It is important to collect the evidence on your case at the earliest opportunity and keep in mind that there are limitations (i.e. deadlines) for bringing actions. A “limitation period” is a deadline in which you must commence a legal action by filing and having issued court documents from the appropriate court.
These limitation periods are dependent on the type and cause of action of your case (i.e. whether you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, a slip and fall, assault or other incident). Associated with some deadlines or limitation periods can be further notice periods. That is, in certain situations before an action can be started, you must give prior notice to the person (or party) being sued of your intention to sue, such as when pursuing a civic body.
If you delay and do not commence the action within the applicable limitation period, you may lose the right to claim damages. Each province has different rules concerning applicable limitation periods, and different types of claims have varying deadlines for commencement of the action. You should always get legal advice as to the applicable limitation period that applies to your claim to protect yourself.
In New Brunswick, under the Limitation of Actions Act, SNB 2009, c L-8.5 there is a general 2 year limitation period on all claims with a number of special rules. In P.E.I., the Statute of Limitations, RSPEI 1988, c S-7 provides differing limitations periods for different types of claims, but generally imposes a 2 year limitation period for negligence actions.
Common limitation periods currently applicable in Nova Scotia are stipulated under the Limitation of Actions Act, RSNS 1989, c 258 and include:
- Motor vehicle collisions – 2 years
- Medical malpractice claims – 2 years after termination of professional services
- Slip and fall claims – 6 years
- Section B claims – 1 year
- Fatal Injury Claims – 1 year
- Assaults – 1 year
- Insurance Contractual claims – 1 year generally
- Other Negligence claims (ie. Product liability;) – 6 years
There are a vast number of special rules concerning different types of claims and claims against specific bodies. For instance, claims involving sexual assault have special rules providing that a limitation period does not start until the victim was aware of the damage or injury and the relationship between the injury and the sexual assault.
Claims involving marine events or boating accidents which occur on waters under Federal jurisdiction are governed by Federal law (Marine Liability Act, SC 2001, c 6) which stipulates a 2 year limitation period.
Claims advanced by minors (under age 19) or persons under disability generally have special rules that postpone commencement of the limitation time period until after the claimant attains the age of 19. However, that does not always apply.
Needless to say, limitation periods are a complex area of law that can adversely impact your right to damages.
The Personal Injury Lawyers at BOYNECLARKE LLP are experienced in claims involving injuries of all kinds and are knowledgeable in all aspects of the law in respect to limitation periods. For a free consultation concerning your injury and claim contact a member of our team by email at [email protected], phone at 902-469-9500 or 1-866-339-3400 or fill out the online contact form.