June 16, 2014
In Alberta, there is a two year limitation under the Limitations Act.
This applies to the majority of claims and requires that if your claim has not already settled, a Statement of Claim must be filed at the Courthouse prior to 2 years from your date of loss, in order to keep your claim alive. By filing a Statement of Claim, you are commencing a legal action. While there are legal information centres at many of the major court centres where assistance is provided to self-represented individuals with regard to the process of filling out and filing court documents, it is recommended that you always seek out legal advice prior to commencing an Action on your own to ensure that all of your rights are effectively preserved. Often times, we hear from people who are under the mistaken idea that they need to settle their claim within the 2 year mark - this is NOT the case. While in some cases, it is appropriate to settle a claim prior to the 2 year mark and prior to filing a Statement of Claim, in many cases it is not and you should not feel pressured to settle so long as you have protected your limitation by having a Statement of Claim filed. As noted, the two year limitation applies to most claims, however there are varying circumstances which can either lengthen or shorten that limitation period. For example, in the case of a minor’s claim, the two year limitation does not start running until their 18th birthday. In circumstances where it was not until after the date of injury that the injured person became aware (or ought to have become aware) that their injury was caused by the negligence of another party, the two year limitation does not start running until the date of “discovery” of the claim. On the flip side, in claims against a municipality, including the City of Calgary, there are often requirements that the City be notified of the potential claim within as little as 21 days. Given the varying and fact-specific limitations that apply, it is extremely important to seek out legal advice as soon as you are aware of the claim in order to ensure that you do not lose the right to claim compensation for the injuries you sustained.
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