Since mid-March, Canada was under an unprecedented lockdown due to COVID-19. Restrictions are now being lessened and the majority of Ontario is entering Stage 3, allowing most businesses to re-open with health measures in place. However, despite these efforts, most people are still exceedingly cautious.
The pandemic has affected daily life and the legal profession in general. The cancellation of in-person meetings and the suspension of civil trials and motions has impacted personal injury lawsuits.
If you are recovering from an injury and are concerned about how this affects your claim, our legal team is prepared to help and answer any questions you may have about the legal process in a free consultation. Below, we outline the different ways COVID-19 has affected personal injury litigation cases in Ontario.
Suspension of Limitation Periods
Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Ontario government has suspended all limitation periods and litigation and other dispute-oriented time periods for at least 90 days. This applies to the general two-year limitation period that personal injury victims have to file a lawsuit, which has been temporarily suspended retroactive to March 16, 2020.
However, lawsuits can still be brought forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our law office continues to file claims electronically on behalf of our clients. The suspension has significantly delayed proceedings as courts are unable to hear the majority of non-urgent matters until further notice.
Firm founder Greg Monforton has been publicly supporting an initiative to eliminate jury trials in Ontario courts to avoid more delays as cases can be tried online and remotely before a single judge.
There have also been significant delays in obtaining medical records or scheduling assessments. Although Ontario has allowed health care providers to return to work after meeting health and safety guidelines, this does not mean that patients are being seen right away.
Many medical assessments required by insurance companies were put on hold or rescheduled until it was safe to do so. This has caused a delay in resolving cases because a report is often required to properly access and settle a claim.
Examinations for Discovery and Mediation
An examination for discovery allows lawyers from both sides to question all the parties involved in the case under oath. This procedure is almost always in-person. A mediation is mostly mandatory in Ontario and typically takes place after discoveries have been completed. The parties meet with a neutral third person, a mediator, to help them settle and resolve the dispute out of court.
Due to COVID-19, examinations for discovery and/or mediations have either been cancelled, postponed or are being conducted virtually using video conferencing. Video conferencing is a useful tool that could help settle a personal injury case quicker rather than having to wait for an in-person meeting.
If all parties involved can agree to conduct an examination for discovery or case mediation through video conferencing, this part of the legal process can still continue during the pandemic.
Get the Legal Help You Need Today
Greg Monforton & Partners has implemented several strategies to assist our clients during these uncertain times. We continue to offer electronic signups without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. You can submit a free case evaluation form on our site and receive a callback shortly. Our lawyers are also available to chat online.
An initial consultation with us is free and our legal services are provided at no up front cost to you. We only receive payment if we help you obtain compensation at the end of the legal process.
Call today to get started. Ph: (866) 320-4770.