Personal Injury

Kotak's communications skills put disability claimants at ease

By Staff

When clients first meet Toronto personal injury and disability lawyer Nainesh Kotak, he hopes their first impression of him is that he's a good listener.

“For that first meeting, I don’t say much or take many notes. I tend to sit back and listen to what has happened to this person,” explains Kotak, principal of Kotak Personal Injury Law. “When you treat someone as a fellow human being who is in distress and needs help, I think it makes them very comfortable.”

Over time, Kotak tells that clients discover he’s actually “always been a very good talker” — one of the traits he says helped him realize from an early age that he was destined for a legal career.

“It was around Grade 11 when it dawned on me that this was what I should do,” Kotak says. “I felt my skill set was very suited since I communicated very well, was a strong debater and was good at analyzing situations.

“Coming up with solutions to problems has always been a strength,” he adds.

After his call to the bar in 1994, Kotak was initially drawn to criminal law, successfully handling jury trials after just a couple of years in practice.

“At first, I took whoever came in the door, which meant a number of immigration hearings and criminal work,” Kotak explains.

However, he says his practice began evolving, with more and more people approaching him for help with personal injury matters.

“I found that I really enjoyed helping people who were injured and having a tough time recovering money from their insurers,” he says.

By the turn of the century, litigation against insurance companies had taken over Kotak’s practice, and he has since built himself a reputation in the niche area of disability law, assisting policyholders whose disability claims have been denied.

“People become disabled for a variety of reasons, not just due to car accidents or slips and falls,” Kotak says. “We’re seeing people affected by fibromyalgia, anxiety, and depression. It’s not necessarily related to any specific injury, but they have tremendous hardship in terms of moving on and collecting benefits they are entitled to.

“I’ve taken great satisfaction in successfully representing clients in these cases,” he adds.

Kotak says insurance companies often deny long-term disability claims related to mental health issues because they are "invisible illnesses" that don't necessarily produce physical symptoms.

"The reality is that at some point in their lives, one in five Canadians will have a mental health issue," he says. "You can't X-ray, you can't MRI it. Often employers don't acknowledge the existence of it."

After hearing out his clients’ stories in the initial meeting, Kotak quickly turns his attention to what happens next and how he can help bring about a good solution.

“We will gather information about their case, who the wrongdoer is, and what the remedy should be,” he says, adding that he likes to issue claims quickly.

“Insurance companies usually become entrenched after making a decision to deny coverage,” Kotak says. “We try to set a meditation and examinations quickly so that we can sit down and arrive at a good solution for the client in as expeditious a manner as possible.”

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