Helping With The Hurt
Personal injury lawyer Sheila P. Marcantonio is committed to supporting her clients when they need it most.
BY SCOTT LESLIE
Some people feel blessed knowing they have gone their whole life without running into a serious illness or accident—until the unexpected happens.
One wrong step on a stretch of icy pavement can have major repercussions on your life, whether it is a long hospital stay, a loss of income, a crippling condition or worse. It is exactly this kind of unexpected experience, which could leave any normal person feeling lost, frustrated and discouraged.
Fortunately, this is a scenario where Sheila P. Marcantonio shines and she can lend a helping hand.
As a personal injury lawyer and an Associate at Lancaster Brooks & Welch LLP, Sheila has spent her entire career looking after the needs of people who are injured, or taken advantage of by unscrupulous parties.
In her line of work, Sheila specializes in several types of personal injury cases including motor vehicle accidents, dog attacks, slips and falls, and catastrophic injuries and fatalities. She also deals with short and long-term disability matters.
Whether a serious car crash or a bite by a strange dog causes the injury, Sheila says many of her clients feel overwhelmed by the suddenness of their situation. Reasonable people do not plan for accidents—or how they have the potential to affect the quality of one’s life and the lives of those they care about most.
“It can happen right out of the blue,” she explains, “and most people are not prepared to deal with it. Most people do not realize what it is like to have something like whiplash for instance. They wake up the next day and can’t even lift their head off the pillow. Their life and the lives of their loved ones may be permanently changed.”
Sheila goes to great lengths to serve her clients. For instance, if it is too hard for them to come to her office, she will come right to the client, whether that means consulting with them at their home or in the hospital.
Sheila says the first steps in dealing with a client are critical.
“When I first meet them at the hospital, they’re just overwhelmed,” she explains. “I try not to give them too much information at first. I just reassure them. I say: ’We’ll take care of everything and take all the calls from the insurance company. You just worry about getting better.’”
Over a 30-year career, Sheila has always been a firm believer in “keeping it simple” with a client. In many cases, people do not understand how the system works and are dubious about lawyers because their only experience is watching them on TV. That is why Sheila does her best to clear up misconceptions and talks in layman’s terms so she can quickly set a client’s mind at ease.
Sheila prides herself on being available for her clients 24/7 and insists on telling them she can be reached by phone or email night or day. Sheila feels that little things like these are a critical way to comfort a client and take their fears away.
“I want them to know—they are not alone,” she says. “People aren’t used to having pain. They may find it hard to sleep and they can get depressed about their situation. I can’t change their pain—but I can try to alleviate some of the worry.”
A History of Caring
Sheila has had a passion for caring for people throughout her career. Originally hailing from St. George, Ontario, she attended the University of Ottawa from 1979 to 1981, and was later admitted to the University of Western Ontario where she obtained her law degree in 1984.
Sheila officially began her law career in St. Catharines in 1986, practicing personal injury law, and has come to know the Niagara Region extremely well. Since that time, Sheila has seen a great variety of cases and is regarded as one of the most successful lawyers in Niagara, fiercely defending the rights of her clients. Sheila began practising personal injury law with Lancaster, Brooks & Welch LLP in 2006.
Established in 1882, Lancaster, Brooks & Welch is Niagara’s oldest law firm and one of the largest in the region. As a full service firm, Lancaster, Brooks & Welch is set up to assist clients with their every legal need—everything from estates and wills to mediation and arbitration to administrative law, labour and employment law, real estate law, family law and personal injury law.
Sheila says one of her firm’s biggest strengths is its strong network of connections, particularly in the local health care field. With that network, Sheila and her associates can make sure their clients are directed to the right medical professionals and receive the best quality treatment available.
“Some people try going to the big law firms in places like Toronto or Oakville,” Sheila says, “but these firms don’t know Niagara like we do. We know the community, and how the system works here. We know all the doctors and can make sure our clients get looked after properly.”
Sometimes when an incident occurs, Sheila will have to meet an injured party outside of Niagara’s borders, and that can mean travelling to a place like London or Ottawa. Some personal injury lawyers would hand a task like this off to a junior lawyer or law student—but not Sheila. She wants to be there for people so she can serve them personally.
“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years now,” she explains. “I try to help people and give them the best possible advice. That’s part of my job.”
It is all about making a firm commitment to her client—and keeping it. BL
For more information, Sheila P. Marcantonio can be reached at 905.646.1177. Lancaster, Brooks & Welch have two locations in the Niagara Region to help serve you. Please visit www.lbwlawyers.com for details.