How and when can I start a lawsuit?

when can I begin a lawsuit

Oct 27, 2016

If you have experienced an injury or financial loss because of a business, an organization or a person, you are entitled to bring a civil lawsuit against that party. Your choice to sue or start a lawsuit with that party should be done so with consideration and the legal guidance of a civil litigation lawyer.

The course of a lawsuit in the Ontario Court system is complicated and a lawyer will ensure best results. To better understand how your lawsuit may play out, this is how and when you can start a lawsuit.

When you can bring a lawsuit in Ontario

There are three general reasons for when and why you may bring a lawsuit against a person, organization, business or government. Firstly, you can bring a lawsuit for defamation, also known as libel (printed) or slander (spoken). Defamation occurs when your  or your businesses reputation has been damaged because of a statement made to others. You may also start a lawsuit for a personal injury, common civil lawsuits include slip and fall accidents, car accidents and assault. Lastly, you can bring a lawsuit if you have experienced financial loss because of a broken contract.

For your civil lawsuit to be successful, you must prove/satisfy specific requirements. For instance if you file a personal injury claim, you and your lawyer must be able to prove that you did in fact suffer an injury and that the other parties improper care was what caused you injury.  

If the courts find that your lawsuit is unwarranted or without merit, you may be held financially responsible for the legal costs of the other party and the court’s expenses. It is important that you consult with a lawyer to see if they envision the success of your claim.

How to start a lawsuit in Ontario

Civil lawsuits follow procedures set out by the courts that they are filed in. Where and how you file your lawsuit depends on the amount of your claim. For instance, if you are suing for $25,000 or less your civil lawsuit will be filed in Ontario Small Claims Court. If you are suing for an amount between $25,000 and $100,000 you will follow the Simplified Procedure Rule in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice. Finally, if you are suing for an amount of $100,000 or more you will do so under the ordinary rules in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice.

Before you file a claim in any of these courts, you should contact a civil litigation lawyer for legal advice and depending on  the complexity of your claim, retain legal representation.

Once you have had a lawyer review your claim and have received recommendation to proceed, you will need to write and file a Statement of Claim. Next the defending party is required to write and file a Statement of Defence, or a Defence. The next steps in the lawsuit depend on how your case moves forward, click here to learn more about Ontario Small Claims Court.

If you are considering filing a lawsuit in Niagara, connect with a civil litigation lawyer from St. Catharines’ law firm, Chown Cairns.