Canadian Lawyer

July 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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32 BUSINESS STRATEGY TOP PERSONAL INJURY BOUTIQUES SPECIAL REPORT A dam Little, partner at Oatley Vigmond LLP, calls it "a sudden modernization of personal injury law," pointing to the changes that the legal system is now experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Much of this modernization has been a long time coming", he says, and is welcomed by lawyers, clients, and judges alike. He points to virtual hearings and meetings and the greater use of electronic documents as just some of the benefits of having a pandemic give a much- needed jolt to the system. Oatley Vigmond was founded in 2002. The firm has offices in Toronto and Barrie, as well as serving communities outside of the GTA. Today, the firm has six partners, who are recognized as leaders in the field of personal injury law. Oatley Vigmond also has acci- dent benefits specialists, who come from the ranks of insurance adjusters. They manage clients' (no-fault) statutory accident bene- fits and arrange for rehabilitation experts to provide treatment, allowing clients to focus on recovery. The firm is well versed in all facets of personal injury law, from motor vehicle accidents to product liability and medical malpractice. Oatley Vigmond partner Brian Cameron says he is worried how the pandemic has bogged down an already overburdened legal system as many trials have been put over during various lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. He also wants plaintiffs to not feel pres- sured to settle for less because of long delays. "You only get one shot," he says, "so you want to do it right and get a just award or settlement". Fortunately, Little explains, trials by Zoom are back on track (more or less), and jury notices are being struck so that cases can proceed with a judge alone and no jury. While lawyers for plaintiffs in motor vehicle accidents are probably happy there are no jury trials now ( juries are seen as leaning towards the insurance company), Little believes in some cases, such as medical malpractice, it's important that a jury of peers and members of the community hear evidence to make deci- sions on liability and causation. Cameron says he is also worried about clients when it comes to statutory accident benefits in Ontario. Cameron is concerned reductions made five years ago on the maximum amount paid out in SABS, to $1 million from $2 million "can be gone very quickly" when you factor in all the rehab bills that need to be paid for catas- trophic injuries. "It will be interesting to see what happens in the future of personal injury trials, but we can confidently say Oatley Vigmond will be part of shaping the new landscape." 20 Number of lawyers 75 Number of support staff 6 Number of partners 2002 When firm was founded OATLEY VIGMOND LLP AT A GLANCE Main areas of personal injury practice: personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries OATLEY VIGMOND LLP Kevin Henderson, partner, Robert Durante, partner, James Vigmond, founding partner, Brian Cameron, partner, Troy Lehman, partner, Adam Little, partner Email: Telephone: 1-866-269-2481 Website: Oatley Vigmond LLP

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