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Standard Form Contingency Fee Agreement (SFCFA) Ontario, Canada

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on July 6, 2021

As of July 1, 2021, the Law Society of Ontario (“LSO”) has mandated the use of a Standard Form Contingency Fee Agreement and has enacted new rules governing contingency fee agreements. You can read and download the Standard Form Contingency Fee Agreement developed by the LSO by visiting their website. The key features of the Standard Form Contingency Fee Agreement (“SFCFA”) are outlined below.

The fee that you will pay us for legal services is a percentage of the money you get as a settlement or as an award at trial. The percentage also applies to any amount paid by the other side for costs. Costs is money to help you pay for legal fees but in most cases, costs pay only for a part of a person’s legal expenses.

As of July 1, 2021, we are required to disclose and post on our firm website the maximum contingency fee percentage we charge under the SFCFA which is set out below:

  1. Maximum Fee for Personal Injury Cases including Motor Vehicle Accident, Statutory Accident Benefits, Long-Term Disability, Product Liability, Slip and Fall and other Occupiers’ Liability Cases.

    The maximum fee we charge is 30% of your settlement or trial award including costs, plus HST.
  2. Maximum Fee for Medical Malpractice, Hospital Malpractice, Nursing Negligence, Dental Negligence and other Professional Negligence Cases.

    The maximum fee we charge is 35% of your settlement or trial award including costs, plus HST.

Why is there a difference between car accidents, slip and falls, and general personal injury litigation and the fees charged for medical malpractice litigation?

In our experience, the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits settle out of Court, generally either following the Examination for Discovery, at Mediation, or at Pre-Trial. While there are no precise statistics as to the number of cases which settle without trial, it is our understanding and belief that close to 99% of all personal injury lawsuits settle without a trial. For that reason, and because of the strong likelihood of an out-of-court settlement, our contingency fees for this practice area are less than what they are for medical malpractice cases.

Why are malpractice fees higher?

Medical and Hospital malpractice cases are among the most difficult, expensive and risky types of lawsuits. They involve complex issues of standard of care and causation and, unlike personal injury lawsuits, often go to trial. Law firms retained on behalf of doctors and other medical professionals defend these cases aggressively and take them to trial when they believe the case is defensible. Importantly, and in our experience, the decision by doctors and health care professionals to go to trial is not influenced by economic factors such the very expensive costs involved in going to trial. On the other hand, personal injury lawsuits, which are defended by insurance companies, are much more influenced by the cost of litigation.

As a result, when we accept a medical malpractice retainer, we expect that the case will proceed to trial, or, if it does settle, it will likely settle very close to trial, and only after our Firm has expended tens of thousands of dollars, and often more, on obtaining expert evidence to support your case. For that reason, given the complexity, expertise and expense of litigating these cases and the real risk of their proceeding to trial, the maximum fee that we propose charging is 35%.

Below is an example which will help you understand how fees are calculated in Personal Injury Cases using a percentage of 30% for illustration purposes:

This is a prototypical or basic example. Let’s assume that the case is settled for $100,000, plus costs of $15,000, which can be thought of as a contribution by the defendant(s) towards legal fees, for a total of $115,000. Let’s also assume that the disbursements are $10,000 for a total recovery of $125,000.

  1. Our fee is calculated at 30% of $115,000 for a total of $34,500.
  2. The HST on the fee of $34,500 is $4,485 for a total fee of $38,985.
  3. The disbursements of $10,000 are also payable to our Firm as we have paid for them on your behalf throughout the case.
  4. Therefore, the client will receive $76,015 on this example ($115,000 – $38,985 = $76,015).

What happens if you are unhappy with the account?

Every client in Ontario has the right to have the lawyer’s account assessed or reviewed by an Officer of the Court known as an Assessment Officer.

The assessments, generally, must be done within thirty (30) days of receiving the final account. The assessment office for the City of Toronto is located at:

Superior Court of Justice Toronto Assessment Office
393 University Avenue, 6th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1E6
416-327-5121 
 

Contingency Fees – What you need to know.


If, prior to retaining our firm, you have questions about the fee structure or questions raised by the Law Society Guide, please email us at info@bogoroch.com or call us at 416-599-1700 and we’d be happy to answer your questions.

Our Objective

Our objective is to provide you with access to justice, and if we have the honour of representing you, to pursue your case with persistence, determination and strength no matter how difficult or costly the case may be.

We believe in clear, direct and practical legal advice. We are efficient and effective in bringing about prompt settlements. We believe that it is important for you to always know what is going on with your case. Our lawyers, law clerks and assistants are in touch with you by email or phone or Zoom on a regular basis. As much as we can, we aim to relieve and reduce the stress you have coping with your injuries.

Bogoroch & Associates LLP is dedicated to providing access to justice to all those who suffer injury as a result of the wrongful actions of others. Going to Court, however, can seem intimidating, difficult, time consuming, and, most importantly, expensive. It can make obtaining access to justice seem unattainable for all except the wealthy.

To ensure justice is available to all, we at Bogoroch & Associates LLP accept cases on a contingency fee basisWhat does that mean for the client? A contingency fee agreement means that we will wait to get paid until after your case is concluded, and we will be paid only if you receive money either as a result of a negotiated settlement or an award at trial. If you lose your case, you do not pay any legal fees to us.

If we agree to take on your case, we don’t require any upfront payments for disbursements. Disbursements are payments for items and services from third parties such as court filing fees, the services of expert witnesses and medical records. We cover the cost of disbursements necessary to support your case for as long as we are your lawyers.

If you have been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall, or if you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice or wrongfully denied disability benefits, contact our personal injury lawyers today. Consultations are free and we would be honored to help you. Though Toronto based, we provide legal services across Canada.

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
Personal Injury Claims Blawg

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