Delay in contacting a personal injury lawyer could harm your claim - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Thursday, 04 October 2018

Delay in contacting a personal injury lawyer could harm your claim

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Being injured in a car crash, a slip-and-fall or other types of mishaps caused by the careless or negligent conduct of another party can be unsettling and leave you confused about what steps to take to make a claim for compensation. Delays, whether caused by the seriousness of your injuries or by putting off contacting a personal injury lawyer for legal advice, could cause you to lose the right to make a claim for damages. Laws in Ontario impose strict limitations on how long you have to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation. It is important to avoid delays because time limitations vary depending upon the type of incident that caused your injuries.

What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injuries suffered through fault of another party. Once the deadline expires, it usually means you lose your right to be compensated. There could be situations, such when the injured party is a child, that could extend the statute of limitations, but contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident is the best way to ensure your claim is filed on time.

While it might seem drastic to take away the right to be compensated from individuals with serious physical injuries simply because they took too long to sue, there is some justification for having a statute of limitations. The following are some of the reasons for forcing a person to assert a claim in a timely manner:

  • A defendant, the party whose negligence caused an accident, could be denied the opportunity to conduct a proper investigation by not being aware of the seriousness of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff, the party making the claim for compensation.
  • Memories fade with time causing witnesses to forgot important facts and details about it what they saw.
  • Evidence can be lost and witnesses could relocate and become unavailable.

Since it is the plaintiff who controls when a claim is filed, imposing a time limit is seen as the most effective way to encourage a timely claim.

Determining when the statutes of limitations begins

The statutes of limitations for different types of claims are found in the Ontario Limitations Act. It states that claims for personal injuries must be filed within two years from the date the claim was discovered. Discovery in cases arising from a motor vehicle collision would usually be the date of the accident because that is when a victim would become aware of the injury.

Some types of injuries are not as readily apparent or their cause is not as readily apparent as with a car accident. For example, it could take years before a patient develops symptoms from a mistake made by a surgeon or realizes symptoms were caused by the surgeon’s negligence. The law defines discovery of the claim as being two years from the when a reasonable person would have become aware of the claim.

The complexity of the statute of limitations makes it essential to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer. This is particularly true when the injured party is a child under 18 years of age. The statute of limitations is suspended and does not begin to run until the child is 18 years old.

Ontario personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation by people injured through the negligence of others. If you suffer an injury and need to file a claim, you should speak to one of our lawyers to ensure your claim is filed in compliance with the statute of limitations. Call the Diamond & Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims throughout Ontario.

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