Every jurisdiction in Canada has a limitation period regarding how long a person has to sue after an injury. In Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut there is a general 2-year limitation period for personal injury actions. This means if you do not file a lawsuit with the Court within two years from the date you discovered that someone has caused you to be injured, then you will not be able to make a claim.
Limitation Period of a Personal Injury
What is the statute of limitations on a personal injury case?
Typically, a person has two years after an injury or accident to make a claim. However, there are exceptions to this limitation:
Motor Vehicle Accidents – How many years after an accident can I make a claim?
For car accidents, you have two years from the date of the accident to commence a lawsuit.
Slip & Fall Claims
For slip & falls, you have two years from the date of the incident to commence a lawsuit. Read more on what to do after a slip and fall or trip in Alberta here.
Other Injuries – How long do I have to sue for personal injury?
The two-year period may have a later start date for other types of injuries. Such as, if you were unable to tell that someone had injured you at the time of the incident. For example, if you undergo a medical procedure but don’t realize for months or years that the physician committed malpractice against you. the two-year limitation period wouldn’t start until the day you knew or ought to have known about the physician’s mistake.
There is also a 10-year ultimate limitation period in Alberta (and 30 years in the NWT) that states regardless of when you became aware that someone else had injured you, you cannot file a lawsuit if more than ten years (or 30 years in the NWT) has passed.
Sexual Abuse Limitation Period
What is the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims in Alberta?
In cases of sexual abuse, a recent change to the law in Alberta has made the 2- and 10-year limitation periods inapplicable altogether. Victims of sexual abuse can now sue their assailants at any time, even more than ten years after the abuse occurred.
What are the steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you’ve been involved in an accident, Ahlstrom Wright’s Personal Injury lawyers are here to guide you through your personal injury claim.
Contact Ahlstrom Wright for a free consultation.
Ahlstrom Wright has offices in Sherwood Park, Alberta and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Limitation Period Exceptions and Suspensions
In certain situations, the statute of limitation periods can be suspended or does not begin immediately. Such as, when a person is under a disability or is a minor. Limitation periods can also be suspended if the person who injured you concealed what they had done to you. As this prevented you from knowing that they had caused your injury.
If I was injured a child, can I sue as an adult?
If a child is injured by the fault of another person, the two-year limitation period to sue does not start until the injured child turns 18 in Alberta (or 19 in the NWT). The person then has two-years to file a claim.
Statute of Limitations for People with Disabilities
Similarly, the limitation period for a person suffering from a disability would not begin to start until that person is no longer suffering from a disability.
Shorter Time Limits
It is important to note that while the standard 2- and 10-year limitation periods may apply to your claim, there are other situations that also require an injured person to provide notice of their injury in a much shorter time frame.
Some examples of these shorter time limits to provide notice include:
- Snow/Ice Injuries by the Municipality in Alberta. Municipal Government Act of Alberta requires a person to give notice of an injury to a municipality within 21 days of the incident if the injured person is claiming that the municipality is grossly negligent for ice or snow on a road or sidewalk.
- Snow/Ice Injuries by the Municipality in NWT/Nunavut. The Cities, Towns and Villages Act of the NWT and Nunavut require a person to give notice of an injury to a municipality within 30 days of the incident if the injured person is claiming that the municipality is grossly negligent for ice or snow on a road or sidewalk.
- Injuries by an unknown motorist. If your injury is caused by an unknown motorist, you must provide the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund with notice of your injury within 90 days.
When is it too late to sue?
Each personal injury case is unique. Understanding which limitation period applies to your injury can require complicated legal analysis. Ahlstrom Wright’s personal injury lawyers are willing to discuss your situation to help you determine the appropriate limitation period for your situation. Please contact our offices for a free consultation.