An understanding of “lawsuit” & when can you start it

A Statement of Claim to start your civil litigation can be filed against any other person, whether incorporated or not if it has caused you financial loss or physical damage. You may be able to sue the other party irrespective of the fact that the loss was intended or not intended. A deliberately inflicted loss may also give rise to something called punitive or exemplary damages, where your recovery may exceed your actual loss. Filing a lawsuit will have serious consequences for both the parties. In Ontario, we have a loser pay system. This means that the person who loses the lawsuit will usually be ordered to pay not only their own lawyer’s bill but also all or part of the other party’s lawyer’s bill as well. The lawyer’s bill for a lawsuit that goes all the way to trial can easily reach a large sum amounting to thousands of dollars. Thus, it is advisable to carefully consider the consequences even before starting. A defendant can be ordered to pay the plaintiff’s legal costs even if he does not defend the action, but these costs will be less than the costs of a defended action. Although a civil litigation action can be filed without legal assistance, it is highly advised that you obtain the services of a civil litigation lawyer as civil litigation is both extremely complicated and very technical. It is not a user-friendly system, and the court staff will not provide you with any assistance in drafting or preparing your claim.

How to File a Successful Civil Lawsuit & Legal Requirements

Under the Canadian law in Ontario, two requirements must be satisfied to file a civil lawsuit:

  1. There must be a cause of action. There must be a relationship between you and the other party. This can either result from having entered into a contract together or the ‘to-be’ sued party must owe a ‘duty of care’ towards you. This signifies that the person responsible for damages had an obligation to take measures to either ensure your safety or to take actions to prevent the loss you have suffered.
  2. You have to prove that you suffered a loss as a direct result of the defendant not performing his/her obligations. Your loss must be quantifiable, meaning that you must prove the amount of your loss. This must be a loss that you suffered solely due to the breach by the defendant. So, if you actually did not suffer any loss, or if you would have suffered the loss anyway, the courts will not direct the defendant to pay you any money whatsoever.

The areas we deal in, but not limited to:

  • Civil Litigation
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Creditor and Debtor Rights
  • Contractual Disputes
  • Shareholder’s disputes
  • Construction Liens
  • Estate Litigation
  • Court Motions, Applications, and Appeals
  • Wrongful Dismissal
  • Powers of Foreclosure/Sale
  • Wills Validity
  • Tribunal Hearings
  • Board Hearings
  • Enforcement of Ontario Judgments
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Types of Civil Lawsuits in Ontario

There are two main types of civil litigation lawsuits that can be filed in Ontario courts:

  1. Contract: Here, you can sue the other party of causing you financial loss if they breach the terms of a contract. This means that you had entered into a financial agreement (written or oral) with the other party and they failed to oblige the contract/agreement as per the agreed terms and conditions. Here in, you have the right to sue in case the financial loss has been caused by a faulty product or quality/performance issues with a product. While a contract does not have to be in writing to be valid, it is much easier to prove your claim if it is.
  2. Tort: You can bring a lawsuit if you have suffered physical injuries as a result of a defective product, automobile accident, falling or injuring yourself on someone else’s property, medical negligence or by another person. You can also sue for mental harm caused, but this must usually be tied to, or resulting from a physical injury.

Civil Lawsuits Compensation

If you win your lawsuit, the court may order the other party to pay you the appropriate compensation with regards to your injury or financial loss. The total amount depends on a variety of factors such as the extent of financial loss or the severity of the injury and its subsequent impact on your life.