Ontario Legal Process for Accidents

If you are hiring a lawyer for a claim after an Ontario accident, you are probably wondering what the process is and what to expect. The articles in this section will give you good legal information about what to expect after an accident.

What is a Pre-trial and Why Do I Need One?

This post was originally published on Nov 3rd, 2010 and updated on June 17th, 2020.  

If you have a personal injury lawsuit in Ottawa or certain other jurisdictions in this Eastern Ontario, you will have a pretrial before your case goes to trial before a judge or a judge and jury.

The reason for a pretrial is to resolve the case through negotiation or to narrow the contentious issues in the case. In a personal injury case, the issues are usually: who was responsible for the collision (liability) and what are injuries worth (damages).

Who presides over a personal injury a pre-trial?

A case management judge or another court official called a case management master facilitates a discussion of the issues and reviews the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case.

Who attends a personal injury pre-trial?

The lawyers for the injured person and the injured person attend. The lawyer for the defence, usually hired by the insurance company, as well as a representative of the defence, usually a claims examiner or adjuster, will also be present.

When does a pre-trial happen during a personal injury case?

Before the pre-trial is held, parties are required to complete all examinations for discovery, produce all of the required documents and complete any related motions.

What will my lawyer do to prepare for a pre-trial?

Your lawyer will prepare a brief with a detailed outline of the evidence you will be leading at trial. This will include key passages from the transcripts from the examination for discovery, important medical records and expert reports. The brief will also identify the witnesses you intend to call at trial and what they will say at trial.

How will I prepare for my personal injury pre-trial?

You will likely meet with your lawyer before the pre-trial to discuss your settlement position and any developments in the case that arise from the defence lawyer’s pretrial brief.

What will happen during the pre-trial?

Different judges run pre-trials in different ways. Sometimes all the parties, lawyers and the judge will meet in a courtroom. The lawyers will make submissions and the judge will comment and then give an evaluation of the case.

In other cases, the judge will meet privately with the lawyers and go through the case and then come back into the courtroom to speak to the parties about his or her views.

A pretrial may last one hour or it may last several, particularly if the parties are actively negotiating.

What happens after the pre-trial?

If a settlement is reached, the case will not proceed beyond the pretrial.

If a settlement is not reached, the judge will discuss the expected length of the trial with the lawyers and a trial date will be set.

Although the parties will often be disappointed if the case does not settle, having a fixed trial date motivates the parties to continue to work toward a settlement. It also provides a deadline for the resolution of the case—the trial date.

 

How Can I Have Success at Examination for Discovery? | Ontario

This post was originally published on Nov 3rd, 2010 and updated on June 12th, 2020.  

Many plaintiffs worry about the examination for discovery. The truth is, this is an important part of your case. It is the first time the opposing lawyer hears from you directly. Not only will the lawyer form an impression of the strength of your case based on the facts you describe, but also the lawyer will be assessing how strong you are as a witness. Nevertheless, a little practice and preparation will go a long way toward success at the examination.

What is Examination for Discovery?

There are three main reasons why the defence lawyer wants to examine you. First, as mentioned above, the lawyer and his or her client want to size you up as a witness. How will the jury like you?  Do you seem credible and reliable?

Second, they want to hear your version of the facts, straight from your mouth.

Third, they want you to commit to your story. Because you are giving sworn evidence, if you try to change your answers at trial, you will be cross-examined against what you said at examination for discovery. This is called being “impeached”. It hurts your credibility if your story is not consistent.

Why Have Examination for Discovery?

There are three main reasons why the opposing lawyer wants to examine you. First, as mentioned above, the lawyer and his or her client want to size you up as a witness. How will the jury like you?

Second, they want to hear your version of the facts, straight from your mouth.

Third, they want you to commit to your story. Because you are giving sworn evidence, if you try to change your answers at trial, you will be cross-examined against what you said at examination for discovery. This is called being “impeached”. It hurts your credibility if your story is not consistent.

How Can You Succeed at Examination for Discovery?

1. Always tell the truth. The lawyers and insurance adjusters you are dealing with are very smart and very experienced. It is unlikely that you will get away with exaggerating or not telling the truth. In a personal injury case, that means you must admit to past injuries or medical incidents or pre-existing conditions and you must not overstate your injuries.  You also have to be honest about your loss of income.

