Marijuana: A Miracle Pain Solution

While we wait to see what the government is going to do with legalizing marijuana (or more properly cannabis) many of my clients with chronic pain are finding treatment with medical cannabis very helpful. The stigma attached to using cannabis will probably take decades to fade away, so that is something my clients think long and hard about before taking the plunge. Medical cannabis is very different from cannabis used for recreational purposes. Research into the uses of various strains of the plant have revealed clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of this as medicine for treating chronic pain, seizures, migraines, sleep disturbance, neck and back pain including sciatica, and neuropathic pain.

I’ve started working with a group called Allevio Pain Management Clinic. Interestingly, the company was started by a man whose mother suffered from chronic pain. Cannabis was suggested as a way to control the pain while she awaited neck surgery, but the family doctor refused to prescribe it saying there was no research to prove that it worked. So he started the company and did the research!

Allevio has doctors on staff with expertise in pain management who will re-view your medical records, examine you and, where appropriate, prescribe the correct cannabis strain or mixture to treat your individual symptoms. Often this includes both edibles (ingredients you can bake into cookies for example) and oils. Smoking cannabis is discouraged for obvious reasons, but sometimes vaping is the most effective delivery system.

Clients on high levels of pain medicine find that once they use medicinal cannabis and get better rest they wean themselves off the pills and their overall health improves. The doctors prescribing the medicine follow up with my clients and monitor the effective-ness of the medicine. This helps immensely with the trial defence strategy of attacking clients’ credibility and trying to simply paint them as “pot heads”

Ultimately, I hope the use of cannabis will gain some respect with its legalization, but in the meantime I am using the research conducted by Allevio to access what can be a miracle solution for chronic pain. Too bad it doesn’t give you the traditional “high” as well!

Until next time! —Siona

Behind Closed Doors

“Only lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt for jury duty.” —George Bernard Shaw

I enjoy that quote because it’s so true! Lawyers can’t be on a Jury but the rest of Ontarians have few excuses to refuse to serve. Once again the Ontario Government is looking at whether or not Civil Trials should include Juries. A Jury is supposed to be made up of your peers from your community.

Originally the Jury was made up of the witnesses who would hear what they each had to contribute to the evidence and then reach a consensus. So the Jury members were from your community and they usually knew you and the party you were suing. Their subjective and personal knowledge was freely utilized.

Over time Juries became drawn from the community at large and were expected to be objective so witnesses gave evidence before the Jury and they reached an independent decision. The problem with Juries now is that there are so many rules of evidence that exclude relevant information that the Juries are making decisions in the dark.

In my opinion the worst twisting of reality comes from the inability to tell the Jury whether or not the defendant has insurance. The theory is that if a Jury knows there is insurance they will grant higher awards to the Plaintiff. That’s a gift to the defence insurance company. Clearly that conflicts with the mandatory laws that require insurance and leaves the Jury confused. If they can be trusted to make final decisions in complicated litigation why can’t they be trusted to assess the case regardless of whether or not there is insurance?

I would love to know what Juries discuss behind those closed doors! Instead of relying on the fact that Jurors seem to like my Courtroom style it would be much more comforting to know what the Jurors thought of the evidence, my clients, my opponents and the process. Frustratingly I am not allowed to ask them unless they approach me first. They are usually long gone from the Court house by the time I am free to leave the Court room! So if you ever get the chance to give me the inside scoop please do.

Until next time,


Oh, Canada!

Happy Birthday Canada! Isn’t it amazing to think Canada is 150 years old? Quite an accomplishment to be sure but compared to countries like Great Britain we are a young country.

Canada has always welcomed immigrants from places like Great Britain, including myself. I was born in Great Britain and I’m 100% Scottish. I joke about being the stereotypical Scot — cheap with my money, stubborn and with a taste for Scotch — but in many ways that’s very apt.

I developed a taste for Scotch when my oldest son was at the University of Edinburgh. The stubborn streak was there from birth. I prefer to think that I’m careful with my money as opposed to cheap but that’s really just putting a nicer spin on it. I’m good at creative ways to describe things!

Whatever your strong character traits are, they usually work well in one sphere of life and are a distinct disadvantage in another. Being stubborn serves me very well in the practice of law. You need a healthy ego and determination to be successful arguing against opposing lawyers at trial. That’s part of why my old advertising line “Ever try arguing with a woman?” was perfect for me. Now the billboards say “We love arguing with insurance companies” which is my daily reality.

Fortunately Scots are also known for their disparaging sense of humor and humor can bridge the gap in so many disputes. I love legal humor. When I think I’ve heard it all someone comes up with one I missed. If you know a good one tell me! (My email is

There are bizarre laws left on the books too which are equally entertaining. Did you know one law bans visitors from passing a flask of whiskey through cell bars? Or that some cities have banned playing hockey on the street? I pity the by-law officer trying to enforce that one against Canadians. Furthermore a city can make all able-bodied males who own a shovel come out and shovel the roads in a snow storm. At least in Niagara they can then play hockey!

Until next time,


Doing Great Work With OTLA

I’m happy to say I have been re-elected to the Board of Directors at the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. It’s another 3 year commitment. I enjoy being on the Board. The work is so important and I really know we are helping influence the future!

The goal is always to improve the laws so that victims of car accidents, slip and falls etc. can recover financially and emotionally. Plus my fellow Directors all have a great sense of humor so that doesn’t hurt.

I’m quite proud of the work done by the OTLA Board. We are an organization of exclusively Plaintiff lawyers and it’s a surprisingly cooperative and selfless group.

