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What Does a Litigation Lawyer do?

Gavel A litigation lawyer is the type of lawyer you need if you have a dispute with an individual or organization and want your case adjudicated through the court system by an unbiased independent party. A litigators job is to knowledgably argue your claim on your behalf.

If you are asking for compensation for disability, illness or death you need a personal injury litigator. Personal injury requires additional knowledge of specific laws regarding the duty of care that is owed to you by legislation covering premises, motor vehicles or product manufacturers.

The first step in the litigation process, before any documents are filed with the court, is to look at the evidence that is available to prove liability (fault) and damages (harm worthy of compensation). If insufficient documentation is available, it is the job of your litigation lawyer and their staff to obtain what is needed. Your co-operation is required in gathering evidence including attending medical appointment or authorizing release of medical and financial records. Unless both fault and harm can be proven the claim will fail. Juries are asked to adjudicate a claim using a two-part system. First fault will be reviewed with fault determined between parties. Only after fault is determined will a judge or jury look at damages and decide on a dollar value for those losses.  

Often expert witnesses will need to be retained to provide evidence regarding your physical or financial losses. If it appears that you may not be able to return to work or need to accept work with lower pay that meets your accident caused physical limitations the jury will have to hear evidence about what your future losses will be.  

When a litigator believes they have, or will have, sufficient evidence to document your losses a Statement of Claim is prepared and filed with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction. This may be where an incident occurred or where the parties reside. There are nine Superior Courts of Justice locations in the greater Toronto area.

The Statute of Limitations in Ontario is two years which means that a Claim must be issued by the second anniversary of the incident giving rise to the law suit. There are factors that increase the amount of time parties have to file suit, however it is best not to count on an extension being granted. A claim that does not meet the filing deadline could be dismissed even if the claim would have succeeded on its merits.

A litigator must be well versed in courtroom procedure to be able to argue your case in front of a judge and jury. There are countless rules about how to present evidence and it does not happen in an hour, like on television legal dramas. Ninety five percent of a litigation lawyers time is spent following pre-trial procedures and preparation. This takes place behind the scenes and is not at all glamourous. Without the behind the scenes work your litigation lawyer either does not have the evidence to support your claim or does not know the right questions to ask. There would never have been a dramatic ending to the 1992 movie, A Few Good Men without preparation. While we can’t claim trials with that sort of drama, it takes skill on the part of the lawyer to present the evidence needed to have a jury rule in your favour.

Due to the high cost of preparing a claim for trial there are other avenues your litigation lawyer will attempt before stepping foot in a courtroom. These includes mediation, where again the importance of knowing your case intimately and then using the right words on your behalf is vital.  A good Litigator knows and works with experts that are qualified to prepare reports and present evidence at trial on your behalf.  

When you hire Michelle Brown to handle your claim we treat your case as if it will ultimately be tried before a judge and jury. Every step of the process is geared towards the expectation that we will have to advocate for a claimant against an adverse party that does not want to pay anything. The cases that are well documented and ready for trial are the cases most likely to settle.

If you are looking to get a good litigator on board for a claim against someone who has caused you harm, we offer a free initial consultation. Contact us to arrange to meet with Michelle Brown, either at our office or a location convenient to you.