How Does the Ontario Statute of Limitations Work?
Imagine you’re seriously injured in a car accident, and you’re suing for compensation, but suddenly your claim is denied because you waited too long. If you don’t follow the Ontario Statute of Limitations, this could happen to you.
It’s devastating to think that one error like this could ruin your entire claim.
No one should have to suffer because someone else made a stupid mistake. But sadly, it happens. And when it does, getting the right compensation is the key to taking back your life.
That’s why it’s essential to make sure you understand the limitations on your claim.
You don’t need a law degree to understand the Ontario Statute of Limitations. But as an Ontario resident, you should be aware that it has a significant impact on your personal injury claim.
Your Personal Injury Claim Has a Time Limit
Under Ontario law, you have 2 years from the date of your accident to file your personal injury claim. This is the Ontario Statute of Limitations.
This time frame is based on the assumption that you became fully aware of the circumstances for your claim at the time of the accident. In other words, on that day, you were already aware that it was the other person’s fault and that you were injured.
Section 5, Article 2: Presumption:
“A person with a claim shall be presumed to have known of the matters referred to in clause (1) (a) on the day the act or omission on which the claim is based took place, unless the contrary is proved.”
If you take longer than 2 years to file your claim, your claim could be denied. Additionally, you could end up stuck paying the legal costs for both sides.
An ultimate limitation period of 15 years also exists. This is often applied to certain cases that meet exceptions to the time limit. After 15 years, the claim will be completely barred. This also begins on the day of the incident.
Other Time Limits to Look Out For
There are some other statutory limitations to be aware of. That’s why it’s always the best idea to consult with your lawyer before you do anything.
If you’re applying for accident benefits, you have 30 days to apply before your claim is void.
You also have a time limit if you’re suing a municipality or provincial government. Usually, you only have about 10 days to give them notice about your claim.
Why Does The Statute of Limitations Exist?
The Ontario Statute of Limitations started as the Limitations Act 2002. It’s been amended a few times since it was enacted in order to stay current.
Essentially, the Limitations Act exists to keep the law fair to everyone, even the defendant. If someone who has a reasonable claim really needs the compensation, it’s assumed they will come forward as soon as possible.
Another reason this law exists is to ensure that the trials are fair when dealing with evidence.
If you wait too long to file your claim, you could risk losing evidence you need to prove that the accident was the defendant’s fault.
That’s why it’s always best to stay within your limits and make sure everything is done according to best practices.
Exceptions to The Limitation Period for Personal Injury Claims
There are some exceptions to the limitation period.
In some cases, if the victim is a minor there could be an exception. If your injury is serious enough that you aren’t physically capable of making your claim, there could be an exception granted as well.
As of 2016, the Limitations Act has also been amended to make exceptions for sexual assault victims.
High-profile cases, like the infamous Jian Ghomeshi trial, have brought attention to the fact that victims of sexual assault are often restricted from coming forward with their claim. Whether it’s because they feel pressured by the stigma of sexual assault or because they feel threatened by their attacker, it is often more than 2 years before these claims make it through.
At the end of the day, every personal injury claim is different. Work with a personal injury lawyer who will go through your individual options with you.
How to Avoid Getting Stuck in The Statute of Limitations
Your entire case could be thrown out of court if you go over the Ontario Statute of Limitations. The insurance company will deny your claim and make it impossible to get any compensation.
Always make sure you file your claim as soon as possible. It could take months just to get a court date, and just because you have 2 years to file your claim doesn’t mean you’re getting your settlement money within that time frame as well.
You’re also required to send a notification letter to the offending party. This is done as a “notice of claim” and should ideally be done by your lawyer.
Always send your letter as soon as possible. If the defendant somehow proves they never got the letter in time, this could hurt you in your claim.
Additionally, if you wait too long to send that letter there are consequences. While you’ll still be able to make your claim, it will reflect negatively on you when you get to court.
The best time frame to file your claim is within 3 months (120 days) from the accident. This will help you appear more favourable in the pre-trial assessments.
Conte Jaswal Will Make Sure You Get What You Deserve
As soon as disaster strikes, contact Conte Jaswal, personal injury lawyers in Toronto and the GTA. We’ll make sure you get everything in on time.
Don’t miss out on the settlement you deserve because you waited too long. You don’t need to suffer more than you already have.
Our team of experienced lawyers are highly empathetic and passionate toward your case. We will fight for you until justice is served. Going up against the big insurance companies is tough, but not when you have us on your side.
Contact Conte Jaswal now to book your free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll get you on track to taking back your life as soon as possible.