What Are the Steps in an Ontario Personal Injury Lawsuit?

wooden blocks on blue wallIf you have suffered a personal injury due to another’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation. The problem is the legal process can be complex and confusing to try to manage on your own.

That is why it is in your best interest to have an experienced lawyer on your side, as he or she can guide you through all the steps in the legal process. Greg Monforton & Partners discusses the steps involved in an Ontario personal injury lawsuit below.

Our legal team has helped many injured victims and their loved ones seek the maximum compensation possible for their damages. We have recovered more than $300 million in compensation for our clients.

Our initial consultations come at no cost, risk or obligation to you. If you have a viable case and decide to hire our firm, we charge zero upfront fees for our services. We only get paid if you obtain a recovery.

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Fact Finding and Legal Research

When you meet with an injury lawyer, he or she will review all of the facts surrounding how the accident happened and the types of injuries you suffered. It is important to bring any documents relevant to your case to this meeting. These documents could include a copy of the police/accident report, photos of the accident scene and any visible injuries and personal property damage, as well as a copy of your medical records and medical bills.

If there were any witnesses present at the time of the accident, bring in witness statements and their contact information. Your insurance information will also play a big part in your personal injury lawsuit, whether you are in communication with your own insurer or the at-fault party’s insurance company.

The information you bring can help your lawyer gain a better understanding of your situation and the merits of your claim. Consultations at our firm are free and there is no obligation to pursue legal action, so there is no risk in meeting with us.

Preparation and Exchange of Pleadings

A lawsuit starts with a formal pleadings exchange between both parties. The basic pleadings in an Ontario personal injury case include a statement of claim and a statement of defence.

Statement of Claim

The statement of claim is written and prepared by your injury lawyer on behalf of you (the plaintiff) and served to the party responsible for causing your injuries (the defendant).

The statement of claim includes the names of all parties, the amount of compensation you are claiming for the accident and the specific facts that support your entitlement to that compensation for the damages you suffered.

Statement of Defence

Once the statement of claim is sent to the other party, generally the lawyer for the defendant or the at-fault party’s insurance company (in the event of a crash) will respond with a statement of defence.

Your lawyer will review the facts they provide and advise you of the best way to proceed. Your lawyer may prepare a final pleading to reply to any factual contentions or defences raised by the defendant.

After the exchange of pleadings, the parties may decide to participate in discovery.

Evidence Exchanged Through Discovery

During discovery, your injury lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will have the chance to exchange documents and other evidence relevant to your claim against the defendant and the defences raised in the statement of defence. These documents may include medical records and work records if you are claiming loss of income. Your lawyer will be able to request these documents on your behalf.

Once evidence has been exchanged, an oral examination will happen where each party is questioned by the opposing party. Oral examinations are conducted under oath and transcribed by a court reporter.  There is also no judge present at these examinations. Your lawyer will prepare you to testify under oath.

Mediation Process

Ontario civil cases, including personal injury lawsuits, must go through the mediation process before the court provides a trial date. Mediation is an informal meeting intended to facilitate settlements. Both parties come together to see if a case can be resolved outside of court.

Mediation is facilitated by a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator is someone both parties and their lawyers have agreed on. Each party presents the facts and evidence supporting their position to the mediator. Unlike a judge, a mediator cannot make any legal decisions. A mediator helps both parties explore their issues and clear up any misunderstandings to try and resolve the dispute.

Pre-Trial Conference

If you and the other party cannot reach a settlement through mediation, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer must attend a pre-trial conference (typically three to six months before your trial).

During a pre-trial conference, each party’s lawyers will speak with a judge about any issues related to the trial and further explore potentially resolving the claim through a negotiated settlement. The judge will likely provide his or her opinion of the case, which may be useful in coming to a resolution.

It is important to note that many of the steps involved in a personal injury lawsuit may overlap or be interrupted by motions. Your lawyer will guide you throughout this process, so you know what to expect.

Going to Trial

If a settlement is not reached, it may be necessary to have the case go to trial. A judge or a jury will hear the evidence both your injury lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer present. After the evidence has been presented in court, the judge or jury will render a verdict in favor of you or the other party.

If the verdict is unfavorable, you may have the right to appeal the decision. It is important to note, however, that many civil trials in Ontario have been put on hold or significantly delayed due to COVID-19, causing a backlog of cases. Ontario will be spending millions to move the cases through the system.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

Working with an experienced lawyer may improve your chances of obtaining just compensation for your claim. The Windsor-based personal injury lawyers at our firm have many decades of experience successfully handling claims on behalf of injury victims throughout Ontario.

We are ready to review your situation and answer any questions you may have about the legal process during a free initial consultation. This meeting comes with no obligation to retain our services, but if you do, we charge nothing up front. We are not paid unless we help you recover compensation.

Find Out If You Have a Case: (866) 320-4770.