Plaintiff In Lawsuit Should Consider the Benefits of Working With a Lawyer


Thinking of Initiating a Lawsuit?

Lawsuits in Ontario often involve personal injury. For example, you slip and fall at a city-owned parking lot, or are in a motor vehicle accident. While a plaintiff can self-represent a case at court without a lawyer, the general consensus is it is better to work with a lawyer. The internet is rich with guides on how to file a claim on your own. Even the Attorney General of Ontario’s website provides the necessary steps and forms to be filed. Nevertheless, the process of taking action to receive compensation is not without complication. And there are shortcomings should you decide to pursue a lawsuit on your own.


Let’s Take a Look at Some of the Basic Terminology

Plaintiff: Also known as the Applicant, this is the person bringing the case against another in a civil proceeding. "Civil” means non-criminal. Note that in Ontario, if you wish to initiate a lawsuit on behalf of someone who is a child, or is disabled, your representation must be made by a lawyer.


A Civil Case: This is another term for lawsuit. In Ontario, civil cases are seen before either Small Claims Court or in the Superior Court of Justice. Small Claims Court sees cases in which the claim is $25,000 or less.


Making/Serving a Claim: As a plaintiff, you commence the proceeding by filing a Statement of Claim, which outlines your grievance. You must know the specific full and legal name of the person or entity you are suing. The court issues the Claim and the defendant, upon being served by the plaintiff, has a specified time to file a Statement of Defence. Within 180 days, should the plaintiff wish to continue to proceed, more documents will need to be filed, such as an Examination for Discovery and Affidavits.


There are fees involved at most steps involved in initiating a lawsuit, which must be paid immediately at the court counter. For example, as of November 6, 2016, the price to file a Statement of Claim is $220. Fee waivers are possible for those with low gross annual income, and require the court to access your personal financial information.


Expert Guidance

Many make the decision to pursue a civil matter on his/her own due to financial considerations. A plaintiff might worry that a lawyer will be too expensive. But in the matter of personal injury, most experienced personal injury lawyers provide free consultations. Then, if you are ready to move forward with the lawyer representing you as the plaintiff, the lawyer will work on a contingency basis. That means the lawyer is paid when you receive financial settlement.  By working with a lawyer, you may find negotiation and mediation as an alternative to the frequently slower and more expensive court system.


There is accuracy in the saying that time equals money. Consider the time involved in issuing complicated documents, attending court to file the documents, and attending proceedings. Consider the fact that there are a multitude of precise rules and deadlines that must be comprehended and observed.


If considering being a plaintiff in a civil action, give serious consideration to working with a lawyer.