Preventing Injury: A Focus on Distracted Driving

In this episode, Nigel and Bill conduct a feature-length interview with Sgt. Dave Rektor of the Ontario Provincial Police. Listen to Sgt. Rektor describe the rising concern about the dangers associated with distracted driving – and what the Ontario Provincial Police are doing to try and reduce it.

Also, Bill and Nigel deal with two questions from listeners concerning trials – how common are trials and what are the financial implications for being successful.

Guest Speaker(s): Sgt. Dave Rektor

Episode 4 Transcript

Episode 4 Q&A

Q: How likely is it that my case will actually go to trial?

A:Statistically, less than 5% of cases ever make it to the court room door and even if they make it to the court room door, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to go through to trial. They often settle at the court room door. The vast majority of cases settle long before you get to the trial.

Our litigation system has a built in opportunity to try and settle a case. We call that a pre-trial conference. This is an opportunity where the parties and the lawyers sit with the judge and it’s the judge’s job at that pre-trial conference to see if a settlement can be brokered.

Another oppotunty is a mediation. A mediation is a voluntary process where the lawyers and their respective clients, in other words the insurance company and the injured party, come together. There is an independent third party who then works between the insurance company and the individual who is injured through their lawyers and tries to get the case settled. The injured person is physically present, the insurance company, or cheque writer as we like to refer to them, is physically present and the mediator’s job is to go back and forth and try and get the case resolved. An example, if you think of a situation where the company and the union are at loggerheads and they don’t or can’t resolve their differences then often times they will bring in a mediator to try and work with the company and the union to resolve their issues and it’s very, very similar.

Q: If I have a trial and I win my case, does the other side have to pay my legal bill in full?

A: Yes, they are required to pay some of your costs not only if your case goes to trial, but even if you settle your case before it goes to trial. When you settle your case, or if you go to trial and are successful, then the other side is responsible to pay a large part of your costs but not all of your costs. What they pick up is most of the disbursements, and that’s the expenses for medical reports and other experts that you may be hiring to help build your case and they are also required to pay for some of the lawyer’s time that has been spent working on your file.

Usually you will have an arrangement with the lawyer that you hire as to what other fees you will be charged by that lawyer. In our firm, for example, we work on basically what’s called a contingency fee which means that you have the choice when you hire a lawyer from our firm to say, I will give you a percentage of my winnings and in exchange for that, if, in case I lose, I pay nothing to you. Basically, we tell clients you don’t pay any money unless we get money for you and that way they’re pretty safe.

To emphasize it, it’s not possible to have a trial and come out of the process without having some legal fees to be paid out of the proceeds from the judgment that the court gives. We don’t have a system where you can receive your legal fees paid in full by the other side when you win at trial.

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