Why do personal injury lawsuits sometimes take so long?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you might feel that your entire life has been turned upside down. Through your worry, grief, suffering, stress and pain you might have thousands of questions that run through your mind. Ultimately, once you begin to think about your injuries, your treatment and your case you will begin to wonder about the compensation you might be entitled to and how long it might take to get. There is no doubt that one of the most common questions that we get asked as Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyers is: “How long will my personal injury case take to settle?”
We understand those who have suffered personal injury would often like to speed along the justice process. We understand that you may be incurring many additional expenses and may be anxious to quickly recoup those costs. You may have exhausted your accident benefits and have no money left for rehabilitation or therapy. You may be running into massive debt, cashing in RRSP’s and draining lines of credit to supplement lost income. You are becoming irritable. Defence lawyers are making you feel like a liar and a cheat.
Here is what you need to know: it is very difficult to predict a time frame for a personal injury case. If a client is willing to forgo fair compensation and justice, the case may settle faster; however, a good personal injury lawyer is working hard to ensure a client receives everything they are entitled to and deserve. It is our job to have the foresight and knowledge to understand not just what you might need today to help with your injuries, but what you might need in 20 years from now.
How long do personal injury cases take?
There are many factors that can delay a personal injury case. Unlike televisions dramas, like suits, where lawsuits are settled and millions are paid out to victims after a defendant is threatened or strong-armed, real personal injury and disability cases commonly take years to resolve.
There are a few main factors that can cause a case to take time – such as – the extent of your injuries, establishing negligence, dealing with the busy health care system, the clogged court system and other lawyers. Here are several more detailed reasons why your case might be taking some time:
- The extent of your injuries. In the medical and legal realm, the best time to settle or bring your case to a jury is after your injuries have reached their maximum improvement. It can be difficult to know the extent of your injuries, or the extent your injuries may have on your life, for some time. What you need to know is that once your case is settled or brought to a jury verdict, there is no going back for additional compensation if your health changes. Our Hamilton personal injury lawyers are going to work with you to appropriately time the case so you can receive the compensation you are entitled to, based on the full extent of your injuries and your treatment protocol – which is often unpredictable especially if your injuries are severe.
- Establishing Liability and Negligence. In a personal injury case, settlement is determined by who was at fault (liability) and the extent of a plaintiff’s injuries (damages). If either of these are disputed or difficult to prove, a case may be prolonged. In order to bring a successful personal injury case in Ontario, a plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care and that his/her negligent actions caused or contributed to your injuries. In some instances, this can be quite straightforward, but conversely, it can be much more complicated and time-consuming process.
- Collecting evidence and Discovery. It may take time to gather all of your relevant clinical notes and records – but even at that, the discovery process can take time to get to. A discovery is a live “interview” so to speak with insurance company lawyers that are paid to minimize your claim or the amount of compensation paid to you. The scheduling, coordinating the attendance of all parties, and then the production of requested documents often takes months to complete.
- We are dealing with busy medical professionals, the health care system, the legal system our own schedules and opposing lawyers’ schedules. It can take time for your medical team to determine the full extent of your injuries. In addition, even once your injuries have been determined or maximum recovery has been achieved, it can take time to get the necessary reports and opinion evidence to supports your claims and losses. It can be time consuming to get the proper medical reports we need for the case. In addition, it can also take time for the insurer to get the information they may need from their medical experts. We are also at mercy of our clogged Court system. It is important to understand that although we make every client a priority, we often have several cases on the go.
Our Hamilton Personal Injury lawyers work hard to fight on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Our firm understands that you are going through a very difficult and stressful time. By hiring an experienced Hamilton personal injury lawyer, you can be sure that you have a firm that is looking after your legal needs every step of the way, no matter how long things take.
Feel free to contact Lalande & Company at (905) 333-8888 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation. We never charge upfront for personal injury cases. And we are here to answer any and all questions you may have about your case and our approach. Lalande & Company Lawyers have been working hard to build a reputation of trust, integrity and hard work. We do not settle with insurance companies easily.