How to Find the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sarnia

With so many law offices in Sarnia, it is easy to assume that you have a lot to choose from whenever you need legal help. The truth, however, is that only very few people can provide you with the best legal representation for the specific area in which you need help. It is therefore important to wade through all the advertisements out there and find the right attorney for your case. Learn how to find the best car accident lawyers in Sarnia using these simple tips:

Insist on specialization

One lawyer cannot be good in everything. Some lawyers are good at corporate law while others are good at criminal law. Some do well on land issues or copyright law, but might not perform well if they were to take a case on a different area in which they are not specialized. Unfortunately, very few lawyers will reject a request for representation or refer a client to the right person when they are approached with a task that is not in their area of specialization. The burden of determining the right lawyer for your case, therefore, rests in your hands.

Find a straightforward lawyer

Though many people think it’s difficult to determine if a lawyer is saying the truth, gauging a lawyer’s straight-forwardness is fairly easy: Right before you contact a car accident lawyer in Sarnia for the first time, prepare a short list of two to five specific questions. A sample list may be as follows:

1. When did you last handle an auto accident case in Sarnia?

2. What is your average fee?

3. Do you have any endorsements from a former client?

4. How long has your office been operational?

Ensure that you keep record the answers they provide. When you meet in person, ask the same questions again and see if the answers match. Don’t bother meeting with a lawyer who refuses to answer your questions or one who provides vague replies. If you are going to be working together, then they should be ready to open up to you about their profession.

Confirm if they have enough resources

Some cases require intensive research, and this means that there should be enough manpower as well as finances to facilitate the process. The lawyer you pick should demonstrate that they have these. Look at the size of the lawyer’s office and its furnishings, the number of staff and their appearance, and their website among other indicators.

Online lawyer reviews

Majority of attorney websites have reviews sections where you can read feedbacks from their past clients. Because these can be moderated, however, it is good that you also search for reviews from independent websites. Just key in the name of the law firm in a search engine and click on the review sites where their titles appear. Lastly, the best car accident lawyers in Sarnia should also have operated in the city or its surroundings for a long time. Only then can they be sufficiently aware of local precedents and laws relevant to your case.

What to Look for When Comparing Injury Lawyers

If you have been a victim of an accident or personal injury, you may be looking at different injury lawyers in Chatham to determine if there is a case worth pursuing. Due to so many lawyers to choose from, you may wonder how to compare them. To find one for your specific situation, you need to compare injury lawyers on your own. Some things to look for when comparing injury lawyers include the amount of experience, expertise area, and one you are able to feel comfortable with.

Experienced Injury Lawyer

The area of law is specialized, with different types of law being practiced by different lawyers. You want a lawyer experienced in handling personal injury cases. You do not want a lawyer who has a specialty in insurance companies, even with years of experience. These lawyers may be accustomed to siding with the insurance company and not fight hard for your case. You want to compare injury lawyers in Chatham, gather some names and meet with each to discuss your case prior to hiring them.

Friends, Family, Coworkers

Talk to friends, family, and coworkers who have had experience with an injury lawyer. Put that lawyers name on a list of ones to have an initial consultation with if your friend, family member, or coworker speaks highly of their experience. Do not make a decision based solely on someone else’s experience. Responses to injury lawyers in Chatham differ with different people. Prior to making a decision, meet with the lawyer to discuss your case, and decide if you feel comfortable with their representation.

Lawyers You Know

You possibly already know a lawyer, either because they represented you in the past or personally. This lawyer may be good at their job. So, you may consider that they are your obvious choice for your personal injury claim. However, does this lawyer have any experience in personal injury cases, and if so, how much? They may have none or very little, and might not want to disappoint you by referring your case to someone more appropriate. Regardless of how good a relationship you may have with a lawyer, if they do not have experience in personal injury, they are bad for your case. Ask them for names of injury lawyers in Chatham they can refer you to. Bar Associations The majority of local bar associations have service for a lawyer referral. Through here you can receive names of different lawyers practicing in personal injury. Keep in mind, experience screening through bar associations is minimal.

Initial Consultation

Contact lawyers on your list for an initial consultation to discuss you case. How many years’ experience do they have? Do you feel comfortable in their possible ways of handling your case? What are their fees? After meeting and discussing your case with different injury lawyers in Chatham, make sure you are satisfied with their answers to your questions before hiring them.

How to Find a Good Sarnia Car Accident Lawyer

A car accident can be an overwhelming and scary experience, especially if the accident caused you to be injured. This is a time where you may be confused on who to turn to and feel like your best interest is not being looked out for by the insurance company. Adding to these problems are significant pain, lifestyle changes, and piling medical bills. An insurance claims adjuster seems like your best interests are what she has at heart, but the fact is, insurance companies hire these adjusters to minimize insurance payouts.

