Personal Injury Lawsuits – Patience is a Virtue
One of the most common questions I receive from personal injury clients is “how long is my lawsuit going to take”. While every case is different, barring any extenuating circumstances, my response is that it will take between two to five years if we are able to settle the claim, and unfortunately longer than that if we have to go to trial for a resolution.
Most people are surprised that it takes that long for them to receive compensation for their injuries and their resulting losses. The duration of each personal injury action is dependent on a number of factors, such as the nature and severity of a person’s injuries, their age, whether or not they are able to return to work, the extent of their recovery, etc. Once a lawyer has been retained, they begin gathering the necessary evidence to prove their client’s damages, which takes time. This will often involve having their client participate in a number of assessments with experts who provide opinions on the client’s injuries, on what his or her future needs for care will be, and what the impact on the client’s ability to work will be. In a motor vehicle accident in Ontario, the lawyer has to make sure there is evidence to prove that their client meets a certain threshold, which is that they have suffered a permanent and serious impairment of an important physical, psychological or mental function.
Having to wait two to five years for compensation is often very difficult for clients, especially if they are not able to fully return to work, or return at all. The client often requires rehabilitation and treatment, and the related expenses add to the client’s financial stresses.
One of the advantages of retaining a personal injury lawyer is that they can assist in maximizing the benefits that an injured person may be able to access following an accident. These benefits include extended health care benefits (often through employment), short and long term disability benefits, and government benefits, such as Canada Pension Plan disability benefits and Ontario Disability Support Plan benefits. After a motor vehicle accident, this would also include accident benefits available through the injured person’s own auto insurance policy.
People who commence a personal injury action after sustaining an injury in an accident have to be patient in waiting for their claim to be resolved. However, a personal injury lawyer can help to make that wait less financially stressful.