How long does a personal injury lawsuit take in Ontario?
After an accident, your world is turned upside down. You may have lost a loved one or you may be in pain and unable to do some everyday tasks you once could. You probably have a million questions that need to be answered.
A can help answer any questions you may have that relate to Ontario accidents, personal injury, accident benefits, insurance claims, medical specialists, services available and more …
Most people who come to me want to know: how their case will proceed, how long it will take and what is the maximum compensation they are entitled to in Ontario.
There is no one answer to these questions but after reviewing all the facts in your case, a personal injury lawyer can best give you an idea of what course to take and what compensation you are entitled to.
What happens in a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario?
Shortly after you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will notify the defendant (i.e. the person’s insurance company who you plan to sue) that you intend to file a claim.
Typically, the insurance company will try to negotiate directly with you and hope that a personal injury lawyer does not become involved.
The reason for this is that typically injury lawyers can negotiate a much larger settlement amount in compensation.
They know how to develop a personal injury case to show not only what compensation you need now but what compensation you will need 20 years from now, as the result of an accident.
If the insurance company does not offer you a reasonable amount, your lawyer will commence the lawsuit. This is done by filing a document called a “Statement of Claim” with the Court office and then serving the defendant with the Statement of Claim.
The insurance company generally has their own lawyers and will in turn file a “Statement of Defence”.
Your lawyer and the representative for the insurance company then exchange documents and proceed to “examinations for discovery”.
At the examinations for discovery, each side is asked questions about the accident by the other party’s lawyer.
Your lawyer should try and arrange medical examinations for you. The insurance company is also entitled to have you seen by any medical professionals it chooses, although there are limits on this right. This is not something you should be afraid of; don’t worry.
Your lawyer and the insurance company can offer settlement compensation at any point and your case can be resolved at any given moment. A lot of lawsuits are settled at a “mediation”.
A mediation in Ontario is an attempt to settle the case. Your lawyer and the insurance company will agree upon the mediator they want to help reach a settlement amount in the case.
A few months before trial, there will also be a “pre-trial” meeting.
The pre-trial meeting is a venue, whereby an Ontario judge can offer input to your lawyer, as well as the lawyer for the insurance company. Typically, the Ontario judge will offer their opinions in regard to the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Oftentimes, cases settle at, or shortly after, the pre-trial meeting. Most injury lawsuits are settled before trial.
However, some lawsuits do not settle and you will be given a trial date. The unsuccessful party at trial can appeal the trial decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
How long does a personal injury lawsuit in Ontario take to resolve?
The length of time it takes to resolve a personal injury lawsuit depends on many factors:
- How quickly you respond to your lawyer’s requests for information and documents;
- If the insurance company is cooperative;
- How long it takes for your doctors to provide a report as to what the long term implications of your personal injuries will be;
- How much time it takes to prepare and receive reports from doctors, other health professionals and other institutions;
- How long it takes for the defence lawyer to arrange various defence medical examinations: and
- How long it takes to obtain a trial date in Ontario. The sooner you commence your lawsuit, the better.
The most important thing you need to do after an accident is recover and rebuild. You will need help and support. Ask for help from friends and family. They are for you. Don’t worry about your lawsuit. Your lawyer will do that for you.
They will represent you and fight on your behalf to ensure that you get everything you need and are entitled to. These are some of the most difficult and stressful times of your life; focus on yourself, family, friends and recovery. By hiring one of the best Ontario personal injury lawyers, you can concentrate on your recovery.
Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. David understands, he cares and he is here to help.
mobile (613) 978-9549 / (613) 237-4922 ext.203