What to Do If You Lose a Lawsuit

Published By: ryanbreedon

Losing a lawsuit can be a distressing experience, both emotionally and financially. If you find yourself on the losing side of a court decision in Ontario, it’s essential to know your options and the next steps. This article aims to guide you through the aftermath and provides insights on how to navigate the situation.

1. Stay Calm and Analyze the Judgment

Before making any decisions, it’s crucial to understand the reasons behind the court’s judgment. Read through the decision carefully, noting the judge’s reasons and any referenced laws or precedents.

2. Consult with a Lawyer

Discuss the judgment with the lawyer who conducted the trial. They will provide insight into the specifics of the decision, any potential errors, and your possible next steps. 

You may also consider retaining a new lawyer for either a second opinion or to take over the appeal. Having someone who wasn’t involved in the trial give an impartial review can be very valuable.

3. Consider an Appeal

If you believe the judgment was incorrect or feel there were legal errors during the trial, you may consider appealing the decision. Here’s what you need to know:

  • “Time Limits:” In Ontario, you generally have 30 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal. However, this time frame can vary depending on the type of case and court. Always consult with your lawyer to ensure you act in time.
  • “Grounds for Appeal”: An appeal isn’t a chance for a second trial. You’ll need to demonstrate that there was an error in law, fact, or both during the initial trial that impacted the decision.

4. Evaluate the Cost vs. Benefit

Appealing can be costly. Before moving forward, weigh the potential benefits of winning an appeal against the financial and emotional costs. Sometimes, it might be more practical to negotiate with the other party or take alternative routes.

5. Payment of Judgment

If you decide not to appeal or if the appeal is unsuccessful, you will need to pay the judgment as ordered by the court. This could include:

  • “Damages”: Money awarded to compensate the winning party.
  • “Legal Fees”: You might be required to pay a portion of the winning party’s legal costs.
  • “Interest”: Interest may accrue on unpaid judgments.

If you cannot pay the judgment immediately, communicate with the winning party or their lawyer. They might be willing to work out a payment plan or negotiate a reduced amount.

6. Insolvency or Bankruptcy

If the judgment is significantly large and you cannot afford to pay, consult with an insolvency lawyer. Depending on your financial situation, you might consider filing for bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal. This decision can have long-term implications, so it’s essential to make an informed choice.

7. Learn and Move On

Regardless of the outcome, try to learn from the experience. Whether it’s improving your contracts, documentation processes, or being more cautious in specific dealings, every experience is a chance to grow.


Losing a lawsuit can be challenging, but with the right approach and guidance, you can navigate the aftermath. Always consult with your lawyer to make informed decisions and understand your rights and responsibilities under Ontario law. If you need legal support or assistance, consider reaching out to our law firm. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

We’re ready to take on the challenge.

From our office in downtown Barrie, we provide legal services to clients across Ontario. We are skilled trial lawyers practicing in the area of civil litigation and are available to assist you with your case.

Our initial consultation, whether it be in person or by Zoom, is always free. Call our office to schedule a meeting.

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