The Steps in a Lawsuit
It is important to remember that most lawsuits are resolved (settled) without ever going to trial. Approximately 97% of civil cases in Ontario are resolved without an actual trial. At some point after the claim is started, the parties reach an out of court settlement. There are many good reasons to settle out of court, including the delays, risks and costs of going to trial. Successful settlements, however, usually come about because your lawyer has prepared the case for trial and demonstrates a willingness and an ability to fight the case in court if necessary.
When a civil claim is issued and started, there are four main steps that need to be completed before an eventual trial:
- The Pleadings stage.
- The Discovery stage.
- The Mediation stage.
- The Pre-trial stage.
- The Trial
The pleadings are the documents that set out the basic allegations of the claim and the defendants’ response to those allegations.
Discoveries (or depositions in the United States) follow the exchange of relevant documents relating to the issues in the case. An examination for discovery gives the lawyers on both sides the opportunity to question the other side about the claim, under oath. The examinations do not take place in court, but they are recorded.
A mediation is a meeting between the parties and their lawyers to see if claim can be resolved. If it can be, the claim is settled and that brings an end to the lawsuit. If it cannot be settled, the parties carry on towards pre-trial. Anything said at the mediation is confidential and cannot be used later in the lawsuit if a settlement is not reached.
At the pre-trial conference, lawyers meet with a judge (usually but not always) in an attempt to narrow the issues and try to settle the claim without proceeding to trial. The parties attend at the pre-trial conference. If the claim still cannot be resolved, the parties usually start preparing for trial.
Most personal injury claims are resolved by out of court settlements before trial. But if your claim is one of the few that does go to trial, the best lawyers will have the experience and skill to present your case forcefully and persuasively. At McNally Gervan we have the determination, experience and the resources to bring cases to trial if we need to, and to get our clients the compensation they deserve.
Every automobile insurance policy provides specific benefits that may include:
- Income replacement if an employed or self-employed person can’t work because of the accident;
- Childcare or other caregiver expenses, if a stay-at-home parent or other caregiver can’t care for a child or other person because of the accident;
- “Non-earner” benefits, if a person who is not employed or self-employed can’t carry on with normal life because of the accident;
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation costs that are not covered by OHIP or other disability insurance plans;
- “Attendant care” costs to help you pay for someone to look after a seriously hurt person;
- Funeral expenses and death benefits, if an insured person dies as a result of the accident;
- Payments for lost education expenses, housekeeping assistance, repair or replacement of eyeglasses or clothing damaged in an accident, and the expenses of visitors who come to see you because of the accident; or
- Case management services, to coordinate services for people who are seriously hurt in the accident.
If you or a family member have been hurt in a car accident, you may be entitled to claim accident benefits (also known as statutory accident benefits or no-fault benefits) under your automobile insurance policy.
The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) is a regulation under the Insurance Act that sets out the benefits and compensation that may be available to you as a driver, passenger or pedestrian if you have been hurt in an accident. Unfortunately, injured accident victims and their families often end up in disputes with their own insurance company about what benefits (or how much) should be paid. If you have a question about your entitlement to accident benefits contact one of the lawyers at McNally Gervan for a free consultation.
The lawyers at McNally Gervan LLP understand the system and are here to help accident victims get the support they need and the benefits they deserve.
If you have a question or need assistance, our team of personal injury lawyers is here to help. We know every personal injury case is unique and we work hard to make sure our clients are fairly compensated.
If you are unable to travel to our downtown Ottawa office, one of our lawyers or paralegals can come to meet you at your home or some other convenient location. During the free consultation, we will get to know you and to understand the nature of your injuries, as well as the impact the accident is having on you and your family. Contact us for a free Consultation. We know it’s personal.