In British Columbia the Limitation Act related to limitation dates sets out the time period that an individual has to file a lawsuit against a defendant for a personal injury. Within the Limitation Act there are statutes and sections related to ICBC, municipal liability and personal injury and wrongful death. It is important to understand that notice periods and limitation dates in BC must be complied with in order to protect a personal injury claim for compensation.
Basic limitation period of 2 years
Although the act is quite extensive, this article will focus on limitation periods that pertain to personal injury accidents such as:
- car accidents;
- motor vehicle accidents;
- slip and falls;
- international airline injuries; and
- physical disfigurement injuries
The basic limitation period begins the date on which the person has the right to bring an action. This law is complex and limitations can be dependent on the type of accident, where it occurred and how old the injured person is at time of the accident. Guyle Clark, Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer for Warnett Hallen tells us, “Many people are aware of the two-year limitation date for filing an action in personal injury claims. However, the vast majority of people that I have encountered are unaware that there are much shorter limitation periods to take into consideration. For example, if your injuries were in some way caused by the negligence of a municipality you only have two months to give proper notice to the municipality before you may lose your ability to claim for damages.”
Personal injury claims against municipalities
Written notice must be given to the municipality of Vancouver – or any other BC municipality within two months on which the date of the injury or damage occurred. Some examples of cases involving municipalities where the two-month limitation period to give notice to the municipality applies are:
- Trip and falls on municipal sidewalks
- Injuries at municipal pools or skating rinks
- Motor vehicle accidents caused by city owned/operated vehicles
- Claims against police departments
Missing limitation dates can result in lost compensation
The British Columbia Courts are very strict regarding limitations dates and Guyle reports, “Missing a limitation date can serve as a total defence to a claim for personal injuries. In other words, if you miss a limitation date you may lose your ability to seek any compensation for your damages. The repercussions for missing a limitation date makes seeing a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident occurs all the more important to ensure that your rights are protected.”
The personal injury lawyers at Warnett Hallen will be happy to review a personal injury claim and give advice regarding limitations dates in BC. This doesn’t mean you have to file a claim, but it will provide you with specific legal information to make good decisions. Consulting with one of the personal injury lawyers at Warnett Hallen allows you to determine the proper course of action for your claim without the stress of worrying about limitation dates.
Some examples of limitations dates for certain personal injury claims are:
- Personal injury claims including ICBC Claims – two years
- Wrongful death claims – two years
- Hit and run accident – you must notify ICBC no later than six months after the accident occurs.
- Where injury has occurred as a result of a government municipality you must give them notice within two months and start an action within six months.
- For accident benefits (Part 7 benefits) from ICBC, you must give notice to ICBC within 30 days and file an application for benefits within 90 days. If ICBC is denying accident benefits you have two years from the last accident benefit payment to sue for benefits.
- If a plaintiff is under the age of 19, the torte limitation period for personal injury does not begin to run until the19th birthday. However, Part 7 limitation periods, for minors is also two years after the accident date.
It is important to note that ICBC and other insurance companies are not obligated to communicate or advise you of limitation dates. You may file a claim with ICBC, but that is not the same as filing a Notice of Civil Claim in the BC Supreme Court. In the case of Tolentino v. Gill; the plaintiff’s action was dismissed because of a missed limitation date.
In short, be aware that if you are injured and want to make a claim for compensation, time limits apply. It is always a good idea to consult a Vancouver ICBC or personal injury claim lawyer to ensure your right to compensation is not lost due to a limitation period.
Disclaimer: This blog is for information purposes only. Please seek legal advice about your personal injury claim. For more detailed legal advice please call Guyle Clark at Warnett Hallen LLP, Metro Vacouver’s personal injury law firm. Available 24/7 at 604-737-3300.