How Long Does an Injury Case Take to Settle in Ontario?

| Personal Injury Lawyer

Filing an injury claim is a nerve-wracking experience. While you patiently wait for the legal process to play out, you may wonder, “How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim in Ontario?” During this challenging period, it is normal to feel anxious, confused, and upset. However, it’s imperative to stay calm and patient.

Compensation is usually meant to cover your lost wages and medical expenses. These costs may often seem straightforward. However, several factors, such as the severity of your injury, case details, and the nature of your injury, can affect the settlement period. As a result, personal injury claims in Ontario can take months or even years to resolve.

The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process in Ontario

Based on the details or facts of your case and the injuries you suffered, your lawyer will try to resolve your injury claim directly with the insurer. Once a fair settlement offer is made, your claim will be resolved at this stage. However, if the insurer doesn’t make a reasonable settlement offer, your personal injury lawyer will start a formal lawsuit against the accused party.

The Initial Consultation

A personal injury lawsuit process in Ontario begins with an initial consultation. You (the client) will meet with a lawyer to evaluate the merits of a potential injury case. Also, this is your opportunity to learn more about the lawyer (or law firm) and the services they’ll offer you.

The initial consultation is important for the parties involved – you (client) and your lawyer. It allows the latter to get an in-depth understanding of how the accident happened, the extent and nature of your injuries, the treatment you received, and your prognosis moving forward. Therefore, it’s crucial for you (the claimant) to speak openly so that your lawyer can get all the information needed to assess your claim.

Filing the Claim

Suppose the person or entity that caused your injuries doesn’t make a reasonable settlement offer or isn’t willing to settle the matter out of court. In that case, your lawyer must file a personal injury claim within two years. Your lawyer can do so by filing a comprehensive Statement of Claim at a courthouse, which will then be served to the defendant.

Remember, your personal injury lawyer will need to research extensively and gather as much evidence as possible regarding the extent of your injuries. These pieces of evidence should prove that the defendant is legally liable for your injuries.

Discovery Phase

This is an important preparatory stage of your personal injury claim. During this phase, each side has the chance to gather factual information from each other. The discovery process also eliminates any surprises that, if sprung on the involved parties, could prolong the claim process.

There can be one or multiple examinations for discovery. During these sessions, you (the claimant) and the defendant will be given the opportunity to present your versions of the events and then get questioned. Some of these questions are standard and can be anticipated. However, other questions may be specific to your case and circumstances.

Either party may receive a request for admission in which they will be asked to confirm or deny facts related to the case. Your lawyer should accompany you and guide you through the entire discovery process. Remember, settlement negotiations are possible at any phase, and sometimes, injury claims can be settled at this phase. Reaching a satisfactory compromise means your claim doesn’t need to proceed to trial.

How Long after Discovery is Settlement in Canada?

The documents promised (often under oath) during the discovery should be requested and produced. If you cannot produce them, your lawyer must prove that you did your best to acquire them. Your case can then proceed to pre-trial.

To request a trial date, your lawyer will file a Trial Record with a court and attend Assignment Court about two months late to get your trial date set. The trial often happens 12 to 18 months after the Assignment Court. Note that pre-trial will happen 3-6 months before the actual trial. This is a meeting between the legal representation teams for the parties involved and a pre-trial judge who’s chosen randomly by the court.

Types of Personal Injury Claims in Ontario

They include the following:

Car Accident Claims

Vehicle accident claims arise when you suffer injuries from an accident caused by a reckless driver. If the other driver is responsible for the incident, you are entitled to appropriate compensation whether you are a pedestrian, passenger, or driver.

How Much Will I Get from a Car Accident Settlement in Ontario?

There are three different levels of no-fault accident benefits in Ontario. Minor injury vehicle accident settlements often have a $3,500 payout. Non-catastrophic injuries vehicle accident settlements have up to $65,000 payout. Lastly, catastrophic impairment vehicle accident settlements have up to $1,000,000 payouts.

Calculating the exact amount of personal injury settlement is challenging. While there’s no exact formula to follow, understanding the factors that affect the final value can help manage your expectations. These factors include the severity of your injury, treatment process, certainty of vehicle accident liability, and the cost of the litigation process.

Slip and Fall Claims

Slip and fall injuries occur when you slip or fall on someone else’s property due to poor property maintenance or other reasons. These claims apply to both public and private properties. The common causes of slip and fall accidents include no warnings on broken tiles, wet floors, or floorboards. Note that the property manager is responsible for identifying, repairing, and notifying the users of the hazard.

To establish liability for slips and falls, your lawyer must prove that the property owner had a duty of care that was breached due to failure to keep the premises safe, and as a result, you suffered injuries due to that breach. Compensation for slip and fall accident claims often covers medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Catastrophic Injuries

A catastrophic injury refers to severe injuries that lead to long-term or permanent impairment and disability. These injuries drastically alter an individual’s life, not just from a physical standpoint but emotionally, socially, and economically as well. The implications of such injuries are far-reaching, affecting not only the injured person but also their families and communities.

