Sustaining injuries and dealing with the subsequent pain and suffering is one of the most difficult situations one can face in their lifetime. If you sustained your injury in a car accident, you could apply for no-fault statutory accident benefits to cover medical costs, rehabilitation, and other resulting expenses and losses. But what happens when another party’s negligence causes your injuries? What happens when you slip and fall on a business premise due to broken tiles?
In this article, we’ll explore Tort Claims in Ontario, a way provided by Tort Law to obtain damages from parties that cause injuries through negligence or wrongful acts.
What is a Tort Claim?
A tort claim starts with an act or omission to act causing another party to sustain an injury. This act or omission to act is referred to as “tort.” The word Tort is derived from the Latin word “tortum,” which means “a wrong or injustice.” Therefore, if you sustain an injury due to someone else’s actions or failure to act, you can file a tort claim to seek compensation.
In a nutshell, a tort claim is a compensation claim for injuries or damages suffered due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act. A successful claim requires adequate evidence that another person’s negligence or actions caused significant harm to the plaintiff.
The compensation sought by the injured party in a tort claim comprises general damages (pain and suffering damages) and specific damages (economic losses resulting from the injury), such as loss of earning capacity and lost income.
Canadian Tort Law
Canadian Tort Law is one of the cornerstones of the Canadian justice system and a huge part of private law. Under this law, when someone harms you, you can hold them liable and seek compensation for the damage done.
Tort Law aims to compensate the injured party. Unlike Canadian criminal law, it doesn’t look to punish those deemed liable for the damage. However, the liable party can still be held accountable for any action that is criminal in nature. For example, if a victim suffers injuries due to assault, they can file a tort for monetary compensation, and the liable party can still face criminal charges because assault is a crime.
According to Canadian tort law, there are four basic elements to most tort claims:
- Duty of care – did the liable party have a duty of care to you? (unintentional torts)
- Breach of duty of care – did they ignore or neglect their duty of care?
- Causation – was your accident a direct result of the liable party’s act or failure to act?
- Injury – did you sustain your injury from the accident resulting from the liable party’s action or failure to act?
Since Tort Law falls under Canadian civil law, tort cases are settled in civil courts, and the results are usually monetary awards (settlement) to indemnify the victim.
Types of Tort Claims in Ontario
In personal injury law, tort claims are divided into several categories based on negligence and intention. Here are the categories and a breakdown of what each entails to help you narrow down which tort claim to make when harmed by another party.
· Intentional Tort Claims
An intentional tort claim is made when the plaintiff’s acts were deliberate and intended to injure or interfere with the victim’s rights. Since the acts are intentional, this category comprises the most serious torts.
Some examples of intentional torts include battery, sexual assault, unconsented medical procedures and vandalism. As mentioned earlier, some deliberate torts are also crimes, and the liable party may face charges under the Criminal Code in addition to being sued for compensation.
· Unintentional Tort Claims
Unintentional torts, otherwise called negligent torts, occur when the plaintiff’s acts were unreasonably unsafe, i.e., they acted with negligence, causing injuries to the victim. This type of tort is the most common because people are mostly injured due to the carelessness of others rather than intentional/ malicious acts.
In Canada, everyone has a legal duty to care for others. In other words, we should take reasonable care to ensure that negligent acts do not cause harm to others. This is referred to as the standard of care of a reasonable person. It’s an important concept in unintentional tort claims as the court must ask, “did the defendant meet the standard of care expected from a reasonable person?”
Note that negligence can be shared between parties. For example, if you were partly responsible for your injuries due to carelessness, you will be held partly liable for your damages. The other party will only compensate a certain percentage of your damages per their level of liability. Remember that other standards, including establishing cause and remoteness, must be met to establish liability.
Examples of unintentional tort claims include car accidents, work accidents, dog bites, and medical malpractice.
· Strict Liability Torts
In strict liability torts, the defendant is held automatically liable for any injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Strict liability means that there is no need to establish whether the injuries were the defendant’s fault (intentional or negligent act) before they are held legally responsible.
Settling Tort Claims in Ontario
If you sustain an injury due to another person’s fault, you can file a claim against them to obtain compensation for many expenses, including medical costs, loss of income, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs and more.
The damages you obtain will depend on your case details, including the severity of your injury and its impact on your work, lifestyle and future.
Before you file your claim, it’s crucial to ensure that you have every detail and document in order. This increases your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. Therefore, save all your medical records, accident scene photos, and other related documents, as they’ll make a huge difference to your case.
Remember that per the Ontario Statute of Limitations, you have up to 2 years to make your personal injury claim. After two years, you lose your legal right to claim benefits from the other party.
Also, you have up to 120 days to notify the other party of your intent to make a claim. If you’re looking to sue the municipality, you have up to 10 days to notify them. If you wait any longer, it could adversely affect your case.
At Bergel Magence Personal Injury Lawyers, we help you prepare and file your claim, and then fight for what you deserve as you focus on treatment and recovery. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we have the skills and knowledge to protect your rights and help you recover maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your tort claim in Toronto.
Bergel Magence Personal Injury Law Firm Will Fight for You
Bergel Magence personal injury lawyers have five decades of experience representing injured persons in Ontario. Our legal team has the capacity and knowledge to fight for your tort claim and ensure you receive a favourable settlement per your case. We will guide you through the complexities of the personal injury law process and stay committed to obtaining what you deserve.
Don’t hesitate to call us today for expert legal advice. You only pay once we win.
Tort Claims FAQs
What’s the difference between a tort and a crime?
A tort is a civil law act, while a crime is a criminal act under the Criminal Code. In tort cases, victims are compensated for the harm suffered, and the accused are not punished. In criminal cases, the goal is to punish the defendant for their actions.
Note that some incidences can result in both a crime and a tort. For example, a car accident caused by an impaired driver will lead to a criminal charge (impaired driving is illegal), and injured persons can pursue compensation by filing a tort claim.
How long does a tort take to settle?
A tort claim can take several months to a few years to settle, depending on the complexity of your specific case. At Bergel Magence, we take the necessary time to ensure you receive the maximum settlement you deserve.
Why should I hire a Toronto tort lawyer?
Tort Law is a complex area of private law. It’s important to retain an experienced Toronto tort lawyer with the expertise to guide you through the tort claim process and vigorously advocate for and protect your interests. An experienced Toronto tort lawyer can also help you establish and prove the basis for your tort claim against the defendant.
How much is it to retain a Toronto tort lawyer?
At Bergel Magence Personal Injury Lawyers, we work on a contingency basis. This means that our legal fee is a percentage of the compensation we recover for you. If we don’t win, you don’t pay legal fees.
By working on a contingency basis, every injured person in Ontario gets access to high-quality legal representation without worrying about retainer fees and other legal expenses.