The decision to make a claim for compensation is a personal one.
The first thing you should consider is what kind of claim you would make. The answer will depend on your experiences at Woodlands and your ability to prove that you suffered one (or more) of the injuries listed in the Settlement Agreement (sexual, physical or emotional/psychological) on or after August 1, 1974.
Many kinds of proof can be used, including documents from Woodlands’ files, sworn statements from you, your family members, friends or witnesses, expert reports and current medical records. If you hire a lawyer, he/she can help you obtain these documents.
When making your claim, legal arguments should be used to establish that a “duty of care” existed and that “the standard of care” was breached. These are complicated legal concepts that lawyers can help with by developing legal arguments and finding evidence to support your position.
The second thing to consider is whether to make a presentation to the Adjudicator in person. If you decide to do this, your presentation will be held in a private setting where the Adjudicator may ask you questions. This is an important decision and you may wish to discuss this with your lawyer.
While a provincial government representative is entitled to be at your presentation, she or he is not allowed to ask you any questions (although they may give a list of suggested questions for the Adjudicator to ask you). Given that this can be an emotional experience, a psychologist will be available (at no charge) to provide support during your presentation as well as 1 hour before and 1 hour after your presentation.
The third thing to consider is whether to hire a lawyer to help make your claim. As mentioned above, lawyers assist with preparing your claim. In addition, the Settlement Agreement allows people who are represented by lawyers to negotiate directly with the Province about the amount of compensation payable (avoiding going before the Adjudicator).
If the Province and your lawyer can agree to an amount, then the Adjudicator will issue an award for that amount.