Dealing with a car accident can be overwhelming, especially when you are injured and need to focus on your recovery. However, it is important for persons who are injured by accident to bear in mind that there may be time limits for putting the tort-feasor on notice, and for bringing their claim. In this post, Gosai Law elaborates on some of those time limitations that injured persons should bear in mind when exploring whether they should bring a claim for damages.
Time limits are important for everyone involved in an incident. First, it encourages an expeditious and efficient process. For example, in a world where there are no time limitations on when a party may commence their action, tortfeasors would have the threat of a civil action looming over their head infinitely. Second, over the course of time memory can fade and evidence spoil, meaning that actions commenced years and years and years after the actual incident giving rise to litigation may be more difficult to try. By having time limits in place, parties are incentivized to bring their civil claims expeditiously, when the evidence is still available, so that the parties can eventually move on.
Time limits for commencing a civil action may be prescribed by legislation. In Ontario, the limitations act prescribed a 2-year limitation from the date of accident for most cases. Also, there may be a different limitation in certain cases, say, where the civil action arises out of a sexual assault. Leaving aside these exception cases involving different limitations, the presumptive limitation is 2 years:
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. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 4.
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). 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 5 (1).
(2) 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. 2002, c. 24, Sched. B, s. 5 (2).
Failure to issue a claim within the prescribed period can result in forfeiture of your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
At Gosai Law, we understand the challenges of being involved in an accident. That’s why we urge you to be aware of and respectful towards the time limit for filing a car insurance claim. By doing so, you take a proactive step towards protecting your rights and ensuring a smoother claims process. If you have any questions or need guidance, remember that Gosai Law is here to support you every step of the way. Your well-being and legal rights are our priority.