Being involved in litigation is miserable. It’s true!
Do you think it’s “fun” to be surrounded by lawyers? Is it fun to be compelled to attend at an Examination for Discovery to be grilled by lawyers you’ve never met? Is it “fun” going to Court? Do you consider it a good time having to be examined by a doctor who is hired by an insurance company to defeat your case or to deny your benefits?
Courthouses and court reporters offices are not meant to be “fun”. Litigation is not designed to be “fun” either.
Taking a step back and putting yourself in the shoes of a personal injury client; the litigation process can be quite aggravating and frustrating.
It’s very time consuming.
The laws don’t make sense.
The laws provide more protections to the at fault Defendant than they do to the injured Plaintiff!
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pursue your case. It means that it’s important for a Plaintiff litigant to have the right mindset as their case goes through litigation. Having the wrong frame of mind will cause undue stress, hardship and anxiety. But all of that can be put at ease if you approach your case with the right frame of mind.
It’s said that “You must choose to take hold of what you can control and let go of what you cannot. You cannot control your circumstances, but you can control your character. You cannot control the actions of others, but you can control the choices you make.”
A Plaintiff must accept that once their case begins, they have little control over the litigation itself.
A Plaintiff will want the case settled immediately. Alternatively, they will want their day in Court right away.
When it comes to personal injury litigation in the modern age in Ontario, that’s simply not possible. That may have been the case in the 1950’s or 1960’s, but a lot has changed since that time. The wheels of justice turn rather slowly in Ontario.
As a Plaintiff, you cannot control how quickly (or slowly) your case passes through the Court. The cold, hard, truth is that all of our Courts are woefully backlogged and underfunded. Most Court resources are devoted to the criminal justice system, or to the family courts. They are not devoted to hear civil claims like personal injury cases. The thinking behind that philosophy is that money can wait. The rights or an accused in a criminal case and the rights of families in family law cases cannot.
Bearing that in mind, an injured accident victim needs to control the things which s/he can control. At Goldfinger Injury Lawyers, we do our best to remind our clients of this. Our lawyers point out that things which are within one’s control are things like focussing on one’s wellness and rehabilitation. This means seeing doctors, attending treatment, doing exercises, remembering to take prescribed medication; and working hard to get better. These are things which are within your control; as oppose to all of that legal and Court stuff which is outside of a Plaintiff’s control.
What complicates matters even further is that in the majority of personal injury cases, the Defendant is an experienced, sophisticated and deep pocketed litigant. The Defendant’s case, and all of the litigation strategy behind that case is being orchestrated by a multi-national insurance company. Your case is NOT their first rodeo. They have hundreds, if not tens of thousands of cases on the go!
Your case is personal, because it’s yours and it’s likely your first time having to retain a personal injury lawyers and your first time having to use the Courts to sue. On the other hand, the Defendant insurer is defending lawsuits all the time. This is what they do! For the insurer, your case is part of their business. But the case is very personal for the Plaintiff. This stark contrast between a very personal injury case vs. a business transaction for the insurance company is quite remarkable. It’s hard for emotions not to get involved from the Plaintiff side. The Defendant insurer will take a cold, methodical and calculated approach in handing the case. The Plaintiff’s approach is quite the opposite which creates a remarkable dynamic as the litigation proceeds.
The best piece of advice we can give to our clients is to NOT think about the lawsuit. The more that you think about the lawsuit, the more frustrated you will get. It’s very common for litigants to get frustrated and anxious with the litigation process given all of the ups and downs involved. None of it makes any common sense, because our legal system is not designed that way. The law, by it’s very nature, has a lot of rules which need to be followed. And with rules comes a lot of red tape, delay, and time to get things done right. Not to mention the legalities involving privacy rights, security records from third parties, exchanging documents, and getting all of then lawyers and litigants in the same room and the same time. Getting all of the lawyers on the same schedule is much like herding cats. There are delays which are attributable to the litigants, to non-parties, and even to the Court. Sometimes there is a shortage of judges, or a shortage of courtrooms, or even a shortage of court staff. These are the harsh realities of litigating cases in Ontario which most parties don’t expect when they think of our legal system.
So, when we ask our clients to focus on things which they can control, we mean it. The majority of the twists and turns involved in a Courtroom or a Court case are outside of the control of the parties. If a party lives and dies with every peak and valley; twist and turn which their case takes, they will end up more stressed and wondering why they began the rollercoaster ride to begin with. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite all of the ups and downs which a personal injury case can, and will have; Plaintiffs can take some comfort in knowing that approximately 99% of personal injury cases settle outside of the Courtroom. How long those settlements take varies. But the overwhelming majority of personal injury cases settle despite all of the huffing and puffing from the lawyers and all of the delays in our court system.