First, we will open a Court file by preparing and issuing a document called a “Statement of Claim”. This must be served on the party you are suing, who will normally take it to his or her insurance company. The insurance company will then retain a lawyer to defend the case. That lawyer will respond by filing a “Statement of Defence”.
The next stage of the law suit involves exchanging all documents that are in each party’s possession or control. After that is completed, examinations for discovery of all the parties usually take place. These examinations are held in an office, before a court reporter who records all the questions and answers. Frequently, undertakings (or promises) to produce certain information, are given at these examinations, and these must be completed later. You may also be asked to attend for a medical examination with a doctor appointed by the insurance company.
Before a case is ready for trial, a mediation is required (see: Mediation – What is it?). The case is placed on the Court’s trial list after these steps are completed. A month or two before your case is called for trial, we must attend a pre-trial conference before a judge, to discuss the possibilities of settlement. The trial itself may be held before a jury, which will decide what damages you are entitled to recover. This entire process, from beginning to end, often takes from 3 to 5 years.