But to ensure that your bills will be adequately covered, your time away from work compensated, and your pain and suffering appropriately acknowledged, sometimes a lawsuit is required. In this guide, we’ll break down the steps of a personal injury lawsuit in clear, straightforward language, so you can rest easily and focus on getting better.
When should I file a personal injury lawsuit?
If the actions of others caused you personal injury, sickness or disease, or psychological or emotional injury, a personal injury law suit may be necessary for you to obtain compensation. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is an important step in the process to seek coverage for expenses you would not have incurred had the at-fault party not caused your injuries – an amount that can sometimes be prohibitive.
What can I claim for?
While the items you can claim in your personal injury lawsuit will vary depending upon the nature of your case, generally speaking you can claim for: medical costs, both past and future; loss of income, both past and future; housekeeping services; legal costs; and general damages for pain and suffering.
What are the different stages of a personal injury claim?
First, you must issue your claim at court. The Statement of Claim explains the circumstances and consequences of your injury. The other side (the “Defendant”) will respond to the Statement of Claim by filing a Statement of Defence, setting out their version of the events. After these documents are completed, the parties will exchange evidence with one another and each side will have the opportunity to have a doctor assess your injuries. Once all of the evidence has been exchanged, often the parties will attempt to settle a claim either through mediation or a pre-trial settlement conference. Only then, if a settlement has still not been reached, the action can move on to court.
I’m in the discovery portion of my action and people have been following me and sometimes, videotaping me. Is this legal?
The Defendants, or their lawyers, will often want to assess whether you are overstating the extent of your injuries, so surveillance is sometimes undertaken. There are limits to surveillance that can be conducted of an injured Plaintiff, and if you begin to feel unsafe, or that your privacy is being unreasonably compromised, you should speak with your lawyer.
How much could I get?
In Canada, the maximum amount that can be claimed for general damages for pain and suffering relating to an illness or injury has been capped by the Supreme Court of Canada. Tied to inflation, this upper limit is approximately $350,000 for the most serious injuries. However, other types of damages may not be restricted, such as out of pocket expenses, medical treatment or loss of income due to your injury or illness.
Due to the complicated nature of personal injury claims, it is highly advisable to have legal representation to guide you through the process and to work with you to obtain the best possible outcome.