Once civil litigation is initiated, the parties will engage in examination for discovery and provide all relevant evidence. After the examination for discovery process, there is an opportunity to participate in settlement negotiations. Similar to a formal mediation with a mediator, you and the opposing party will sit down together in a room and work toward bringing about a settlement. Our auto collision lawyers can offer invaluable insight on settling a Barrie car accident case and can guide you on reaching a favourable outcome.
Normally, a civil suit starts with a statement of claim, followed by a statement of defense. There is not a formal settlement process per se, but there can be settlement discussions at any time during a car crash claim. After documents are exchanged and examination for discovery takes place, a professional mediator will try to assist in settling the car accident case. If that does not work, the lawyers will go to a judicial pretrial to meet with the judge who will again attempt to assist the client with settling. If that does not work, the final step is to go to trial and seek resolution there.
The law allows you to settle your no-fault case after a year. The government has recently proposed legislation to prohibit settling no-fault accident benefit cases for lump sums. Auto accident victims would have to wait five years and pay $65,000 deductible, and they are not going to be able to cover that in a settlement unless they are catastrophically impaired.
At Rastin Law, critical decisions are made by you. The decision about whether to settle or whether to go to trial belongs to you. Lawyers can give advice, but ultimately, you decide where to go. You should only settle a motor vehicle accident case because it is in your best interest to do so.
There is always a risk associated with going to trial. Ontario is a loser-pays legal system. If you go to trial and are not successful, there might be some risk involved, so the decision to settle should be based on an economic cost-benefit analysis. What is the likelihood of ending up with more than the compensation offered through a settlement if you do go to trial?
Most people prefer to settle a Barrie car accident case as long as they can get a reasonable offer. Going to trial is useful if the insurance company on the other side is taking an unreasonable position. If the insurance companies decide to low-ball you and take a hard position after looking at all of the medical evidence, engineering evidence, and forensic accountant evidence, getting a fair compensation might require you to take the case to trial.
You should take any paperwork you receive from the police officer, including a motor vehicle accident report, to your initial consultation with a lawyer. You should also bring information about your own insurance company for a no-fault claim. It would be helpful to bring information about where you work in case you are off work and we need to get information from your employer. It would also be helpful to have information about what prescriptions you are on, what doctors you were seeing before and after the accident, what treatments you are getting, and any other witnesses you are aware of who might know about the collision.