Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Workplace Safety Lawyer

Workplace Safety and Health is a unique area of law and not just any lawyer will do when you’re dealing with a serious matter such as a prosecution. In our experience, we have seen organizations that could have established a successful defence and reduced or avoided large fines and a permanent public record, had they done their homework before selecting their legal counsel.
In the event your organization is charged with an offence under Provincial Workplace Safety and Health regulatory requirements, the employer is guilty until they can prove they’re not. Said another way, the onus is on the employer to establish due diligence.
Therefore, it is imperative that the lawyer you select has experience successfully defending charges in the past and that you will not be their guinea pig. Sad to say we have intervened to remove employers out of this situation more than once. One of the more memorable occurrences was a Winnipeg employer that retained legal counsel after a workplace fatality. Approximately, one week after the incident, the employer had already received a bill for over $5000 of which significant time was spent researches the statutory reporting requirements. It was obvious this lawyer had no experience in Workplace Safety and Health matters.
 Here are some questions to ask: 
  1. How many Workplace Safety & Health related matters / prosecutions have you led? What were the outcomes? How many were successful?
  2. What is your approach to defending prosecutions of this nature? Included in their response should be immediately directing a client solicitor privileged investigation by a trained and experienced safety professional.
  3. Who else will you get involved to help ensure the best outcome for your case? (Don’t prompt, rather see what they have to say. You want to hear things like expert witness, other lawyers in their firm that have knowledge and experience relating to the particulars of your case).
  4. What will the costs be and how much of the case will be handled by your lawyer and how much will be handled by junior lawyers and paralegals. You want your lawyer directing and doing the meat and bones of your case, however involving junior lawyers and paralegals for research and other leg work can reduce your costs.
  5. What is your vision for my case? You want a lawyer that can explain your options and paint a clear vision for the outcome of your case. Goals drive outcomes and the successful resolution of your case is no different.
Once you have retained legal counsel and they have had the opportunity to review the Crown’s disclosure here are some additional questions that should be answered to know that you have a competent lawyer with a solid plan of action: 
  1. How do you plan to defend each charge?
  2. Which charges are you confident you will get stayed and why?
  3. What additional evidence do you require?
  4. Who will be representing the company in court?
The lawyer you hire will be spending your resources and it’s your reputation at stake. Taking the time to do your homework is a good investment.
You can also contact the friendly safety professionals at 1Life to refer you to excellent legal representation with a proven track record. We can also work alongside them to prepare your defence. This not only reduces your costs, but can provide for a more thorough and rigorous defence.

Have questions?  Contact your friendly 1Life Safety Consultants today!    

E:  info@1Lifewss.com  or P: 204-231-LIFE