Statute of limitations Canada: How long after an injury can I file a lawsuit? 


The general rule is 2 years. This is called the limitation period. It gets its name from the fact that it limits you to 2 years to initiate a legal claim.

When does the 2-year countdown start?

Most people assume that the 2-year time frame starts from the date of their injury however this is not always the case.

The start date for the 2 years is the earliest of the following:

  • the day the injury occurred
  • the day you found out that your injuries were not just a fluke accident but the result of someone’s actions or negligence
  • the day you found out who is responsible for your injuries
  • the day you found out that a lawsuit was an available course of action for your injuries

For example, if someone lived in an apartment with asbestos and only noticed 3 years later that they have developed chronic lung disease from exposure the 2-year limit is from the time they were diagnosed with the illness.

Another example is if you were cycling and were injured in a hit and run the 2-year countdown starts on the day you find the driver responsible for your injuries.

If you have specific questions regarding your situation contact Equlibirium law for a free consult.

Can I sue if it’s been longer than 2 years since I was injured?

Yes. The 2-year limitation is not in effect if the person with the claim:

  • is a minor/ was a minor at the time of the injury
  • lacks the mental capacity to make legal decisions for themselves (ex. cognitive deficiencies, in a coma, Alzheimer’s etc.)
  • is suing for sexual assault
  • is suing for sexual misconduct and the perpetrator was in a position of authority/trust or the victim was emotionally, physically, or financially dependent on them
  • is suing for physical assault if they were in an intimate relationship with or were financially, emotionally, or physically dependent on the accused.

Furthermore, the 2-year limitation period is paused if the parties involved agreed to have a third party resolve the claim or assist them in resolving the claim. If the attempted resolution does not work out or the agreement is not being respected, then the 2-year limitation will resume on the date that the resolution/agreement failed. 

*Litigation guardians can make a claim on behalf of minors and individuals who lack mental capacity.

If you have specific questions regarding your situation contact Equlibirium law for a free consult.

A litigation guardian is someone who makes a legal claim on behalf of a minor or someone who lacks the mental capacity to advocate for themselves. A litigation guardian can be a friend, family member, power of attorney, or caregiver.  

How long after an injury can the family of the injured person file a lawsuit?

The limitation period is the same 2 years for family and litigation guardians. If you have a family member who was injured you can sue for losses you experienced as a result of their injuries. The Family Law Act allows family members of an injured party to sue for compensation for loss of companionship, care expenses, funeral expenses, and more. A litigation guardian is someone who can sue on behalf of an injured victim if the victim is a minor or lacks the mental capacity to make legal decisions.

The start of the 2 years is not always from the date of the occurrence. The countdown starts from the day that the family/litigation guardian was made aware of the claim or found out about the situation that caused the claim. 

What is the limitation period for a slip and fall on a municipal sidewalk?

If you fell on a sidewalk and want to recover damages you must notify the city of your injuries and claim within 10 days of the incident. In general, sidewalks are the responsibility of the city or municipality. The notice must include the time, date, and location of the incident as well as the injuries you suffered.

What is the limitation period for a slip and fall on snow or ice?

Falls due to ice/snow require you to send a notice of intent to sue within 60 days of the incident. This applies to private parking lots, driveways, and walkways NOT city sidewalks. If you slipped on snow or ice on a city sidewalk you must send a notice to sue within 10 days.

If you think you have a claim or have questions concerning a claim contact Equilibrium law for a free consult.  

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