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How Long Will it Take to Resolve Your Negligence Claim?

June 10th, 2020
Nancy Sarmento Barkhordari
JD Barrister & Solicitor

If you’ve recently been involved in a car accident, workplace safety issue, or another personal injury claim, you’re bound to have a multitude of questions running through your mind. First and foremost, you might be wondering if you even have a case. And if it turns out you do, how long will it take to resolve your case and receive compensation for damages if you decide to pursue a claim? 

Negligence claims can be brought in a variety of circumstances where one party alleges damages caused by another’s party’s actions/inaction. These kinds of claims can range from simple to complex, depending on the wrongful act, the nature of the investigation, the number of parties involved, and the issues in dispute. These factors can also contribute to the time involved in litigating and/or resolving negligence claims. In this article, we will examine some of the factors relevant to achieving a timely resolution. 

The Complexity of the Matter Does Matter

Negligence claims may arise from relatively straight-forward and easy-to-understand circumstances, such as a rear-end collision. On the other hand, negligence claims can also arise in a professional setting, involving complex medical procedures or the provision of inaccurate professional advice. Although the event/wrong in question is one factor affecting the duration and scope of litigation, the nature and complexity of the issues in dispute can lengthen the road to resolution.

Generally, the following may affect the litigation process and lengthen the time involved in achieving the resolution of a matter:

  1. Subject Matter and the Investigation Process;
  2. The Complexity of Multi-Party Actions In a Negligence Claim;  
  3. Arguing Issues Like Causation, Contributory Negligence and Liability;
  4. The Cooperation of The Parties In a Personal Injury Claim;
  5. The Position of the Parties In Litigation and Trials; and,
  6. Institutional Delays For Trials and Pre-Trials.

1. Subject Matter and the Investigation Process

The investigation of an incident (which is the subject matter of the negligence claim) can be relatively straightforward in uncomplicated cases such as a single rear-end collision involving no witnesses. In those cases, you may have an officer’s notes and a motor vehicle accident report.  Eventually, the parties will provide evidence as well.   

However, in incidents involving a complicated medical procedure, the investigation progress may be more difficult. For example, the incident may involve a number of parties – including numerous doctors and nurses. Additionally, the injured party will need to investigate medical records to determine what went wrong. The notes could be complex, lengthy, or hard to understand, resulting in the need for feedback from an expert. 

2. The Complexity of Multi-Party Actions In a Negligence Claim

The number of parties tied to an action is another factor affecting the length of the litigation process. For example, a claim involving several parties may involve numerous defences, crossclaims, and counterclaims. This will mean that more lawyers will be involved in the litigation process and they will need to work together in scheduling matters, such as discovery or pre-trial. In addition, an abundance of parties involved with an action may mean a large amount of written and in-person discovery. Depending on the nature of the claim, the issues in dispute, and the complexity of the incident giving rise to the negligence claim, the discovery process may become lengthy and complicated. 

3. Arguing Issues Like Causation, Contributory Negligence, and Liability 

Some negligence matters can arise from a simple event, but still have a long course of litigation.  This occurs when there are other issues related to the litigation.  In some cases, these issues can be resolved amongst counsel. In other cases, they may require adjudication by a court. 

Some of the more common issues can include:

Other issues in dispute can involve problems over limitation, amendments, and claims for contribution and indemnity. These are the kinds of issues that would ordinarily be resolved through a motion before the court. 

What About Damages?

Negligence claims will usually include damages, which will often be in dispute between the parties. Sometimes this can be resolved at mediation and the file will settle. Where that is not possible, the issue of damages may need to be decided at a trial. Alternatively, parties can agree on damages before they head into trial, and deal with other issues such as causation or contributory negligence before the court. 

4. The Cooperation of the Parties In a Personal Injury Claim

Oftentimes, the conduct, responsiveness, and co-operation of the parties are essential to a smooth litigation and resolution process. When parties don’t cooperate or adhere to timelines, it can influence the length of the legal action in a significant way. 

What if the Parties Do Not Respond On Time?

Usually, the parties are required to adhere to certain timelines for filing and serving documents. If documents are not filed on time, litigation can be held up by the non-responsiveness of one or multiple parties.  

For example, a plaintiff or defendant who has not satisfied filing obligations or who has not answered requests for materials may slow the progress of litigation. As a result of the non-responsiveness, the parties may have to put off resolutions until filings or requests for information are satisfied. The risk for this kind of delay may increase with multiple party claims. 

5. The Position of the Parties In Litigation and Trials

Usually, the parties are open to hearing each other’s positions with the view of resolution.  In some cases,  parties may take a hard-line position. This can lead to drawn-out litigation and even trial. In these cases, a judge or jury may conclude on the issues between the parties.

6. Institutional Delays

Many cases are resolved without the need for a trial. When the parties agree, these cases can be resolved at the early stage of litigation, before the examination for discovery ever takes place. Matters can also be resolved at mediation, which is still in advance of a trial. 

Some complicated matters may be resolved via a special motion (often referred to as a summary judgment motion) earlier in the litigation or at a pre-trial in the later stages. Where the parties cannot resolve the issues in dispute during any pre-trial preparation, a trial may be necessary.  These motions are scheduled in accordance with the court’s availability.

It is important to note that pre-trials and trials in negligence matters must be scheduled in accordance with the court’s availability. Sometimes, a court may not be able to accommodate a civil pre-trial and trial for one or more years from the date of booking.  

How We Can Help You With Your Case

We at Gosai Law are ready to help solve any challenges that may be encountered as a result of litigating your negligence claim. While it cannot be denied that the length of a negligence claim can be influenced by a variety of factors, we are prepared to mitigate these factors to the very best of our ability. We are ready to tackle a multitude of scenarios, as set out in this article, and get you the compensation you deserve.

Our team prides itself on our ability to stay diligently on top of deadlines and will make the success of your case our number one priority. Our negligence matters primarily work on a contingency fee – meaning, if you don’t get paid, we don’t either. In order to ensure your case is kept moving forward, we will continuously follow up with opposing counsel, doing everything in our power to ensure that delays are kept to an absolute minimum. 

While our physical office location is currently closed, we are continuing to be an advocate for your case remotely. Please reach out to us at (905) 595-2225 or contact info@gosailaw.com for more information on how we can begin working on your negligence claim as soon as possible.

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