Daily life is more challenging these days. It is even more so if you are recovering from an injury, such as from a car accident or a slip and fall. Moreover, you are likely concerned with how this pandemic affects your personal injury claim. Here are answers to some questions you may have with respect to a recent injury or getting closure on your personal injury case.
If I am injured from an accident, can I still sue at this time?
Lawsuits can still be started during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to file claims electronically during the pandemic.
Although in Ontario injured persons generally have two years to start a personal injury lawsuit, it is recommended you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. This recommendation applies during this pandemic even though the two-year limitation period mentioned above has been temporarily suspended retroactive to Monday, March 16, 2020.
Your lawyer will advise you on steps to take to gather and preserve any evidence to support your case.
Do I still need to go to a doctor to get a medical opinion or assessment?
If you are suffering from symptoms you should consult with a doctor, whether it be via a personal visit with the doctor or via phone consultation. It is recommended you contact your doctor before arriving at their office.
Of course, if your symptoms are serious, you should go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.
With respect to medical assessments that are required by an insurance company, they are being rescheduled during this stay-at-home time period.
If I am in a car accident and need to go to a collision reporting centre, should I still go?
It is recommended you contact the collision reporting centre before you visit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, centres may have reduced hours and particular screening measures.
Will my personal injury case still go to trial?
Parties should expect delays to their personal injury cases as a result of certain court operations being suspended. Given that the scope of court operations are changing and vary from region to region during this pandemic, it is recommended you contact your lawyer if you would like to know how the pandemic affects your particular case.
For example, the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario had suspended most of their operations. Some of the limited exceptions included certain urgent civil and family matters where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result if there is no judicial hearing. At the time of publishing this blog post, the Toronto region of the Superior Court of Justice announced a “first phase expansion of remote hearings”. These hearings include pre-trial conferences that were cancelled between March 16 and May 31, 2020 due to the court closure.
Are my examinations for discovery still going ahead during the pandemic?
An examination for discovery is a procedural part of your lawsuit which takes place after the defendant has filed their statement of defence. It is basically a question and answer exercise where the lawyers question the other party about the accident. This is almost always an in-person procedure. Given that these can occur through videoconferencing, and if all parties agree, they will likely proceed during the pandemic.
Is my mediation still going ahead during the pandemic?
In most cases mediation is mandatory in Ontario. A mediation usually takes place after discoveries have been completed. It is basically a fancy word for a settlement meeting which is presided over and facilitated by a mediator. Given that these can occur through videoconferencing, they will likely proceed during the pandemic.
If you have any other questions related to your personal injury incident, you can reach Douglas Strelshik at 647.348.5422 to discuss the facts of your case. Douglas Strelshik has been representing injured parties in personal injury claims for over 30 years.
Stay positive and safe!