What Does the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process Look Like in 2022?

2022, like the two previous calendar years, is shaping up to be filled with unprecedented and unpredictable challenges. The COVID-19 Omicron variant has necessitated strict public health measures across Ontario, with citizens being asked to make important decisions related to their work, their schooling, their healthcare, and their personal lives.

At Will Davidson LLP, we seek to provide the sort of stable, reliable legal representation that can endure even the turbulence of the COVID-19 pandemic. With that in mind, here are the steps you should take if you or a member of your family is injured in an accident.

Step 1: Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’ve been injured, your first step after seeking medical attention should be to contact a personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury law firms, including Will Davidson LLP, offer free, no-obligation consultations to prospective clients. During this meeting, you’ll be able to tell your story, explain how your accident occurred, describe your injuries and the way they’ve affected your life, and discuss what you expect to achieve through a personal injury lawsuit.

Be sure to bring along any documents or evidence that may be relevant, including police reports, medical notes, correspondence with your insurer, photos and videos of the accident site, etc.

During this meeting, your consulting personal injury lawyer will assess the viability of your case. Not every accident or injury is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, and your personal injury lawyer will have to determine whether it makes sense for their firm to represent you. Once your case is accepted, however, your lawyer will do everything in his or her power to ensure you receive fair and reasonable compensation for the damages you have incurred.

Step 2: The Work Before the Trial

Your personal injury lawyer will begin work on your case as soon as he or she agrees to represent you. The first phase of this work will involve gathering evidence, speaking to witnesses, reviewing relevant case law, identifying precedents, assessing and quantifying damages, and more.

Once your lawyer has decided upon an argument, they will file a Statement of Claim on your behalf. The Statement of Claim is the official starting point of your personal injury lawsuit. It describes the facts of your case and explains why you, the plaintiff, should receive compensation. The Statement of Claim must be filed within a certain period of time after your injury occurred.

Once the Statement of Claim has been filed, the defendant can issue a Statement of Defence and file a counterclaim, if they so choose. You and your personal injury lawyer will be able to respond to the Statement of Defence.

Once all statements have been filed, your case will move into mandatory mediation. In Ontario, participants in civil claims must go through mediation before taking their dispute to court. This process seeks to reduce the number of disputes that require a judge and/or jury in hopes of gradually reducing the massive backlog of trials in the province’s civil justice system. If the issue can be resolved by a mediator, the dispute ends there.

If the issue cannot be resolved in mediation, both sides of the dispute will move on to discovery. This phase of the legal process involves exchanging evidence and interviewing the other parties in the dispute. In some cases, discovery may take place before mediation.

Step 3: Pre-Trial and Trial

Following discovery, the parties will prepare for trial. During this phase, both sides will consider whether expert testimony is required to win the argument, and then will work to attain that testimony. The sides will also be asked to attend a ‘pre-trial’ or ‘settlement’ conference, which is essentially the last chance for the parties to resolve their dispute before heading to trial.

Finally, after all other options are exhausted, your case will head to the courtroom. Trials are costly, time-consuming, and risky for all sides of a dispute. They are also not necessarily the end of your conflict – if one side is unhappy with the original trial decision, they may be able to appeal to a higher level of court.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

The civil legal process is never swift and rarely smooth in Ontario, even for the most qualified personal injury lawyers. Any number of unforeseen challenges and complications can arise during the time between your consultation and receipt of compensation. Before you embark on a personal injury lawsuit, keep in mind that these disputes often take years to resolve, particularly if you pursue your dispute to trial.

Keep in mind also that personal injury law firms are businesses – just because you believe you have a claim doesn’t mean that accepting your case is good business for your prospective personal injury lawyer.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer from Will Davidson LLP to Learn More

At Will Davidson LLP, we hope to be the steady, stable legal partner that you and your family can rely on. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our experienced team.

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