2. Stay focused. Some lawyers are aggressive. You will have no doubt that this is a formal legal proceeding. Other lawyers, however, are warm and friendly. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a casual conversation just because a lawyer seems friendly. You are there to answer the specific questions asked and nothing more. On breaks, you should not talk about anything personal in the presence of opposing counsel. There are no exceptions. Nothing said at discovery is “off the record”.

3. Listen to the questions. Do not answer a question you don’t understand. Do not start answering the question partway through. Don’t answer more than the question asks. If you listen to the question, these rules are pretty easy.

What Do You Do if You Don’t Know the Answer to a Question?

You answer: “I don’t know”. It is perfectly acceptable to tell the examiner that you don’t know the answer to the question. Discovery is not a memory test. And most importantly, you must not guess at any answer. Sometimes it is acceptable to approximate. For example, this is acceptable if you are estimating a car’s speed or a distance. Just be sure to clarify that it is an estimate.

What Does Your Lawyer Do While You Are Being Examined?

Your own lawyer ensures that you are fairly treated during the discovery. For example, we will make objections to questions that are improper, although in personal injury cases these objections are rare. If your lawyer does not object, you should answer the question. Unfortunately, in a personal injury case, there are subject matters you will be asked about that can be personal. Even your sex life can be a reasonable topic in many cases. Be confident that your lawyer is making all legitimate objections.

You cannot have a secret or private discussion with your own lawyer during your examination for discovery. It is simply not allowed.

The main thing your lawyer is doing during your examination is planning what else needs to be done on the case. Often the discovery will highlight areas that need fleshing out. Your lawyer will be making a list of these areas and planning the next steps.

We hope this information has given you an overview of what to expect during your examination for discovery.

To speak to an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer call 613 233-4529, email us at [email protected] or use our handy contact form.

How Long Will It Take to Settle My Ontario Accident Case?

 

This post was originally published on Sep 3rd, 2010 and updated on June 4th, 2020.  

As personal injury lawyers who meet hundreds of accident clients, we know that if you have been in a motor vehicle collision, either as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian, you are probably wondering how long it will take for your case to result in compensation for you.  There is no one size fits all answer to that question, but here are four factors that impact the timeline.

Factor Number 1:  What type of injury do you have?

Some injuries are more straightforward than others.  This can impact how easy it is to assess the value of your claim.  Many fractures or other “objective” injuries have a predictable recovery.  Plus, their lasting effects are easy to predict.  If you have an injury like that, it may be easier to settle your case sooner because we can reasonably assess what your case is worth without waiting to see what happens to you.

On the other hand, if you have an injury that is progressive where you may or may not need surgery in the future, it will be more difficult to assess your damages (the amount of compensation) at an early stage.  There is a serious risk of under-compensation if you settle before this type of injury has stabilized.  You do not want to settle your case too early and be shortchanged if your medical outcome is worse than you hoped.

Factor Number 2: Have you returned to work?

If you have already returned to work, or if you did not work before you were hurt, it may be possible to settle your case sooner because it is not necessary to predict what your total loss of income will be.  For example, if you are still off work, but expect and hope to return to work sometime in the future it can be difficult to negotiate enough compensation to cover all your lost future income.

We often must wait a long time before your doctors will provide a strong, conclusive opinion that you will not be returning to work.  Again, settling before you have that information risks under-compensation.  Loss of income can be the most important and most valuable part of a personal injury case so, it is important to maximize this part of your case.

Factor Number 3: Are your injuries permanent?

In Ontario, according to the Insurance Act, you cannot sue for pain and suffering after a car accident unless your injuries are permanent.  For many types of injuries, it takes time before you will be able to show that your injuries will meet that part of the legal threshold to sue in Ontario.

Factor Number 4: Did you contact a lawyer early in the process?

If you have a lawyer involved soon after the accident happens, there may be a chance to settle with the insurance company directly.  Settling before we start a lawsuit can be a much faster process than a lawsuit, although it is not appropriate or possible in some cases.

If you contact a lawyer too close to the limitation period expires (usually two years from the date of the accident), there may not be enough time to negotiate a resolution with the insurance company’s adjuster.  When that happens, a lawsuit will be required.  Where a lawsuit is started, cases rarely settle before examination for discovery which, can be scheduled 8-10 months down the road due to conflicting schedules.

To speak to an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer call 613 233-4529, email us at [email protected] or use our handy contact form.

Ontario limitation periods. How long do I have to file my Ontario personal injury lawsuit?

The Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Brenda Hollingsworth’s office are often asked about Ontario limitation periods. Victims of personal injury want to know how long they have to file a claim for their Ontario accident.

The best way to get an answer specific to your case is to call us at 613-860-4529. Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers can tell you who you need to notify after your accident and how long you have to do so.

Majority of adults have two years to start the process of a lawsuit after their motor vehicle accident or slip and fall accident in Ontario. When children are injured in an accident the time restraints are usually longer. However, when giving notice of a potential claim the window for notification is much shorter. These time restraints are what we call limitation periods.

Lianne Laing and Brenda Hollingsworth cover this topic and answer a caller’s question about Ontario limitation periods for her slip and fall accident on municipal property during CTV Morning Live.

If you have questions after your Ontario motor vehicle accident or slip and fall accident call Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at 613-860-4529. We can advise you on the next step to take to file your claim and make sure you have filed all appropriate notifications within the Ontario limitation period.

Why is the legal process of my Ontario personal injury claim so long?

After clients have filed their Ontario personal injury claim,  they can be surprised by the length of time it takes to see any real action. Clients want to know why their lawsuit is taking time to unfold and what is currently being done.

To have your questions on the claim process answered, call Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers at 613-860-4529.  We can explain the process of information gathering, tracking records, and why these factors contribute to the time it takes for you to see progress.

For the first 6 months of a claim, we do a significant amount of work behind the scenes that clients do not see.

Watch as Lianne Laing and Brenda Hollingsworth talk about the process of an Ontario personal injury claim.  We describe in detail  the steps involved in information tracking and authorizations that help to build your case toward success on CTV Morning Live.

If you have suffered an Ontario personal injury and would like to receive advice on how to proceed with a claim contact Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers at 613-860-4529. They can start your claim and get you on track towards the compensation you deserve.

How do Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyers advance my case?

Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyers – How we advance your case

You have gone through the process of hiring the Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyer best suited to your needs. However, do you know what the next steps are when it comes to building your case? Not very many people know what happens after they hire a lawyer. For the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Brenda Hollingsworth’s office this is where they find clients have the most questions. They do not know the exact role of a lawyer or the fact that they too, as the client, have a role in their case.

If you have experienced a personal injury accident and have questions about what an Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyers role is in your case, call Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers at 613-860-4529.  We can show you what a lawyer will be doing for your case and the proper steps needed to the legal process.

After hiring your Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyer we need to build your case.  We need to convince the insurance company to pay the value of your injuries.  This process includes sending out requests for information to doctors, hospitals and physiotherapists to collect relevant evidence.

Lianne Laing and Brenda Hollingsworth discuss what role an Eastern Ontario personal injury lawyer plays during your case and how you, as a client, have an important role too.

If you have experienced an Eastern Ontario personal injury accident call Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers at 613-860-4529.  We can guide you through the process towards legal compensation and determine the best steps to take for your specific case.

What can I expect during my Eastern Ontario examination for discovery?

What you can expect during your Eastern Ontario examination for discovery.

When a victim of an Eastern Ontario personal injury receives a Notice of Examination it can be nerve-wracking. There is a lot that happens during discovery. Clients  ask the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Brenda Hollingsworth’s office what they can expect once the examination for discovery begins.

To have questions about your Eastern Ontario examination for discovery answered contact Brenda Hollingsworth Personal Injury Lawyers at 613-860-4529. The Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Brenda Hollingsworth’s office make sure all of their clients have preparation sessions and feel completely comfortable with the examination process before the actual examination date.

An examination for discovery is very much like a cross-examination however, it is in a boardroom rather than in a courtroom. It is the “mid-point” of the lawsuit and is a mix of a very formal/very informal environment. The lawyer from the opposing side has up to 7 hours to ask you questions about the accident and the injuries you obtained.

Lianne Laing and Brenda Hollingsworth answer a caller’s question about his notice of examination and what he can expect during the examination period on CTV Morning Live.

If you have questions about your Eastern Ontario examination for discovery and what to expect call the Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Brenda Hollingsworth’s office for a consultation at 613-860-4529.

Join Ottawa Lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth on CTV Morning Live On Monday!

Ottawa personal injury lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth will be answering viewers’ questions about what happens during your personal injury accident case after the personal injury lawyer is hired.    The segment airs on CTV Morning Live after 9 am on Monday, October 29, 2012.

