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What are the personal lawsuit limitation dates?

As an accident victim, you need to know how long you have to sue, because after that date, if you do not sue, you can’t. This is known as the limitation date.

An Ontario statute called the Limitations Act, 2002, states that you must issue a statement of claim suing the defendant(s) that caused your injuries within 2 years from the date you knew or ought to have known you had cause to do so. This applies to adults whose accident occurred on or after January 1, 2004. An injured child has two years from his or her 18th birthday to start a legal action. In most cases, the date you knew or ought to have known you have a cause of action is 2 years from the date your accident occurred.

However, there may be shorter time limits for starting actions. Certain government-related defendants, for example, must have notice of your intention to start a lawsuit within days of the accident. The form of the notice should be in writing and contain certain particulars such as the where, when and how of the injury and how you as the injured party can be contacted, particulars for the injured party, and the extent of your injuries. It must also be delivered to a specific party or entity and proper proof of delivery must be obtained.

Failure to provide a required notice can reduce the value of your claim and, in extreme cases, eliminate your recovery altogether. For example, if you slipped on a city sidewalk and plan to sue a city or a municipality, the law requires that you give written notice to that city or municipality within 10 days from the date of the accident. Then, after you've given your 10 days written notice, you will have 2 years from the date of the accident to sue.

So, in summary: to ensure that the proper notice is given, do not to wait to contact us after your accident. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that something will go wrong with your case. Even if you do not miss the limitation date, important evidence necessary for proving your case could be lost or destroyed. We have seen cases where the accident scene has changed—potholes repaired, cracks in sidewalks patched—before effective photographs could be taken because the accident victim waited too long to report the accident. We recommend that you report your accidents immediately and that you do your own detective work right away to prevent important evidence from becoming lost.

Sharpe Beresh & Gnyś has the answers to your questions about personal injury. Contact us today for a Free Consultation.