One of the questions injured clients always ask a personal injury lawyer is “How long will my case take?” The truth is, that is a hard question to answer because there are so many variables. Here are some of the considerations.
Is it clear who caused the accident?
If there is no dispute about who to blame for the accident, and the only issue is how much you care is worth, that may speed up the process. If we have to prove the other driver was at fault, we will likely need to go through the fact gathering and discovery stages of the case.
Are your injuries stabilized?
Most Ontario lawyers will be reluctant to settle your case while you are still recovering from your injuries. The uncertainty of how well you will recover creates risk for you. If we settle based on an assumption that you will continue to improve, but you do not improve as well as you had hoped, your settlement may be too low.
Are you back to work?
Similarly, if you have not yet returned to your previous employment, or you are still working reduced hours, we will want to wait before settling until we know if you will be able to work or not, and if you can work, at what level?
Are there multiple parties in Your case?
When there are more than two sets of lawyers on a case, there can be delays as we schedule examinations for discovery and mediation. Finding dates that work for groups of lawyers can sometimes add months to the length of your case.
How much is your case worth?
Although this rules is not hard and fast, generally in an Ontario personal injury case, the higher the value of the case, the more time it will take to process. Sometimes this is because it takes longer for the insurance company to approve the value of the case. Sometimes it is because the insurance company wants to see if you are serious, are a good witness and / or hopes that you will improve with time.
Right now in Ontario, there are delays getting personal injury car accidentcases to pretrial and trial. There were delays before the global pandemic. Those delays are longer now. So, if you have a case that needs the help of a judge to settle it at pretrial or if your case needs a trial for fair compensation, it may take longer to resolve.
Patience Pays Off
In most situations we tell clients they can have a fast settlement or a fair settlement, but most of the time they cannot have both. If you have significant injuries and losses, waiting until the time is right will be worth it.