Of course, this does not mean you your case is no good, and there is no chance of getting the highest possible payout. The problem is these insurance companies have experience and are experts at payout negotiations and managing auto accidents. While you on the other hand, likely have no experience in accidents like this. This is why you need to find the right car accident lawyers in Sarnia, with experience speaking to claims adjusters, able to help you in every step of a settlement negotiation.

Finding Good Car Accident Lawyers

Finding good car accident lawyers in Sarnia may seem intimidating, but the process is actually simple.

Ask Family and Coworkers

First, speak with family and coworkers about any car accident lawyers they may know, and have used in the past. Be sure to ask questions, like if they were satisfied with him or her? Were they able to have regular communication with the lawyer? Were they kept up to date and informed about their case? Were emails and phone calls returned in a timely manner? It is strongly  recommended to keep looking if any of these questions was answered with a no.

Perform Some Research

After receiving referrals for car accident lawyers in Sarnia, their credentials need to be researched. Conduct an internet search on each one, taking your time reading about their credentials. An important factor to read up on is their experience. Have they had experience handling your type of case? Do they have trial experience? If your case is unable to settle, do have a willingness to try cases?

When looking at credentials, check for board certificates, legal awards, and peer ratings. You want a lawyer that is highly qualified, and you have the right to check for these qualifications. Lawyers need more than a license to handle a case correctly.

Regular Communication is Crucial

When hiring a lawyer you expect to have regular communication with them. You want a lawyer who answers your email and takes your calls. What is their policy on returning emails and phone calls? Do they keep you regularly informed on every aspect of your case? One of the most heard of complaints about lawyers, they would not talk to their clients. You want to ensure there will be regular communication with your car accident lawyers in Sarnia. Always keep in mind, you are your best advocate. Make sure the lawyer cares about your case as much as you do.

Settling For the Best Accident Lawyer

It can be challenging choosing an accident lawyer in Chatham. There are several accident lawyers out there, some advertise while others do not. Some work out of their homes while others in high-rise buildings. They seem to be everywhere. When you have been in an accident, it is imperative to use the best lawyer for your type of case.

Finding a Trustworthy Lawyer

You need a lawyer who you can have total confidence in. You do not want a lawyer that you’re always second guessing. A great way to find an accident lawyer in Chatham that is both accountable and trustworthy is by using your existing network. By reading an advertisement for a lawyer, you can find out what type of cases they handle. However, do not use the advertisement only to base your decision.

Using Your Network to Find a Lawyer

If you have used a lawyer in the past for a civil dispute, divorce, or any other civil matter, contact that lawyer for a referral. If you had a good relationship and had confidence in them, they will likely refer you to a lawyer with the same values. Ask family and friends if they ever used an accident lawyer in Chatham. If so, was their experience a positive one? If they answered yes, consider using them for your case. However, if your family and friends never used a lawyer for an accident, but have for another legal matter, ask if they could contact them for a referral to an accident lawyer.

Lawyers Experience

An accident lawyer may have several years’ experience or only a few. A lawyer who has been practicing law for many years may have a heavy caseload and be unable to give time your case needs. On the other hand, because of the many years of experience, the lawyer may know several claim adjusters from numerous insurance companies. They might have a good working relationship with the adjusters. Or the accident lawyer may have a reputation for not settling cases which have offered too low. He may be known as a tough litigator that insurance companies would rather not fight. A new accident lawyer might be looking for some cases. They may be eager to accept new clients to build their practice. Because they do not have many cases, this would give them more time to spend on your case. In addition, they would likely be more willing to take smaller cases because of their lighter caseload.

Initial Consultation

Choosing an accident lawyer in Chatham becomes personal during the initial consultation. Recommendations and advertisements are helpful, but your own personal experience is what you will have to rely on. You need to have confidence in the lawyer and their ability to represent your best interests. A relationship between a lawyer and client can last for months, sometimes years. After an honest consultation, you will know if this lawyer is right for you from your own experience.

Learn Insurance Terms in Less Than 10 Minutes!

I discovered that despite the importance of insurance to our lives, many people are still finding it difficult understanding simple insurance terms when talking to their brokers about insurance. As with every profession, insurance has so many industry jargon that every adult should know and understand, especially to help them when making the serious insurance discussion and decision.

Below are everyday insurance terms used by insurance professionals when discussing on the subject and in your transaction when taking out a policy.

