Should I Pursue Legal Action?

Should I Pursue Legal Action?

Pursuing legal action as a remedy to a workplace incident may be tempting at first, but it can be a costly endeavor. Aside from legal fees, there are various other potential expenses that are often associated with litigation, such as expert reports. 


The most important potential risk is being hit with a large cost award. At any step in a case involving an appearance or submission to the court by the parties, a court has the discretion to award costs to the successful party. This means that pursuing legal action may sometimes result in one party having to pay the legal fees of the other party, on top of any damages determined by the court. 


To avoid these costs, it is prudent to consider other available options before pursuing legal action. 


Why should I consult a lawyer?


While it may not always be necessary to formally retain a lawyer to act for you, it is always advisable to consult one. A consultation with a lawyer may be useful in identifying the claims that can be made on a given set of facts, and what your chances of success might be. 


In some instances, a lawyer is not required to pursue legal action. This is the case, for instance, with applications made to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. 


However, even if you are self-represented, as legal proceedings can often span over long periods of time before they are settled, it is important to consider the merits of a potential claim early on. A consultation can help you better anticipate the outcomes of a potential claim before continuing with legal action. 


What is a limitation period?


Additionally, it is important for you to consider how your claim may be impacted by a limitation period.


In Ontario, most civil claims must be made within two years of discovering damages or wrongdoing. This is known as the basic limitation period, as described under the Limitations Act, 2002


Sometimes the discovery of the wrongdoing may take place a long period after the actual wrongdoing. In such instances, the limitation period will begin on the day that a reasonable person should have known or discovered the wrongdoing or damage incurred. 


What is a demand letter?


Workplace incidents may be resolved through settlements. A demand letter is the first step toward this end. 


A demand letter serves two central purposes. The first is to summarize and outline the wrongdoings that are being alleged to have taken place in a workplace. The second purpose is to seek a settlement from the party receiving the letter in light of these allegations. 


The high costs of pursuing legal action or litigation are something that all parties wish to avoid. In being discrete and less costly, parties may be incentivized to negotiate a settlement rather than pursue litigation to resolve a claim. 




Regardless of the specific course of action, one wishes to take, it is important to carefully consider the merits of the claim as well as any other remedies that are available. 


Pursuing legal action can be the beginning of a long and strenuous endeavor that may or may not produce favorable outcomes. Before such a path is taken one should first consult a lawyer to assess the merits of the case. 


In many instances, legal action may be unreasonable due to the high costs of litigation. Demand letters may be a more appropriate course of action in these cases. Even if a settlement is not reached through a demand letter the option to pursue legal action remains available thereafter. However, when sending a demand letter one may risk losing the option to take legal action if a settlement is not reached by the end of the limitation period. As such it is always advisable to consult a lawyer on the best course of action may be. 


Contact us:


If you are unsure about pursuing legal action, our team of experienced civil litigation, employment, and human rights lawyers at Achkar Law are happy to help. Contact us by phone toll-free at 1 (800) 771-7882, or by email at [email protected].