January 17 2013

Standard Steps in a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim may be settled at any stage of the proceedings. As the value of the claim is dependent upon the severity and duration of the injury, however, we usually recommend that a claim not be settled until the injury is fully resolved, or until a doctor has given a firm and reliable prognosis.

Preliminary Steps

Typically, the first step we take is to gather information. Liability will be investigated by obtaining police reports, witness statements, vehicle damage information, etc. Later on, once your physicians and other caregivers have had an opportunity to fully assess your injuries, we will request medical reports. If the injury has resolved, these reports will outline the entire extent of the injury. If the injury is ongoing, the reports would be considered interim reports and final reports would be ordered at a later date.

In addition to liability and medical information, other information may also need to be obtained to substantiate any claims for loss of income, loss of housekeeping capacity, cost of future care or out of pocket expenses that have been incurred.

If necessary, we will retain experts to assist in valuing your claim. These experts might include accident reconstruction engineers, biomechanical engineers, medical specialists, cost of care experts, vocational consultants, economists, etc.

Once your injuries have resolved or your doctors have been able to provide a final prognosis, we will assess your claim and, with your instructions, enter into settlement negotiations with the at fault party’s insurer. If an agreement can be reached the claim will be settled at that stage.

Statement of Claim

If your injury is prolonged and your physicians are unable to provide a final prognosis in a timely manner, or if an agreement cannot be reached with the at fault insurer, it will be necessary to start a legal action. This is done by preparing a Statement of Claim and filing it on your behalf at the courthouse. A Statement of Claim is simply a document that summarizes the facts giving rise to the claim and outlines the damages that are being claimed. In personal injury claims, a Statement of Claim must generally be filed within two years from the date of the incident that gave rise to the injury.

Service of Statement of Claim

Once the Statement of Claim is filed, it must be personally served upon the Defendant(s). This typically requires hiring a process server who personally hands the Statement of Claim to the Defendant(s). Usually, as a courtesy, a copy of the Statement of Claim will also be sent to the insurer.

If it is desirable to move the file into the litigation process quickly, a demand for a Statement of Defence will be made shortly thereafter. If, however, settlement with the insurer directly is still likely, negotiations may continue without a Statement of Defence needing to be filed.

Other sections in this article include:

  • Statement of Defence
  • Affidavit Records
  • Examination for Discovery
  • Undertakings
  • Independent Medical Examinations
  • Judicial Dispute Resolution and Mediation
  • Trial

Read the entire pdf – Standard Steps in a Personal Injury Claim.