Time limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Ontario

  • Most personal injury cases fall under a basic two-year limitation period from the time of discovery
  • A plaintiff can’t take too much time before filing a legal claim, or the right to seek legal recourse may be lost
  • Hiring a personal injury lawyer will definitely speed up the process
The challenges that individuals who have suffered a personal injury are manifold, as not only do they have to deal with the actual physical and emotional suffering, they must also deal with financial difficulties due to the medical expenses and the income loss while recuperating. An individual who suffered can seek financial recompense from the guilty parties, but in what can be considered as another challenge, there is a statute of limitations in Ontario, which means the sufferer can’t take too much time before making a legal claim, or else he would lose the right to seek legal recourse.
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Most personal injury cases fall under a basic two-year limitation period from the time of discovery, which is the time where the claimant learns of the necessary details regarding the claim or when they find out that the matter requires proceedings. After this two year time period, the claimant can no longer file a claim.

Some exceptions exist, but taking too long to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer is not advised because it will affect the chances of a claimant As time goes by, seeking testimonies, gathering evidences and witnesses becomes difficult and in some cases, impossible. In the case of a minor, the statute of limitations runs up to two years after his or her 18th birthday, with the reason being that by age 20, the court expects the person to be mature enough to decide whether he or she wants to pursue the claim.

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Timeframe of a Personal Injury Claim

Just because it is advised to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, doesn’t mean you can expect your claim to go through within a week. In general, there’s a lot of things that a claimant has to go through from the time of the discovery up to the trial itself, such as:

  1. Notifying the Defendant – in cases of personal injury, the defendant would most likely be an insurance company of a person you plan to sue. In most cases, the insurance company will try to negotiate directly with you and hope that you’re willing to settle out of court, because there is a huge chance that a personal injury lawyer can get you much higher compensation through the legal means.
  2. Filing of the Statement of Claim with the Court Office – this is where your personal injury lawyer commences the lawsuit, by filing the statement of claim and serving it to the defendant.
  3. Mediation – in Ontario, your own personal injury lawyer and the insurance company can offer settlement compensation at any given moment, in an effort to reach a compromise that will make all parties satisfied.
  4. Pre-Trial – this is where the judge meets with your personal injury lawyer and the insurance company’s legal representatives, providing his own opinions regarding the case. After the pre-trial meeting, the personal injury lawyer can make recommendations on whether to continue with the case or to accept the insurance company’s offer. Many personal injury cases are settled during the pre-trial meeting.

In general, the above steps will occur along with other things such as scheduling conflicts, meetings, gathering of evidences and other pertinent steps. The most realistic estimate before you can expect results from a personal injury claim is 5 to 6 months at the soonest.

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