Getting People Help Sooner – Obtaining Relief In an Era of Judicial Delay
June 27, 2017 By: Stephanie Lewis Read Time: 2 minutes
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Money might not buy happiness, but it certainly does pay for services and much-needed care.

Help after an injury

When faced with an injury, access to funds can mean the difference between being able to afford newly required supports and struggling to do so. These funds can allow for life-improving measures such as attendant care, house-keeping services or home alterations. An essential role of our personal injury lawyers is obtaining these funds for our clients as efficiently as possible. Our priority is on ensuring our clients get the support that they need.

While our focus is on obtaining the required medical evidence to support early and reasonable settlements of claims, there are situations in which these settlements remain elusive. For clients who are not provided with reasonable settlement offers by those who have injured them or by their insurers and, as a result, whose cases do not settle prior to trial, the gateway to much-needed funds is the trial itself.

The Jordan decision

A recently decided Supreme Court of Canada case has inserted a new reality for local personal injury lawyers: due to a shortage of judges, their cases may – and likely will – be pushed back in favour of criminal trials. As a result of R v. Jordan, criminal trials involving serious offences (like murder, for example) are required to be tried within 30 months. While this may sound reasonable, when you implement this in a judicial system that is already short on judges, the result is to take resources away from other areas of law, like personal injury trials.

The impact of the Jordan decision is that cases that are ready to be set down for trial are being given trial dates that are at least two years away. However, it can take years to get a case trial-ready. Indeed, in order to become ready for trial, cases need to go through a series of stages, including drafting the relevant legal pleadings, attending examinations, and conducting mediations. They also often require the preparation of time-consuming expert reports.

Access to care

In this era of trial delays, our focus at Nelligan O’Brien Payne continues to be on what we can do to ensure timely access to care. For example, we can expedite access to care by starting claims earlier. Anyone who has been in an accident will appreciate that you don’t know the true impact that your injuries have had and will continue to have on your life until you have lived with them for a while. This can mean waiting to issue a legal claim, but it doesn’t have to. We can start claims earlier and amend the court documents as needed. When implemented in appropriate cases, this can result in a case being ready for trial earlier.

The judge shortage is a significant challenge for all those involved in a personal injury case in Ontario. While the ultimate solution is to appoint more judges, in the interim the focus for our personal injury lawyers will be to create timely access to care for our clients.

If you think we could be of assistance to you or a loved one, please contact our Personal Injury Group.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2019 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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