If you have been injured because of the actions of another, don’t sit and wait to see how things turn out. Our law limits the time you have to start a law suit.
The Ontario Court of Appeal in Baig v. Mississauga, 2020 ONCA 697 recently reinforced what is now a well-established principle of limitation periods in Ontario: Once you understand you have injuries, you will have two years to decide whether to start a lawsuit. The law does not wait for you to learn the full extent of the harm done because of those injuries.
Briefly, Mr. Baig was riding his bicycle in Mississauga, when he fell at a pedestrian bridge. He filled out a Claim Report with the City of Mississauga, and noted injuries including concussion, facial lacerations, and a broken finger. He referenced wanting compensation. That Claim Report form indicated, in all capital letters, that he had two years to bring a lawsuit from the date of the reported incident. The City also attempted to have an adjuster investigate the claim, but Mr. Baig refused to cooperate. Mr. Baig cited legal advice as the reason he was not cooperating.
Mr. Baig’s initial Claim Report was dated May 29, 2013.
Over four years later, on September 1, 2017, Mr. Baig sued the City of Mississauga by issuing a Statement of Claim.
Mr. Baig alleged that he discovered after the limitation period lapsed his facial laceration would leave a scar, he would not regain full function of his broken finger, and he would continue to suffer post-concussion symptoms, among other impairments.
The City of Mississauga moved for summary judgment. Their motion was granted. Mr. Baig appealed. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.
In short, the Court of Appeal found that Mr. Baig had the necessary facts to support a claim against the City “almost immediately after his fall” which was confirmed by his requesting compensation in his Claim Report. He further was twice advised of the two-year limitation period.
The fact that his injuries allegedly worsened did not extend the limitation period.
The Court also rejected Mr. Baig’s arguments that he lacked the capacity to commence the action at the appropriate time. The evidence was insufficient.