If you have suffered a personal injury accident in Barrie or Collingwood, Ontario, you will want to obtain financial compensation through a personal injury lawyer. There are several stages possible in a personal injury lawsuit, with the potential for a settlement at any time. Each of these stages of an Ontario personal injury lawsuit is outlined in more detail below. The steps begin with hiring a lawyer and sending a notice of intention to the defendant that you intend to file a lawsuit. Your lawyer will file the initial court documents. Next, there is a fact-finding and discovery period. The majority of cases settle instead of going to trial, however, Littlejohn Barristers will try to find the best resolution for your case.
Hiring a Lawyer When you meet with a lawyer after an accident, there is information to exchange. The lawyer will want to know the facts and details about the accident, others involved, potential witnesses, your injuries sustained and your medical treatment, including professionals you have seen or are waiting to see, whether you are in pain and your prognosis for improvement. The lawyer will ask for details of your insurance coverage, whether you spoke to the insurance, and will discuss aspects of the solicitor client relationship such as retainer agreement, how legal fees are charged, and the kinds of costs you can expect in your case. Your lawyer will also share information on how things will proceed and how you will be kept informed of the progress of your case. Notice of Intention to File a Lawsuit Shortly after retaining counsel, your lawyer will notify the defendant (the other party’s insurance) of your intention to file a lawsuit. Statement of Claim Your lawyer usually has two years to start a lawsuit by filing a “Statement of Claim” in court and serving it to the defendant. The Statement of Claim sets out what you are requesting of the defendant, such as to accept liability and pay for damages. The statement is personally served to the defendant, who must then reply to the court and plaintiff typically called a “Statement of Defense.” The statement of claim sets out your allegations against the defendant and what you are seeking in damages. A statement of defense may contain various affirmative defences explaining why the defendant should not be held liable for the plaintiff’s damages. Fact-Finding and Discovery To ensure that the opponents in a lawsuit have all the relevant facts and documents prior to a trial, an exchange of information called "discovery" takes place, in written form, by means of document production and in person. At an “Examination for Discovery” the parties’ lawyers ask the other party questions about the case that require each side’s version of the facts and claims. Documents such as medical documents are exchanged and sworn statements are taken. Independent medical examinations are arranged for you by your lawyer and the defendant for a further review. Mediation In recent years, mediation is considered being used in greater frequency to help the parties reach a settlement. Mediation is an attempt at settlement facilitation. The parties can choose the mediator they want to try and help them settle the case. Pre-Trial Conference A few months before the trial, a pre-trial conference before a judge takes place, where the parties obtain input from a judge about the strengths and weakness of their case. As a result of this input, many cases settle here or shortly after the pre-trial. Trial & Appeals (if necessary) If a settlement still could not be reached prior to a trial, then the next step is to set a date and have a trial. In a trial, the plaintiff argues his or her case, calls witnesses (such as medical experts) for testimony and provides other pieces of evidence, such as documents, photographs, reports, diaries, etc. in the hope of obtaining a judgment against the defendant. The evidence is examined by a judge or jury to decide if the defendant should be held legally responsible for the injuries and harm alleged by the plaintiff and, if so, the extent of the damages to pay. An appeal may be made by an unsuccessful party if there are any errors of law that contributed to the trial court’s decision, and the appeals court may or may not reverse that decision, depending on the facts. How to Get Started If you need a personal injury lawyer who serves the Collingwood area, contact us at Littlejohn Barristers for a free consultation about your case. If we take on your lawsuit we will keep you informed about its progress and any developments. We will discuss with you any viable settlement offers made and will help you to resolve your case as quickly and efficiently as possible while seeking to achieve the best compensation for you. When your personal injury lawsuit has come to its closure, you can expect to be satisfied about having come to the right place for your personal injury claim. Contact us at Littlejohn Barristers today.