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Motor Vehicle Accident Limitation Periods

Anyone who has been injured in a British Columbia motor vehicle accident needs to be aware of the following deadlines:

  • The time within which a lawsuit must be filed for a claimant to preserve his or her right to compensation is called a “limitation period.” Once a limitation period has expired, prospective claimants lose the right to make a claim and obtain damages. Limitation periods vary across Canada. In British Columbia, they are governed by the Limitation Act. It provides that you must file a lawsuit within two years of the accident or you will loose the right to sue. An infant has until two years after turning nineteen. In unusual circumstances the limitation period can be extended. However, that cannot be counted on and an experienced personal injury lawyer should be retained well before any limitation period might expire.
  • You need to apply for ICBC “no fault”or “Part VII” benefits (which covers some wage loss and medical and rehabilitation expenses) within 90 days of the accident. Any lawsuit for Part VII benefits that have been refused or which might be payable in the future must be commenced within two years of the accident or the date of the last payment, whichever is later.
  • You should give notice of the accident to ICBC within a day or two of the accident and you must give a written statement to ICBC within thirty days.
  • If there is any possibility that a municipality is wholly or partially responsible for the accident notice must be given to the municipality within 60 days of the accident and a lawsuit must be commenced shortly thereafter.

Limitation periods are complicated and you should retain an experienced ICBC lawyer as soon as possible.