Time Limits For Starting Lawsuits in Ontario - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Time Limits For Starting Lawsuits in Ontario


If you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or other mishap caused by the negligent, careless or reckless conduct of another party, you should not delay in speaking to a personal injury lawyer. In Ontario, the Limitations Act specifies the time limits for filing lawsuits. If your lawsuit for compensation is started after the time limit has expired, it will be dismissed by the court and your right to recover damages lost forever.

Basic principles of limitation periods

Limitation periods, also known as the statute of limitations, can be tricky to understand and to properly apply in particular cases. Depending upon the facts of a particular claim, the time limit to file a lawsuit could begin running on the date of your accident, or it might begin to run from the date you discovered you had a claim as in a medical malpractice case where a patient does not discover the doctor’s mistake for several months or years after a surgical or other medical procedure was completed.

The limitation period applicable to personal injury claims

The Ontario Limitations Act controls time limits for filing lawsuits in the province. There is a two-year limitation period for filing lawsuits related to personal injury claims, including injuries caused by the following:

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Slip-and-fall claims
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Dog- and animal-attacks
  • Work-related accidents
  • Bus and rail accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents

The two years is computing from the date of the accident in most cases, but you could have a claim for damages that might not be immediately apparent to you.

Discoverability rule and the statute of limitations

The law takes into consideration the fact that all claims are not readily apparent on the date they occur. For example, during a surgical procedure for which you were sedated, the surgeon unknowingly leaves a surgical sponge in your body. By the time you begin experiencing pain and discomfort from the surgical spot and the problem is corrected by another surgeon, more than two years has elapse since the initial surgery.

The law provides an exception to the two-year time limit by allowing for the time to be computed from the date a claim could have been discovered by a reasonable person under circumstances similar to those experienced by the claimant. Going back to the case of the negligent surgeon who left the sponge inside you, the two-year time limit to sue would be computed from the date you discovered the cause of the pain.

Your time to discover the existence of a claim does not, however, go on forever. The law includes a 15-year limit on discovery. If you have not discovered you have a claim within 15 years from when the conduct causing it occurred, your time to file a lawsuit expires.

Be aware that time limits on filing lawsuits differ from one province to another. The time limits discussed here apply in Ontario, so getting sound legal advice as soon as you believe you have a claim for personal injuries is essential to protecting your rights.

Time limit questions require skilled personal injury lawyers

If you suffer a personal injury due to the negligence of another person, your time to file a lawsuit is limited. Protect your claim for compensation in Ontario by consulting the knowledgeable and trusted personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond. Their years of experience handling all types of personal injury claims and working with the Ontario Limitations Act makes them your best source for information and guidance. Don’t delay, contact our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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