Many individuals who have suffered a personal injury in Ottawa or anywhere across Ontario may not be aware that their claim is subject to a limitation period. A limitation period is the time limit that a person has to bring a claim against the at-fault party or parties in relation to his or her loss, injury, or damage. These limitation periods are different from notice requirements, which will we also discus below. If a limitation period is missed, the claimant may be barred from pursuing financial compensation for their injuries.
The Limitations Act
In Ontario, the Limitations Act provides for a basic limitation period of two years. This means that a person has two years from the date that they suffered a loss, injury, or damage (or the date that the person became aware of the injury or loss) to commence a lawsuit.
Section 15 provides an ultimate limitation period of 15 years, meaning a person cannot bring a claim arising from a loss, injury or damage sustained more than 15 years earlier.
Exceptions to the General Rules
There are a number of exceptions to the basic and ultimate limitation periods in the Limitations Act. Section 6 states that the two-year limitation period does not run while a claimant is a minor (a person less than 18 years old) and is not represented by a litigation guardian. Similarly, per section 7, the two-year limitation period will not run while a claimant lacks capacity to commence a proceeding due to a physical, mental, or psychological condition and is not represented by a litigation guardian. Section 16 lists a number of situations where there is no limitation period, including a proceeding based on sexual assault.
The Effect of Notice Periods
In addition to limitation periods, in some situations a person may be required by law to give notice of their potential claim. Under the Municipal Act a person injured on municipal property is required to give written notice to the municipality within 10 days. Similarly, the Occupiers’ Liability Act requires that a person who is injured as a result of ice or snow give written notice to the owner or occupier within 60 days.
Suspension of Limitation Periods During Covid
At the start of the Covid pandemic, the Government of Ontario passed O Reg 73/20, which temporarily suspended limitation periods. The suspension was retroactive to March 16, 2020 and ended on September 14, 2020. This means that a limitation period that began to run prior to March 16, 2020 was extended by 183 days. Any claims arising on or after September 14, 2020 do not have an extension.
Have you or a loved one been injured?
It is important if you have suffered a personal injury to consult with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer who can advise you on the potential limitation periods or notice requirements that apply to your situation.
Contact SG Injury Law today for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.