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How-to Guide for Injury Victims Seeking Legal Remedies

The Advocate Files: Personal Injury Victims


How-to Guide for Injury Victims Seeking Legal Remedies

By David Hollingsworth

Injured people considering legal action should carefully document the details of the incident and see a personal injury lawyer at their earliest opportunity, Ottawa personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth says.

“Outside of focusing on recovery and health, it is important for the claimant to record the particulars of the event and all the details that he/she recalls,” says Hollingsworth, principal of Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers. “Attention to detail in the claimant’s recount of the incident is important as time passes.”

Typically, an individual has up to two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim in Ontario. Seeing a lawyer early on will determine if there’s a case to pursue and also provide the individual with an idea of the process that is likely to follow, he says.

Hollingsworth explains that he assesses the merits of the case and provides a blueprint of how the claimant is to navigate through the civil litigation process.

The principles of compensation in Ontario require that damage awards for injuries be based on awards made in cases with similar injuries, he says.

“The evidence typically comes from the claimant, medical health professionals, experts and other individuals with important knowledge regarding the facts of the case and the impact on the claimant,” Hollingsworth says.

“The facts and the supporting documentation provide the foundation for assessing the claimant’s damages,” he says. “It is important to note that compensation in Ontario is not designed to right a wrong, but rather to provide some monetary payment to recognize the loss. It is an accepted truth that no amount of money can replace one’s health. Aside from compensation for pain and suffering, other amounts for lost wages and homemaking capacity as well as future care costs, are designed to put the claimant in the position he or she would have have been in, but for the accident.”

If the individual and the lawyer decide to start a claim, they begin by informing all at-fault parties through a written notice that legal counsel has been retained with the intention to file a lawsuit, Hollingsworth says.

That’s followed by filing a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court, which outlines the incident, the liability of the defendant, the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and other associated losses.

While the defendants prepare their statement of defence, Hollingsworth says his firm will request copies of the client’s relevant medical records and any other applicable documents detailing the impact of the injury.

Following a full assessment, an examination for discovery is scheduled.

“This part of the litigation process enables each party in a civil action to examine the other party orally prior to trial,” Hollingsworth says. “This proceeding assists all parties in preparing for trial by compelling the disclosure of relevant facts and by bringing into focus the issues in dispute.”

Ontario requires mandatory mediation between discovery and trial with the goal of settling cases before they go to court. There, the two sides discuss the disputed issues and explore possible settlement options.

Hollingsworth says there is a high rate of settling civil matters in Ontario.

“However, if mediation is unsuccessful then the parties proceed to pre-trial,” he says.

In Ontario, pretrial is required for all civil actions unless the court orders otherwise. This is a final opportunity to settle the matter prior to a hearing. Here, a variety of elements are considered including the likelihood of settlement, the expert witnesses to be called, liability and damages, Hollingsworth says.

In the absence of a settlement, a date is set for trial.

“Proper preparation, attention to detail, and proceeding in a timely and forthright manner are keys to getting a matter successfully resolved,” Hollingsworth concludes.


Does this article speak to you? Was it helpful?

The points discussed above are from a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa that focuses his practice on personal injury and disability law. If you or a loved one has had a serious injury from any type of accident in Ottawa and surrounding regions contact David Hollingsworth for a free, no obligation consultation.

View the profile of this Ottawa concussion lawyer


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