Virtually Representing Personal Injury Clients In Ontario During COVID-19
Author(s): Darcy R. Merkur
February 19, 2021
We have all seen advertisements by personal injury law firms boasting about having offices in multiple cities throughout Ontario.
Often these ‘offices’ are properly footnoted to be ‘satellite offices’ or something that explains to the astute fine print reader that it is really nothing more than a sign on a tiny office that is occasionally staffed by a receptionist and with cameo visits from a personal injury lawyer.
In other words, some personal injury law firms have tried to convince those that wish to hire a local lawyer that their law firm is in fact a local law firm and, often more importantly, they have tried to convince Google and other search engines to recognize them as ‘local’ (i.e. with a neighbourhood mailing address).
Some larger personal injury law firms, like Thomson Rogers, have resisted the temptation of putting on the facade of having ‘local’ offices, instead relying on their over 80 years of existence as a personal injury law firm helping thousands of accident victims from all over Ontario.
The COVID-19 situation has changed the personal injury landscape in a number of ways.
I previously wrote about how the COVID-19 landscape was likely to push some older personal injury lawyers towards an earlier retirement, and that prediction seems to have proven to be accurate, especially since COVID-19 has lasted longer than initially predicted with sadly no clear end in sight.
One major impact of COVID-19 on many industries, including law firms, is the prohibition on most in-person client and potential client meetings (even though law firms are considered an “essential service”).
As a result of being unable to meet clients and potential clients in person, personal injury lawyers must be interviewed by potential clients virtually when auditioning to be retained.
For example, accident victims admitted to a trauma hospital (like Sunnybrook Hospital, St. Mike’s Hospital, Hamilton General Hospital or Sick Kids Hospital) are not in a position to attend in-person meetings with potential personal injury lawyer candidates. Instead, these consultations are taking place virtually by Zoom or otherwise.
These virtual meetings will have to continue for the next many months.
As society becomes more accustomed and reliant on virtual meetings, accident victims are realizing that the key is hiring the best personal injury lawyer and law firm for them rather than defaulting to one simply because, according to Google, they have a sign down the street.
At Thomson Rogers, we have just one large downtown Bay Street office, which is intentionally within close walking distance to the Toronto Courthouse where many of our personal injury trials are held. But now trials are being held ‘virtually’ such that you can be in Court from anywhere.
Those technological courtroom advances should allow for improved virtual attendances at day-to-day motions and with other litigation aspects, like discoveries and mediations, making it easier than ever to effectively and efficiently help accident victims throughout Ontario.
Over our firm’s 80-year history, we have represented accident victims from all across Ontario including remote areas of the province (for example, we represented hundreds of Aboriginal residential school survivors with hearings often on reserves and in remote communities).
Despite our downtown Toronto presence, we pride ourselves on having an active presence in all local communities throughout Ontario, including having long standing working relationships with local providers and with the supporting local charitable organizations.
At Thomson Rogers we have spent decades assisting thousands of injured Ontario accident victims. Thomson Rogers offers free consultations so please feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are here to help.
Darcy Merkur is a highly regarded Ontario trauma lawyer helping accident victims such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, who have sustained catastrophic injuries.
Darcy is the first lawyer in Canada to be qualified as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist by the Brain Injury Association of America. In addition, Darcy has been recognized as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario, is listed in peer-reviewed publications – Lexpert® and The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, is ranked AV pre-eminent in Martindale-Hubbell ® and is a partner at Thomson Rogers, one of Canada’s Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms as selected by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
Darcy can be reached at 416-868-3176 or by EMAIL.