE WHY and HOW
- Who was involved? Full names are appreciated.
- What happened? Car accident? Fall? Disease diagnosis?
- When did it happen? Date and time.
- Where did it happen? Exact location, with photographs if possible.
- Why did it happen? Who was at fault for the incident.
- How did it happen? Be prepared to offer a full description or have information as to any witnesses that may have observed the incident.
If you have documentation regarding any of these issues, please ensure it is available for review.
The Law Society of Ontario requires that we have and keep on file throughout the period we work for you, government issued photo ID. We must see the originals and keep a copy for our file. If you leave your wallet in the car, we will send you out to get it.
Think about what caused your injury. Car Accident. Take the police incident report to your appointment. An injury sustained in a fall at a local store. Was an incident report completed by the store staff? If you have it, take it to your legal meeting. If nothing else, have the correct store name and address and details of anyone who assisted you at the time of your fall. Were you robbed? That too may have a police report required to commence an insurance claim.
When we are dealing with injury, a list of tests and appointments together with physician’s names and anything you have that sets out diagnosis is important. No paperwork? A handwritten chronology is a good start.
If dealing with any type of insurance claim, health, vehicle or home, please take a copy of the policy and any benefit booklet/leaflet you will have received at the time the policy was purchased. This will help the lawyer answer your questions about entitlement. Without this we would need to request the policy documents, causing further delay and your questions will remain unanswered until the documentation is received.
If your claim involves a loss of income, a current pay stub, a copy of your employment contract and your previous year’s tax return would be helpful.
If your desire is to prepare a Will and/or Power of Attorney, a list of your assets and debts in order for us to understand the extent of your estate is helpful. Additionally, you need a list of your family members (full names and dates of birth for any minor children) so we get it correct when we draw up your documents.
Additionally, if you have decided who to name as your executor/alternate executor or power of attorney it is necessary for you to have a discussion with them to confirm their willingness to assume the role. We will need their full name, address, and contact information.
And last, but certainly not least, if you require reading glasses, please have them with you. Legal documents tend to be long and have small print. You would be astonished at the number of people that attend to sign their Wills without reading glasses, making it very difficult to review and sign their documents.
If your specific legal issue is not covered by this information, please give our office a call before your appointment to clarify what documents you should bring with you.