When can I sue for my injuries?
If you were injured because of another driver’s actions, you may be entitled to sue for damages such as pain and suffering; loss of income; future cost of care etc. This applies to a variety of situations, including situations where the passenger is injured due to the negligence of the driver, who can be a husband, child or other relative. You can also sue in situations where you are partly responsible for the accident, or in situations where you are a pedestrian.
Are there any limitation dates I should be aware of?
If your accident happened after January 1, 2004, you generally have 2 years from the date of the accident to start legal proceedings. In certain situations, you may be able to sue after the expiration of the 2 years; but these situations are the exception rather than the rule. Additionally, in certain situations there may be shorter time limits for starting actions, and certain defendants must have notice of your intention to sue. For example, in an action against a municipality for the failure to remove snow and ice (that can lead either to a car accident or a slip and fall), notice to the municipality must be given within 10 days of the incident.
How long will it take to settle my case?
As a rule of thumb, I tell my clients that it takes anywhere from 2-5 years to settle a personal injury matter; with few of them settling before the 2 year mark and some settling after the 5 year mark. No settlement negotiations should be undertaken until a client has exhausted all reasonable treatment options; and has reached what we call “maximum medical recovery”. This, usually takes at least 2 years and most of the time, it takes longer.
Once the client’s physicians confirm that they don’t expect any further significant recovery, the lawyer should obtain medico-legal opinions regarding diagnosis and prognosis. It is only at this point that the lawyer can start determining appropriate amounts for pain and suffering; past and future loss of income; past and future cost of care etc.
Some of the other reasons why a case may be delayed are:
- The degree of cooperation a lawyer gets from the doctors and health care professionals; the defence lawyer and the insurance adjusters
- How quickly a lawyer gets documents requested from institutions such as hospitals
- The length of time it takes to arrange assessments and to receive reports
- Whether the defence lawyer and insurance adjuster are willing to mediate the case
- The length of time it takes to schedule a pretrial.