Get answers to your personal injury questions such as:

  • How long is my Ottawa personal injury case going to take?
  • What is the lawyer doing with my personal injury case during that time?
  • Are there things I can do to enhance my accident case?
  • Are there things I can do to wreck my accident case?
  • What happens if I get better while my case is working its way through the system?
  • Why is my injury lawyer asking me to sign so many forms?
  • What is examination for discovery?
  • What is mediation?
  • When do I get a pre-trial?

Interested viewers can call in, email or Facebook CTV Morning live to get their Ottawa personal injury accident questions answered live on the show.  Let us know if you watch our show!!  Tweet @Ottawalawyers or email [email protected] with your comments or feedback.

Ottawa personal injury lawyer Brenda Hollingsworth represents people in Eastern Ontario who have been injured in serious Ontario accidents.  Her practice has a focus on slip and fall and motor vehicle accidents.  If you have a potential claim you would like to have evaluated by an Ontario personal injury lawyer, please contact us at 613 860-4529.   For qualified callers, we offer a free consultation, either on the telephone or in person.

Our Ottawa personal injury law firm offers contingency fees retainer agreements for serious accident cases.  That means our clients do not pay legal fees if there is no settlement or judgment!  There is no upfront fee for expenses. 

 

 

 

Ottawa lawyer: Why do I have to sign so many authorizations?

When new Ottawa personal injury clients sign up with Auger Hollingsworth, they are usually asked to sign a large number of authorizations.  Many new clients wonder why we need so many authorizations that are identical or very similar.

Authorizations are the documents that give your lawyer permission to contact third parties on your behalf.

We get you to sign an OHIP authorization.  This allows us to obtain your OHIP decoded summary.  Your OHIP decoded summary lists all of the OHIP covered services you have received in the past 7 years.

Any doctor you have seen, or any other medical clinic, requires an authorization before they will release your records to us.

We need of the original authorizations back  as no photocopies are accepted by doctors or hospitals.  You would be amazed at how many medical people swipe your OHIP numbers over 7 years.  We need to request the records from all of them.  That is why we need so many forms.

Immediately after we open your file, we request the following records that require a general authorization:

-all tax returns

-any social services history (Ontario Works / ODSP)

-your employment records

-your CPP contributions

-the complete police file or municipal file or whatever investigation file we think might exist

If we want to engage an expert to help us do something, we need to send them an authorization.

If we want to speak to an insurer on your behalf, they sometimes require an authorization.

It does not take long for the number of general authorizations we use to add up.   Those are some examples.

If you are wondering if an Ottawa personal injury lawyer can help you with your personal injury claim, call our office today at 613 233-4539.

 

What Should I Wear to Examination for Discovery in an Accident Case?

If you are ever in an Ottawa accident, you may have to take part in an examination for discovery as part of your legal proceedings. Understanding what this process entails and knowing how to present yourself can help you achieve success in your lawsuit.

 

What is an Examination for Discovery?

Examination for discovery is an important component of most civil lawsuits. Essentially, it is a process where both parties involved in the lawsuit are questioned about the issues surrounding the lawsuit. While each party is questioned by the other party’s lawyer, and the answers are given under oath, examination for discovery is not in itself a trial.

 

What is the Purpose of Examination for Discovery?

The basic purpose of an examination for discovery is to allow each party and their lawyers to learn about and understand the other side’s case.

 

Throughout their questioning, the lawyers for each party will typically be trying to accomplish a few basic things, including the following:

–   Understand the other party’s point of view, and more fully define and narrow the issues involved in the lawsuit.

–   Discover if there are any areas where both parties are in agreement, possibly allowing a pre-trial settlement to be reached.

–   Obtain an admission from the other party that later can be used in their client’s favour while at trial.

 

What Should You Wear to an Examination for Discovery?

Many clients wonder what they should wear to attend this part of their legal process. Though it is not an official trial, it is still very important to make sure that you are appropriately dressed. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you look well-groomed and presentable. Essentially, you want to wear neat, clean, conservative clothes. You do not necessarily have to wear a suit, but you should look as neat as possible, and avoid any offensive slogans on your clothing. This is a very important part of your legal process, and it is crucial that you are as prepared and presentable as possible.

 

If you or someone you know has been in an Ottawa accident, a good injury lawyer can help you to better understand your legal options, and help you navigate all aspects of the legal process, including the examination for discovery.

 

To speak with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth, please call us at 613-860-4529, email us at [email protected], or use our contact form.

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