Accident Benefits: This is insurance coverage, providing cover for the insured injured in an accident.

All Perils: This is an insurance policy that combines a combination of collision and comprehensive coverage and covers you in the event of damages meeting the set criteria.

Attendant Care: This is an insurance cover, covering the cost of caregiver when involved in an accident and unable to care for you.

Autoplus: This is a detailed record of insurance policies and claims; it contains million of insurance claim cases.

Caregiver, Housekeeping and Home Maintenance: This is an insurance cover for an accident victim to pay other people handling these activities in case the insured is unable to do them due to an accident.

Collision Coverage: This is an insurance policy, which covers repair of your vehicle if you cause an accident or damaged your car as a result of a weather-related accident.

Comprehensive Coverage: This is an insurance policy covering a broad range of covers for a vehicle such as fire, theft, damage animals, etc.

Death and Funeral: A part of insurance accident cover to cover for the insured’s funeral expenses when killed in an accident.

Dependent Care: This is a part of accident insurance cover to cover the insured’s dependents care costs when involved in an accident.

Direct Compensation Property Damage: This is an insurance cover which demands all claim handling is processed by your insurer when you are not at fault in an accident.

First Party: This is the name given to an insurance policyholder.

Income Replacement: This is an insurance cover for a person with a disability to cover the loss of income, when unable to work again due to the accident.

Indexation Benefits: This is a part of an accident cover, which adjusts the insured compensation according to the rate of inflation in case of permanent disability because of the crash.

Insurance Agent: This is an insurance professional, licensed by FSCO, who works directly with an insurance company to sell their policy to prospective clients.

Insurance Broker: Another Insurance professional, licensed by RIBO, to sell insurance policies for several insurers. They work in brokerages, where insurance policies are sold and maintained by insurance companies in Canada.

Liability Insurance: This is an insurance policy that provides cover for your legal expenses when sued.

Medical & Rehabilitation: This is an insurance cover, covering medical and rehabilitation expenses when involved in an accident.

MVR: This stands for Motor Vehicle Record, which is a database containing driver’s license dates and driving infractions.

Third Party Coverage: This is liability coverage against possible lawsuits filed by a third party, involving the insured being the first party and insurer being the second party to the insurance contract.

Third Party: This is a policyholder who is a beneficiary of third-party coverage.

Vin-Number: This stands for Vehicle Identification Number, which is your car’s serial number for identification purposes.

Conclusion

These insurance terms are just a few out of many such terms you will hear from time to time when talking insurance. Your effort to learn and be familiar with them will give you an edge when negotiating your insurance cover next time.

4 Tips for Choosing a Long Term Disability Lawyer

4 Tips for Choosing a Long Term Disability Lawyer

Accident happens, that is a fact! And many would take it as one of those things that happen in life and find a way to cope with it. But what could be more devastating is when after been involved in a disabling accident or illness and you had in the course of your working life subscribed and paid your disability insurance coverage only to learn your only and last hope for survival in disability has been denied. That is something you should contest as many people would do the same to ensure their livelihood is guaranteed in disability.

Many people coping with disabling accidents or illnesses had to fight the last battle of their lives to secure disability insurance benefits to have a renewed hope of living without being able to work to earn a living anymore. But often time, making disability claim require been able to do it right, due to complicated technicalities that demand knowing what to do, and this is where getting a knowledgeable Long Term Disability Lawyer to help in the application process for a claim is necessary.

While it may sound easy getting a lawyer, getting the right long term disability lawyer requires knowing what to look for. Below are four tips to guide you in choosing the right one:

1. Get a responsive and accessible lawyer

Before committing yourself to a lawyer, make sure such a person is someone you can reach and interact with ease. After all, this is a person from whom you need advice; he or she should not be unreachable or unresponsive in any way.

2. Get an expert with focus on disability claim

As said already, disability claim requires you file your application correctly to get a listening ear from the authority handling claim issues. Unless you have a competent disability lawyer, you may have it a little difficult than when you do have a competent one.

Thus, ask and find out if your proposed lawyer has the requisite knowledge to represent or advise you in your claim.

3. Choose a lawyer who practices in your jurisdiction

Although disability claim is a federal matter, and any lawyer can represent you. However, getting a lawyer who resides in your location that will not have to fly in and out each time you have a hearing will be best for you considering you do not have the fund to burn on traveling expenses because you don’t even know how long the matter will last.

Therefore, choose a lawyer practicing in your location, this way you will have the benefit of consulting with them regularly without traveling overhead.

