It’s Been Nearly Two Years Since A Serious Car Accident, Can I Pursue My Legal Rights?
Author(s): Stephen M. Birman
May 1, 2023
As a personal injury lawyer, I often receive calls from serious car accident victims who are consulting with lawyers at or near the two-year anniversary date of their car accident. This is because there is a critical two-year limitation period for the commencement of tort lawsuit claims in Ontario, and victims who have avoided the legal process to that stage often realize that it is best to consider their legal rights before it is too late.
For this reason alone, “it is better late than never” when it comes to seeking legal consultation prior to the critical two-year anniversary of your accident.
When is the best time to seek legal advice after a serious car accident?
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident it is always best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the car accident so that accident benefits claims can be commenced, lawsuit investigations can begin, and insurance companies can set appropriate reserves to ensure a fair resolution of your claim in the future.
What should I do if the two-year anniversary of my car accident is approaching and I do not have a lawyer?
As mentioned above, “it is better late than never” when it comes to seeking a legal consultation after a serious car accident.
Even where you are at fault for an accident and a lawsuit is not an option, many serious accident victims request a free legal consultation right before the two-year mark because their accident benefits may be dwindling (or even exhausted) and because two important things often happen at this stage:
- Victims who are receiving an income replacement benefit will receive a notice from the insurance company that the benefits test has changed from the “own occupation” to the “any occupation” test. This raises the threshold to qualify for the income replacement benefit, usually results in a host of insurance assessments, and in most cases, results in the insurance company eventually denying the crucial income replacement benefit.
- Several different avenues become available to victims with serious injuries after a car accident to pursue catastrophic accident benefits claims based on physical and psychological tests and combined thresholds. This is important for seriously injured accident victims who require more than the non-catastrophic maximum level of accident benefits of $65,000.00. When an injury is accepted as catastrophic the benefits available will typically increase to $1,000,000.
Why should I seek legal advice after a serious car accident?
Some car accident victims delay meeting with a lawyer as long possible. They may wish to avoid the legal process altogether for the very understandable reason that most people do not like to be involved in litigation unless it is necessary.
However, individuals who have suffered serious injuries, with permanent implications, should view the legal claim as an important piece of insurance. Your claims can help protect your future in the same vein that other types of insurance are purchased to protect your well-being (such as a home, life and/or disability insurance).
At the very least, and for peace of mind, I always recommend that car accident victims with serious injuries not allow their rights to vanish without first considering their legal options.
It is important that accident victims who are seeking a legal consultation late in the process not wait until the very last moment though — the eve of the critical two-year anniversary of their accident — because it is difficult for proper investigations to take place prior to the limitation period expiring, when the investigations begin that late in the process.
While it is always preferable to seek legal help as early as you can after a car accident, it’s also important to remember that “it is better late than never” to consider your legal rights after being in a serious car accident.
Therefore, always be sure to consult with a lawyer prior to the two-year anniversary of your car accident.
Thomson Rogers partner Stephen Birman has been recognized as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario, is listed in the peer-reviewed publications – Lexpert® and ranked AV pre-eminent in Martindale-Hubbell ®. Stephen’s practice focuses on personal injury litigation and class actions. You can reach Stephen at 416-868-3137 or by EMAIL.