Stages of a Personal Injury Claim – Starting A Claim in Court
Continuing our series about the stages in a personal injury claim, in part three we will review the steps leading up to starting a claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Read part one, Choosing a Lawyer, and part two, Information Gathering and Notice.
Negotiating settlement without starting a claim
After they have received notice of your claim, the insurance adjuster will try to determine the extent of your injuries and their impact on your daily life. They may review your medical records, ask you participate in assessments by doctors and rehabilitation professionals, or even conduct surveillance of your daily activities, before deciding whether to make an offer to settle.
Your lawyer will also review all available information and records about your injuries, and conduct legal research to determine the appropriate value, or “quantum” of your claim for compensation. In order to properly assess your claim, and ensure that you don’t leave anything on the table, it is crucial to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer with experience handling similar claims.
Your lawyer will discuss potential settlement with the insurer. If they make an offer within a range you find acceptable, your lawyer will ask for your approval. They will discuss with you the risks of proceeding with a civil claim, and offer advice regarding a reasonable settlement value. If you decide to accept an offer, your lawyer will finalize the settlement through formal documents, and arrange for payment from the insurer.
Proceeding with a civil claim for damages
If the insurance company denies your claim, the next step in pursuing compensation is beginning a legal action. The civil litigation process can be lengthy, and take several years to reach a conclusion through settlement or proceeding to trial. The large majority of personal injury claims are settled before reaching trial.
The timing of your legal claim is critical. In Ontario, you must generally start your claim within two years of the date of your accident. It is crucial to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident, to discuss any potential action and ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines for giving notice or starting a claim.
A legal action is begun by filing a statement of claim with the court. The claim must set out the facts about what happened, the injuries and damages you have suffered, the alleged acts or omissions by the defendant(s) that caused your injuries, and what financial compensation you are seeking. A copy of the claim is sent to the named defendant(s) and their insurance companies, who will retain lawyers to defend the claim by filing a defence.
Toronto area personal injury lawyers representing seriously injured victims
If you have been injured and are considering starting a claim, you need advice from lawyers that only practice in the area of personal injury. At Derfel Injury law, we exclusively assist clients that are seeking compensation for injuries arising from serious accidents.
If you have questions about a potential lawsuit, we can help you decide how to proceed. Contact us online or call 416-847-3580 to make an appointment to meet with us in Toronto.