Listen, I am well aware that no one likes lawyers in general but lately our reputation in the news is just getting worse and worse. Scandals cross the pages of the newspapers and stories of overbilling, lying in advertising and the “ambulance chaser” stereotype abounds. We are insulated from the worst of it down here but it’s a big problem in Toronto and we are starting to see Toronto firms advertising here. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to drive all the way to Toronto for advice when there are plenty of good personal injury lawyer’s right here.

The vast majority of personal injury lawyers are just like me. They want to take care of their clients. Our job is to take the stress off and take responsibility for your problems and that isn’t always easy. Despite the challenges, and the hits to lawyer’s reputations, I hope that our clients at least recognize that we aren’t the bad apples. Try to stick up for us next time you hear lawyers getting trashed at your neighborhood bar!

OTLA maintains a confidential Listserve where experienced lawyers like myself answer questions and actively mentor our membership, we do charitable work, promote and hand out bike helmets, maintain a website with lots of useful advice and help for the public and we provide continuing education for lawyers.

I’m co-Chairing the fall conference and already dreading the public speaking aspect of that. Isn’t it funny how you can be perfectly confident and calm in a Court room but absolutely panicked at the thought of speaking before hundreds of lawyers? Wish me luck! Here’s hoping I at least get the names right!

Here’s What’s Up With Me... What’s Up With You?

Photo by dosecreative/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by dosecreative/iStock / Getty Images

I’m pleased to introduce our new monthly newsletter.  Just a friendly reminder that I’m still here if you need me.  I get so involved in your lives while we are in litigation and I have never managed to stop wondering what happened to all of you after it finishes!  Linda and I are always thrilled when someone drops by to update us. Over the years I’ve always worked for clients who I like and enjoy so I thought I’d tell you what’s up with me and maybe if you get a chance you could let me know how you are too.  

My oldest son is now a lawyer and working in Hamilton.  My next son is getting his law degree too.  My youngest has finished his degree at Brock and is taking a music degree so they are all still making me a proud Mom.  I’ve taken up Horseback riding, believe it or not, and love it.  It’s the only exercise I’ve ever found that doesn’t feel like exercise.  Maybe because I’m just concentrating on trying not to fall off!   

Some of you may not know that I’ve moved up to the 9th floor in the same building.  I also opened up St Catharines Mediation Services right next door.  Now when I go to Mediations it’s literally steps away!  Much easier and less stressful for clients.  I thought of all of you when I set it up.  There are comfortable chairs, ice packs in the fridge, a sofa to lay down on and lots of water bottles and coffee available to help keep everyone going.  

I hope you enjoy this newsletter but if you would rather not receive them please just let me know.  My email is still and the phone number is 905 346 5055.

Top 5 Reasons To Contact Sullivan Injury Law

1) We Love Arguing With Insurance Companies!

Did you know that if you file a personal injury claim, chances are you will be dealing with an insurance company and not the person who hurt you? In fact, if your injury claim is successful, it is that person’s insurance company that will pay you compensation.

In Ontario, car owners are obligated by law to purchase insurance. This ensures that innocent accident victims get compensated and owners don’t have to pay out of their own pockets when they accidentally hurt someone. That’s also why most people buy property insurance, which covers them if they accidentally hurt someone on their property.

If you are seriously injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, the purpose of their insurance is to provide you with fair compensation and protect them from out of pocket expenses. It’s win-win.

Insurance companies are businesses, so naturally they want to make profit. The less compensation they pay you, the more money they keep for themselves. We love negotiating with insurance companies – we’re good at it! We get our clients the compensation they deserve and save them a great deal of time and stress in the process.

2) We Value Relationships

Our clients are people, not files. If we take on your case it’s because we enjoyed getting to know you and your story when we met, and we want to help you. We enjoy knowing we have eased your mind and will happily take on the stress for you.     

If you become a client of Sullivan Injury Law, we will take the time to meet with you in person, listen to your concerns, and give straightforward answers. We take care of the legal work and keep you informed so you can focus on your health and getting your life back. Our clients have described us as “approachable”, “caring”, and “kind”.

3) We’ve Been “Speaking Insurance” For Over 30 Years

It’s important that the lawyer you hire has experience handling personal injury claims, and there are reasons why. First, lawyers have reputations among people working in the personal injury field – insurance adjusters, defence lawyers, judges, and even juries. You want to hire a lawyer who is perceived as credible so that your case is taken seriously.

Second, your lawyer will make dozens of decisions about risk, timing, and value while handling your case. It takes a lot of confidence based on experience to make the right decisions that will position you for fair and rightful compensation.

Siona Sullivan, the namesake of our firm, has been helping people with serious injuries and families who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents for over 30 years.

4) We Win More Suits Than We Have In Our Closets

That’s our way of saying that at Sullivan Injury Law, we’re known for our tenacity and success (and sense of humour! Sometimes laughter is the best medicine).

Siona Sullivan’s experience goes beyond settling cases – she knows how to win trials in front of judges and juries. Most cases never need to go to trial, but with three decades of trial experience we know how to help you get the best possible compensation and regain financial health. If we don’t settle or win your case, you don’t pay legal fees – that’s our fee guarantee.

5) The First Meeting Is Always Free

We offer no-pressure free meetings for people who have been seriously injured in car, slip and fall, dog bite, and other accidents in the Niagara region. This is an opportunity for you to get answers to your questions and explore whether we’re the right law firm for you. It’s also an opportunity for us to collect information about your case to see if we can help you. It’s our mission to provide a positive experience to everyone who consults and hires us.

Let Us Help You Get Your Life Back

To schedule your first, free meeting, call (905) 346-5055

or complete the web form on our Contact page.

We look forward to meeting you.