If you have been injured in an accident and wish to pursue a personal injury claim, you should be aware of the following time limits. Failure to take the necessary steps within these time limits could extinguish your legal rights. It is always recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer to obtain legal advice pertaining to your specific situation. It is generally not advisable to wait until the eve of a limitation period to take action.
The Limitations Act, 2002
In Ontario, most time limits are governed by the Limitations Act, 2002, which states:
Basic limitation period
4. Unless this Act provides otherwise, a proceeding shall not be commenced in respect of a claim after the second anniversary of the day on which the claim was discovered.
5(1) A claim is discovered on the earlier of,
(a) the day on which the person with the claim first knew,
(i) that the injury, loss or damage had occurred,
(ii) that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission,
(iii) that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is made, and
(iv) that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy it; and
(b) the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a).
Different rules apply to those who are under 18 years of age at the time of the injury.
Limitation Periods for Motor Vehicle Collisions in Ontario
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision and wish to sue the at-fault party or parties, you are to deliver written notice to the at-fault parties within 120 days of the collision. While failure to do this is not fatal to your ability to sue, it does have a negative effect on the awarding of interest and costs.
A lawsuit must be commenced within 2 years of the date of the collision. A statement of claim must be issued (filed with the courthouse) within this timeframe. Failure to meet this deadline will generally be fatal to a case.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and the cause was poor road quality:
- Municipal Road: If the road is a municipal (city) road, written notice must be given to the municipality within 10 days of the accident, and a statement of claim must be issued within 2 years of the accident.
- Provincial Road: If the road is a provincial road, a statement of claim must be issued within 2 years of the accident.
Timelines are also imposed on submitting an application for accident benefits, and disputing accident benefit denials. These are beyond the scope of this paper.
Limitation Periods for Falls in Ontario
Generally, a fall that occurs on private property in Ontario is subject to a 2 year limitation period.
If you have fallen on provincial property, you must give written notice within 10 days of the incident. A statement of claim must be issued within 2 years of the incident.
If you have fallen on municipal property and the reason for that fall is snow or ice, you must give written notice within 10 days of the accident. A statement of claim must be issued within 2 years of the incident.
If you have any questions, please contact Emily Foreman at: firstname.lastname@example.org