Whether you’re considering filing an injury claim or your claim is ongoing, you may be wondering what comes next. We put together this handy list of steps to a Personal Injury claim with Litco Law so you can know more about the process and what to expect.
Step 1: Initial Consultation
How should I prepare for my initial consultation?
At Litco Law, consults are always free. After booking with us, you’ll receive an email confirmation with the date, time, and location of your appointment – along with a link to our LitCafé, where you can pre-order a delicious hot or cold beverage of your choosing to be ready when you arrive. Most consultations last approximately 60 minutes, although your appointment may run longer if more time is needed to gather important details and answer all your questions.
What do I need to bring to my consultation?
We will ask for your full legal name, phone number, address, Alberta Health Care Number, and Social Insurance Number (SIN). Bring your photo ID, insurance information, any witness statements you may have, and a police report (if you have it).
You may also want to bring a list of any questions you would like to ask the lawyer.
What types of questions will be asked in my personal injury consultation?
- Details about how the accident occurred:
- What was the location of the accident? What happened? Where were you going? What did you feel? What did you see?
- Details about your injuries:
- Did you have any pre-existing injuries? What injuries do you have from the incident (physical and psychological)? Do you have a family doctor? Have you received any treatment for your injuries? If so, which types of treatment and what treatment providers?
- Insurance information:
- What’s your insurance information (if applicable)? Who is your Section B insurer? Do you know the names of the other parties involved?
- For employees: What is the name of your employer, your role, time worked, and dates missed due to the accident?
- For students: What is the name of your school, principal/teachers, and dates missed due to the accident?
- Details about how the accident occurred:
Based on all this information, the lawyer will be able to determine whether you have grounds for a claim. At this stage, many prospective clients just want to find out if they are eligible to file a claim. Some people want to get started right away; others may want to take some time to think it over. We encourage you to do what feels right to you. There’s no pressure. And if you do choose us, you don’t pay us anything until (and unless) you get paid.
Step 2: Hiring a Lawyer
During your initial consult, we’ll explain what the Contingency Fee Agreement is and how it works. Many people worry that they won’t be able to afford a personal injury lawyer. In reality, many injury lawyers in Alberta work on a contingency fee basis. This means two things:
- You won’t have to pay anything upfront
- Our fee is based on a percentage of the settlement you receive once we resolve the case
At Litco Law, we’ll also cover the cost of disbursements throughout the claim, so you don’t have to worry about costly legal bills. We never bill by the hour, and consultations are always free. If you decide to proceed with an injury claim, you’ll sign a contract to hire (retain) our legal services and get the ball rolling. At any point in the process, our team will gladly answer any questions you may have.
Step 3: Pre-Litigation
First off, what is pre-litigation, and how do I prepare for it?
This is the period after you have hired a lawyer but before the other side has retained their lawyer. During this stage, we are usually dealing with a representative of the other party’s insurance company. We are busy gathering medical treatment notes, medical reports, loss of income information, and any out-of-pocket expenses you may have as a result of your injuries. Your legal team will contact you regularly with updates, ensuring you have access to Section B or any third-party insurance benefits you may be entitled to. During this time, your lawyer will be reviewing the evidence we receive in order to determine a fair amount of compensation you could be entitled to.
How long does this stage last?
It depends on the claim. Pre-litigation could last only a few weeks, or it could last several years. In some cases, a claim is resolved in the pre-litigation stage. In other cases, the other party’s insurer will hire a lawyer as soon as we serve the Statement of Claim. If the other party is unwilling to offer fair compensation, we will request they file a Statement of Defense so we can proceed with litigation.
Statement of Claim – a document we prepare and file at the courthouse to preserve your right to sue. The Statement of Claim needs to be filed before the two-year anniversary of your claim.
Statement of Defense – a document filed in response to our Statement of Claim, usually filed by the defendant’s insurance company.
Step 4: Litigation
What is litigation?
Litigation refers to the legal process that occurs after the defendant files their Statement of Defense and lasts until your claim is resolved. It may involve d certain steps to prove the extent of your injuries, but do not worry, our team will guide you every step of the way.
What can I expect during the litigation process?
During this stage, you will receive regular updates from our office. You’ll continue to receive any recommended treatments (i.e., physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, etc.) and attend your medical appointments. We may need you to confirm the names of specialists, doctors, or treatment providers you’ve seen regarding injuries. You can easily send receipts for out-of-pocket expenses to us via our Client Portal. We may request information from your employer if you have missed work or lost income as a result of your injuries and inability to work. At this stage, you may need to attend Questioning, mediation, or possibly even a trial (in rare cases).
What can I expect during Questioning?
Many lawsuits are settled after Questioning (also known as ‘discovery’) without ever having to go to trial. Questioning gives both sides an opportunity to bring forward their evidence and assess the strengths or weaknesses of the case.
During Questioning, the defense lawyer will likely ask you questions about what happened in the accident, where you were injured, the extent of your injuries, and how your life has been affected by the incident. You may be asked questions about how your work or school was impacted, what types of treatment you have attended, any ongoing injuries or treatments, how your ability to keep up housekeeping chores has been affected, and any out-of-pocket expenses you have had as a result of your injuries. Our lawyers can also question the other party about how the accident occurred and what caused the accident. Our legal team will ensure you are well prepared and know what to expect.
What is mediation (and what can I expect)?
A highly effective and less stressful alternative to litigation, mediation may give you and the opposing party the opportunity to reach a settlement without ever having to see the inside of a courtroom. Mediation usually takes a full day. In some cases, you may attend mediation more than once in order to come to a resolution that’s agreeable to both sides.
How long does litigation last?
In short, until the claim is resolved. Depending on the severity of injuries or complexity of the claim, litigation may last a few weeks to several years. Litigation is ongoing from the time the defense lawyer files the Statement of Defense until the claim is resolved.
Step 5: Settlement – Case Closed!
What can I expect during my injury settlement?
We will contact you to schedule a meeting in our office, sign some paperwork, provide a breakdown of all funds received, and either direct deposit the funds or provide you with a cheque. In most cases, injury claims are settled out of court in less than three years, but each claim is different. The length of time will depend on many factors, including how complicated the accident was, the number of people involved, the seriousness of your injuries, and the length of time it takes you to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
Have questions about filing an injury claim or booking an appointment? Call us today or fill out our contact form online, and a member of our team will reach out to you. You will always hear from us within 24 business hours. Best of all, you get a legal team that truly cares.