Factors Affecting the Timeline

They include the following:

Complexity of the Case

When more than one party is involved, either as plaintiffs or defendants, the case can become more complicated. Coordinating between multiple parties, their representatives, and their respective evidence can take time. Similarly, if there’s a dispute over who is at fault, additional investigations and negotiations may be needed. Each side will likely require expert witnesses to support their claims, further extending the case timeline.

Gathering crucial evidence to support your injury claim, like medical records, accident reconstructions, or witness statements, is pivotal. Delays in obtaining these pieces of evidence or disputes over their admissibility can slow down the claim process.

Why is my Lawyer Taking So Long to settle my Case?

Every personal injury case is unique, and the reason for the delay in settling your claim is unique to the facts and circumstances of your claim. However, the common reasons your injury claim is taking longer to settle may revolve around your medical treatment, pending response from the other party, waiting on medical records, and a case that has been filed in court.

Note that most personal injury cases will be resolved within 12 months (from the time you filed it). However, the litigation process or other factors related to your case can further extend its timeline. Most of these factors may be beyond your lawyer’s control.

Willingness to Settle

Insurance companies are in the business of risk management. They might conduct in-depth investigations, challenge the veracity of the claim, or request additional documents and evidence before agreeing to a settlement. This thoroughness, while essential for their operation, can prolong the claim settlement process.

Both parties might have different perspectives on what constitutes a fair settlement. Multiple sessions of settlement negotiations, revisions to terms, or even mediation sessions can add to the timeline if both parties are not immediately aligned in their expectations.

Settlement Considerations

Personal Injury Settlements in Ontario

In Ontario, settling a claim is a critical decision that demands careful consideration. Once an agreement is made and a claim is settled, the decision is irrevocable. Sure, subsequent revelations may arise — whether it’s discovering that injuries are more severe than initially perceived or unforeseen financial burdens materialize. Claimants are barred from revisiting the settlement or seeking additional compensation.

Given the permanence of your decision to settle a personal injury claim, it’s crucial to ensure that the settlement is reasonable and covers the damages endured. Hasty acceptance of an insurer’s initial offer can often be shortsighted. To navigate these complexities and to be assured of a fair settlement, enlist the proficiency of a legal professional before finalizing any agreement.

How Long Should a Personal Injury Case Take to Settle?

The timeline for settling an injury claim varies widely based on its complexities and the specific circumstances of your case. Generally, straightforward cases where liability is clear, and injuries are well-documented might see resolution within a few months. However, if there are disputes over accident faults, challenges in gathering evidence, or the injuries are severe with long-term implications, the settlement process can stretch to a year or even longer.

How long does it take to settle a Tort Claim in Ontario?

Tort claims are lawsuits against the at-fault driver (or motorist) and their insurance service providers. This type of claim is available if you suffered severe and permanent injuries. Also, all shortfalls in the benefits offered by your insurer, along with the costs incurred from the accident, are recoverable through a tort claim.

Suppose you have additional needs beyond the basic provisions in your insurance coverage. In this case, you have grounds for a tort claim. Some of the issues covered in a tort claim include loss of income, companionship, pain and suffering, loss of competitive advantage, housekeeping expenses, loss of guidance, and more.

How Much Do Lawyers Take from Settlement in Ontario?

In Ontario, many personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon securing a settlement or a favourable verdict for the client. Instead of hourly rates or upfront costs, the lawyer takes a pre-agreed percentage of the client’s recovery.

Since rates differ among lawyers and law firms, it’s crucial to discuss and clarify the exact fee structure beforehand. Always ensure you understand the terms and percentages stipulated in the contract before engaging a lawyer or law firm for legal representation.

What is the Accident Benefits Settlement in Ontario?

In Ontario, accident benefits are an essential component of the insurance framework designed to provide support and relief to individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents, irrespective of fault. These benefits may comprise caregiver benefits, attendant care benefits, income replacement, non-earner benefits, death and funeral benefits, and medical and rehabilitation benefits.

How Many Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial in Ontario?

Trials are rare in personal injury claims. Approximately 10% to 15% of claims reach this stage. That means most of the claims are likely to settle out of court. Thus, personal injury claims can be settled at any time before the discovery phase or after pre-trial. These claims can also be settled during a private mediation. This voluntary process can be attended by the parties involved. Successful mediation often ends with a settlement paid to the defendant.


Understanding how vehicle accident settlements in Ontario work is challenging and confusing. There are many factors to consider and strict timelines to adhere to. This is why it’s recommended to collaborate with an experienced personal injury lawyer. This way, you can avoid pitfalls that can derail your personal injury case.

CALL 1-855-225-5725 for a FREE consultation regarding your accident benefits claim.

Remember, you will not pay any fees until your case is won or settled.


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