Let me share a story with you. When a personal injury action settles, and there are minors involved (minors being persons under the age of 18), the Court will need to approve the settlement.
The reason the personal injury settlement needs to be approved by a personal injury law judge, is because the Court wants to ensure that minors aren’t taken advantage of. Imagine what would happen if….
the personal injury case of the minor settled for over a million dollars, but the evil parents of the minor took all of the money for themselves? Imagine if the minor’s money was used inappropriately, like to pay off a long standing gambling debt, or on other vices like alcohol or illegal drugs? Not good.
Accordingly, Toronto’s personal injury law Courts, and personal injury courts across Ontario, which are referred to as “civil courts” need to approve any settlement of a personal injury action involving a minor to ensure that the rights of the minor are protected. This is certainly a good idea.
Here is the issue. Because of the lack of resources in the personal injury Court system, there is a significant back log/delay to get the Court’s approval. Judges are certainly not to blame for this problem. It’s a systemic problem arising from a lack of resources allocated by government to our personal injury law (civil) Courts.
Take this example. A file of Goldfinger Personal Injury Law’s Toronto Personal Injury Lawyers settled not too long ago for an undisclosed amount. The file involved a brain injury accident. The brain injury lawyer Toronto Goldfinger Personal Injury Law brought a motion in writing to a personal injury law judge in Toronto. The motion was on consent, meaning that the motion could be heard in writing. This is supposed to be quicker than an oral motion before a personal injury law judge (civil judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice).
A day after the motion materials were filed with Court, the Judge contacted a lawyer from our office to discuss the brain injury settlement for the accident case. The Judge advised that he had signed the Judgment. This was fantastic news.
The only problem was now that the brain injury judgment would have to be entered into the personal injury law Court system in Toronto. We were advised that this would take between 6-9 weeks! This meant that our brain injured client would have to wait 6-9 weeks to get his money from the brain injury settlement which we got for him.
We wrote to the chief administrative staff with the Court in Toronto to advise them that the wait time of 6-9 weeks to enter the judgment into the system was unacceptable to our brain injured client.The brain injury judgment was entered into the Toronto Court’s personal injury law system just two days later. Had we not advised the Court of this issue, the brain injured accident victim would still be waiting for his settlement moneys.
Moral of the story: the Courts of Toronto and across Ontario are very slow. This is a resource problem and if your lawyer does not take the bull by the horns, your personal injury law or brain injury case can still be waiting in limbo.