4. Get a lawyer who gets paid after your claim is paid

It’s obvious you are not in the position to pay any lawyer per hour or retainer fees for helping you with making your claim. So, you should not make the mistake of getting a lawyer that will bill you per hour or ask for upfront retainer fees. Instead, get a lawyer who will agree to get paid after you received your claim.

Also, the payment you will be making from your received disability claim to the lawyer should be a percentage of what you get for your disability settlement.

Car Insurance is Not an Option for Drivers in Canada

Car Insurance is Not an Option for Drivers in Canada

Car insurance is something that every car owner should have. In many places it is not something that is mandatory, but in Canada, having car insurance is mandatory by the law. According to the law, every driver should have third party liability insurance. For the entire country, the minimum amount of insurance is $200,000 but […]

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario or Deal Directly With the Insurance Company?

Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario or Deal Directly With the Insurance Company?

For any person who is involved in a car crash, it is very hectic. Insurance companies usually tend to investigate the whole situation before planning to payout any money. Sometimes, the insurance companies deny the insurance amount to their clients, claiming that the accident was sabotage by the owner. In these situations, the case usually goes to the court. For these reasons, it is quite important for a victim to hire a personal injury lawyer to help extract the insurance money from the company. Moreover, there are a few things one needs to verify with the lawyer before hiring. They are:

1. What is the specialization of the lawyer?

This is a very important question to ask a lawyer. If the lawyer is not a specialized personal injury lawyer, then it doesn’t matter how good he/she is. At the end of the day, they may not be able to negotiate the matters as well as a person specializing in this area. But, in case the lawyer is a close relative or a very good friend, they can be hired because they have an emotional connection with the family and will usually not double-cross them.

Every lawyer having a regular practice knows the basics of laws on all fields but it is always advised to get a specialist lawyer for matters like this as there is a high chance that the insurance company will also hire a specialist lawyer.

2. Did the lawyer handle similar cases before?

This is again a valid question. One needs to be sure they have the best lawyer for their purpose. In these cases, experience matters a lot as for an experienced personal injury lawyer; it is easier to understand the steps the opposition might take. Also, knowing about the experience of the lawyer in such a case will also reveal the win percentage of the lawyer. Within lawyers, there is an unofficial code of conduct. Some ethical lawyers charge only when they can win the case. For such experienced lawyers, taking of a case depends on the condition of the case, i.e. they will take the case only if they are sure they will win it. On the other hand, there are a number of lawyers who tend to hoodwink clients and will take both the case and the money regardless of the outcome.

3. Can he/she handle the defendant?

This is one of the most important virtues of the hired lawyer, their ability to predict the steps of the opposition and counter correctly. When a lawyer can do this, the case is already half won. A young and new lawyer, with less experience won’t be able to do this, unless they were previously employed by insurance companies.

4. Does the lawyer interact personally with the client?

This is another important factor in hiring a lawyer. If a client goes to a big firm, the usual case is that a junior of the main senior lawyer who comes to interact with the client. These situations sometimes create a communication gap between the client and lawyer, which is not something good. In that case, it is better to approach a smaller firm, where the client can communicate personally with the senior lawyer.

Accident Benefits – Knowing Your Rights to Getting Better Accident Compensation

Accident Benefits – Knowing Your Rights to Getting Better Accident Compensation

Although Ontario has a robust accident benefits insurance regime unparalleled anywhere in Canada, it requires understanding of how it works if you are planning on making a claim for your loss under the system.

And unless you know your rights and file a formal report about your involvement in an accident, you risk forfeiting your benefits because the insurance companies will not pay any unreported accident. Even if you do not have any insurance policy, you can still benefit, under the system’s “no-fault” accident benefits.

For the purpose of this article, let’s discuss some of the benefits:

1. Medical Rehabilitation Benefits:

These benefits cover treatments such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, assistive devices, gym memberships and all other medical, rehabilitative treatment found to be reasonably necessary for post accident care. It also covers tools like a wheelchair, modified vehicles, and many others.

These benefits come in two cases, the catastrophic and non-catastrophic. The Catastrophic Cases, entitle you to a sum of $1,000,000 for a lifetime period while the Non-catastrophic Cases allow $100,000 spread over a period of 10 years.

To benefit under this facility, you need a medical professional to complete the treatment plan to justify your needing it.

2. Income Replacement Benefits:

The income replacement benefits aimed at replacing your income source; that is if involved in an accident and unable to work as a result. When this happens, the benefits cover 80% of your pre-accident earnings. The last earning is the average of last year’s pre-accident income. On the order hand, they may settle for 26 of your 52 weeks before the accident.

The benefits offer a maximum of $400 per week under the Ontario accident policy.

