If you think you have cause to sue, whether it’s about a broken contract, broken pipe or broken leg, it’s important not to wait too long after something happens, or you find out something has happened, to get legal advice about whether you can or should sue.
The clock could be running on a limitation period—the time period within which you must issue a Statement of Claim or lose your right to sue forever—and it could run out before you know it.
The vast majority of claims in Ontario are governed by Section 5 of the Limitations Act, 2002, which sets the basic time limit of two years for starting a claim in the Ontario Courts based on the principle of discoverability—effectively, the earliest date on which you should have known you had a claim and ought to sue:
5. (1) A claim is discovered on the earlier of,
(a) the day on which the person with the claim first knew,
(i) that the injury, loss or damage had occurred,
(ii) that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission,
(iii) that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is made, and
(iv) that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy it; and
(b) the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person with the claim first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a).
For some claims it’s straightforward to determine the date of claim, like the date of a motor vehicle collision.
For other claims, it can be far more complicated, especially when there are several parties who could be liable and different events at different times contributing to the damages.
Getting legal advice on limitation periods is crucial to protecting your right to sue and preserving the evidence to support your case. Your case could also be subject to different limitation periods based on other laws. Alemi Law Group can advise you on the limitation periods that could affect your ability to recover damages.
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