Limitation Periods

Last Reviewed: July, 2023 Reviewed by: JES Contributors

How long do I have to make a claim?

Limitation periods in small claims bc

You lose the right to file a claim in court after a certain amount of time. For claims discovered after 2013, the Limitation Act sets out a basic limitation period of 2 years after the day on which the claim was discovered. There are exceptions. See Suing Municipalities below. There are specific rules for deciding when a claim was discovered but it generally means the day on which the claimant knew or reasonably ought to have known that:

  • That injury, loss or damage had occurred
  • That the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission
  • That the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is or may be made
  • That, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a court proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy the injury, loss or damage

There are special rules for certain circumstances like claims based on fraud or for minors or people with disabilities, so be sure to get legal advice and read the Limitation Act

There is also an ultimate limitation period of 15 years which means you cannot sue for something that occurred over 15 years ago, even if you only just discovered the injury. 

If you are uncertain about any limitation periods, you should speak with a lawyer.

Suing Municipalities

The limitation on suing municipalities is much shorter. You only have 6 months to sue but also may need to provide notice to that municipality within just 2 months from the date you sustained the damage. If you are not sure about the limitation period you should seek legal advice from a lawyer. If you miss the limitation date you will be barred from bringing the lawsuit.

Get Help

If you want to find a lawyer try the Lawyer Referral Service or Access Pro Bono. The Law Students’ Legal Advice Program may also be able to help

Learn More

Limitation Periods from Clicklaw

Limitation periods from the LSLAP Manual

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