3. Caregiver Benefits:

The caregiver benefits aim at providing caregiving to persons under the care of the victim before the incident. Such persons may include a young child, sick person or elderly who need the victim to care for them, but who can no longer perform this task due to their present circumstances.

To benefit from this accident benefits provision, you need to show proof of being the primary caregiver to get a sum of $250 weekly with $50 extra for every additional person under your care.

4. Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Benefits

If you undertake certain tasks before your accident and after which you are unable to do the same due to sustained injury or disability, the benefits help to take care of the same task such as dish washing, mopping, etc.

Your insurance company requires you submit invoice or receipt for the chores to get the benefits, but the approved sum will not be more than $100 per week. Failing to provide the receipt means your insurer will not pay you regardless of your injury.

5. Attendant Care Benefits:

These benefits pay for people who provide attendant care services, such as bathing, bruising hair, grooming, etc., to the victims after they are injured. For you to claim this compensation,  you need an occupational therapist to complete “form 1” that shows how many attendants care needed after their accident.

Conclusion

The Ontario accident system has a robust accident compensation policy, like the “no-fault” system which helps to assist accident victims to have something dependable to fall back on because of the limited nature of insurance coverage in accident cases. For you to benefit, all you need is to study and understand how the system works and follow due process to get your benefits paid.

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Cold Weather Safety Tips

We are going to see lower temperatures across the province in January 2016.  We will have the usual extreme cold weather alerts, inordinate amounts of snow, freezing rain and of course icy sidewalks.

The elements can be harsh and dangerous whether you are a pedestrian or motorist. In Windsor and Sarnia, our winters are harsh and often unbearable and can in many cases have consequences for both the inside of the home’s plumbing as well as the outside; contacting Plumber Wave can help eliminate many of the issues that may arise in terms to damages and potential accidents. Winter weather is particularly dangerous for pedestrians, with exposure to wind-chill and risk of hypothermia, frostbite and personal injuries such as slip and fall accidents. The Canadian Red Cross recommends always keep your head covered and wearing fabrics that are insulated, like wool. Always keep exposed areas covered including your face, ears and fingers.

It is important to always wear a hat and keep your head covered because half your body heat can escape through an uncovered head. Mittens or Gloves? Believe it or not, mittens are recommended as more warmth is created when our fingers are kept together. Slip and fall accidents are also prevalent in the winter months due to compacted snow, freezing rain, build ups of ice and slush. Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries.

Here are some tips in order to prevent slip and fall accidents:

  1. Keep a supply of salt in your garage (or near your front door): Make sure you can easily access salt to salt your walkway,driveway, and sidewalk in front of your house to make it safe for yourself, your family and any potential visitors;
  2. Make sure your driveway and walkway are well lit: If you do not have outdoor light fixtures, you may want to consider installing them so you have a clear view of your walkway and driveway.
  3. Invest in proper footwear: We recommend that proper footwear be worn at all times- buy winter boots with non-skid soles (and buy lined boots to keep your feet warm);
  4. See and Be Seen: The snow can cast a bright reflection- make sure you can see your surroundings when you are walking and keep a pair of sunglasses with you to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare. Wear something bright or reflective so that drivers can see you.
  5. Listen: You may be wearing a hood, or have a hat on, but even with your ears covered, you should still be aware of approaching vehicles or people. Always be aware of your surroundings, so you do not have to make any sudden moves which could cause you to fall;
  6. Use handrails where available: When you reach a set of stairs, always use the handrail where one is available to help you with your balance and pace yourself. Do not rush up and down stairwells as they are dangerous and an accumulation of precipitation on a set of stairs can lead to a serious injury;
  7. Beware of Ice: After rain, or where snow has melted, be wary of what looks like wet pavement as it could actually be what is known as black ice, which is dangerous to walk on;
  8. Enter slowly: Take extra caution when you enter your destination, be it your workplace, a shopping centre or school as the floor may be wet due to an accumulation of melted snow and ice;
  9. Avoid shortcuts: Only take well-lit, well-travelled routes and avoid areas that may not have been salted and may be dark;

10. Practice “conscious walking”: Be conscious of where you will place your feet and anticipate your next steps, look up so that you are aware of the surface ahead and scan your surroundings to ensure you are not in the way of oncoming vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

If you have been injured as the result of a slip and fall accident, it is important that you contact the experienced Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation.

We understand that you may feel overwhelmed during the legal process and we strive to provide the best service possible and to help our clients in any way that we can, be it a referral to a specialist, rehabilitation provider, help securing a litigation loan or providing reassurance.

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time.