Taking the first step and hiring a personal injury lawyer can be scary. We have prepared this blog article so that you know what to expect when you’ve hired Tony Lafazanis.
This post deals specifically with tort claims. For accident benefits, see this post.
The intake process is the first step and also a crucial one in getting started! When an employee at Tony Lafazanis Personal Injury Law firm asks you questions to fill out an intake form, they are getting important information about you, your life before and after the accident/injury, and the incident itself. All of this information is crucial to getting to know you and building a strong case.
2. BUILDING THE CASE
Next, the team will work on building the case. This includes a chronology of life events, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy (if applicable), and anything else which might be helpful to show the court how this injury has affected you. While this step begins here, it is an ongoing process as you continue to receive treatment or perhaps experience long-term pain or other effects. The case should not be settled until your prognosis is clear, but building the case while a prognosis is still being determined is not uncommon.
For a list of information and documents which may be helpful to building your case, check this blog post.
3. STATEMENT OF CLAIM
The Statement of Claim is an important document which your lawyer will file in Court, to preserve your rights. It contains information about the parties (for example, you are the plaintiff, while the opposing side is the defendant), the incident, and the relief that you and your lawyer are seeking. The Claim usually needs to be filed within 2 years of the accident/injury.
4. STATEMENT OF DEFENSE
While the Statement of Claim is filed by your lawyer, the Statement of Defence is filed by the opposing party. It is a response to your original Claim. In this document, they outline the reasons why they should not be required to compensate you.
In Toronto, mediation is a required step in any personal injury case. It can take place before or after the next step, discovery. Mediation briefs are prepared by each side so they can inform the other of their positions. A mediator is chosen by the two sides to help facilitate settlement discussions. A compromise is sought, which is often defined as a settlement that both sides hate equally.
As stated above, discovery can sometimes happen before mediation. This is a process by which documents are produced, the plaintiff is affirmed to answer questions truthfully, and the defence counsel asks relevant questions. The process is completely confidential. Both sides cannot disclose to others what they learn through the discovery process.
7. PRE-TRIAL OR SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
A pre-trial or settlement conference is an informal meeting facilitated by a judge or deputy judge – however, this will not be the same judge as the one at trial. The purpose of the conference is to encourage the settlement of the case before it goes to trial. The judge will also give their opinion of strengths and weaknesses in each sides’ case, which way the case is likely to go. This can be very useful in determining whether to go to trial or what the settlement should be. While there is no obligation to settle, the very large majority of cases are settled before going to trial.
The final step, if the case hasn’t already been settled in either the mediation or conference stages, is the trial. As the plaintiff, the burden is on you and your lawyer to prove what happened on a balance of probabilities. This means you need to prove that it is more likely than not that the injuries you have were caused by the defendant’s actions. A Judge or jury will determine the amount of damages which should be awarded for your injuries.
Still not sure if you want to take this step? Check out this post on the benefits of a personal injury lawyer.
Cabbagetown Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring Tony Lafazanis is risk-free. There is no legal bill to pay, if there is no settlement.