Personal Injury Claims in Ontario: Your Personal Lawsuit Rights
Mishaps are commonplace despite all the preparations and safety precautions put in place to avoid any such incidents to happen. While there may be some cases that involve negligence or carelessness, the majority of the time, these situations are not intentional. However, a lawsuit for personal injury can still occur.
You can never take away the pain and confusion that you’ll experience due to the accident. Moreover, the damages, medical expenses, and lost earnings can be too overwhelming.
Understanding how personal injury claims works can help you perform the appropriate actions to take. There are laws in Ontario that cover claims for any type of lawsuit, personal injury claims, and other lawsuits surrounding the personal injury. A personal injury lawyer can help you with your case.
What is a personal injury lawsuit?
Personal injury is an injury as a result of an accident that’s causing you suffering, pain, and a loss of income. In most cases, this is caused by negligence by one person, an organization, or the government. Negligence is when the standard of care is not met, and it causes an accident resulting in an injury of a person or a group of people.
When this happens, you can file a personal injury claim for compensation on damages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and/or loss of income. These things are not clear a hundred percent of the time. That is why it’s also important to know your rights when filing for a lawsuit.
Know your rights
The ultimate objective of personal injury lawsuits is to restore somebody so they can be economically whole again. This could be trying to compensate them to a reasonable degree of the impact caused by the accident. Or bringing them back again to the same position financially had the accident didn’t occur.
That said, you can start a lawsuit against an individual, business, organization, or government that caused you financial loss or injury as a result of an accident. Depending on the extent of the damages, the claim may be filed under the Small Claims Court if the monetary value is less than $35,000.
However, it’s also important to know that the Ministry of the Attorney General has put in place the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program in the cities of Toronto and Ottawa. This program is designed to help both parties settle the case before deciding to proceed to trial.
The basics of a personal injury lawsuit
Personal injury claims allow you to get compensated on the damages, injuries, expenses, and loss of income you incurred as a result of an accident. It could be due to a vehicle accident, slipping or falling on a sidewalk or a store premises, or you got accidentally hurt by an individual.
There are key fundamental actions that you will need to take to exercise your rights to file for personal injury claims. These are the following:
1. Gather evidence
All information that will help establish the other party’s negligence that resulted in your injury is crucial. This can range from witnesses, photographs, police reports, and medical records. Any other forms of evidence must be collected and prepared to adequately substantiate the negligence as well as the extent of the damages you suffered. Remember to inform your insurance company regarding everything you have.
2. Hire a lawyer
Perhaps one of the most difficult to do is finding the right personal injury lawyer to represent you in the lawsuit. You don’t just hire the first lawyer you see in an advertisement. It’s extremely important to do some research and understand the background of the law firm and their injury lawyers. While the Law Society of Ontario provides rules and guidance when hiring a lawyer, it’s best if you can do some extra steps, such as:
- Reading reviews about the firm. (Most offer a free consultation)
- Consulting with trusted legal award platforms.
- Asking friends and family.
- Meeting with the lawyer personally before making a decision.
3. Assess your claim
Another question that is usually left unanswered when going through a personal injury claims lawsuit is the amount of money you’re going to receive. While your lawyer may be able to help you establish an amount, it’s not at all straightforward. There’s a lot of factors that play into the final amount and most often, these factors don’t surface immediately.
It’s best to work with your lawyer to understand your disposition before and after the accident. To make a complete assessment of the claim, your lawyer should have a complete understanding of the liability and damages surrounding your case.
4. Start the personal injury lawsuit
Lawsuits must commence within two years from the date of the accident or from when the injury took place. This is what you call a limitation period. After that period of time, you will lose your right to sue.
It’s important to start the lawsuit right away and not wait for two years. After all the preparations have been done, your lawyer will work with you to issue a Statement of Claim against the defendant. This will initiate the lawsuit. The defendant on the other hand will then issue a Statement of Defence.
Mediation is an opportunity for both parties to attempt to resolve the case without going through a trial. This enables the defendant to work with you to agree on a settlement. The settlement could be for a specific amount of money for pain and suffering or personal injury coverage. This is covered in the Ontario Mandatory Mediation Program.
In Toronto and Ottawa, this program is mandatory and is required before the Court will provide you with a trial date. The mediation can be done in an office where you can meet face to face with the defendant. A court reporter must be present. Today, remote mediation through videoconference is also possible.
Your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will need to prepare and submit a mediation memorandum prior to the meeting. These written memos or ‘briefs’ should be provided to you and the defendant in advance.
After going through the mediation process, the registration of the trial, the pre-trial, and the official trial will take place. The trial is the natural endpoint of the case and must be settled before the Court. The trial will take place for several days or weeks—all dependent on the complexity of the case as well as the evidence available and witnesses willing to participate.
A jury will hear personal injury cases instead of a judge. This is when your lawyer will have to use its resources and expertise to successfully advance your claim and obtain the best verdict and/or compensation of the injury you suffered. Personal injury cases are complex cases, which will require your lawyer adequate proof and evidence as well as expertise in the personal injury claims process.
Conclusion: Choosing an Injury Lawyer
Your awareness of the process of the lawsuit, personal injury claims, and your personal lawsuit rights are critical for a successful civil lawsuit. If you ever find yourself in need of one, consider Pourgol Law as your personal injury lawyer in the Toronto area. This will also help you find the right lawyer to represent you in the case and determine his expertise and resources to achieve the best settlement possible. Reach out to your law experts by contacting us today.