If you are injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence
The law gives you the right to recover compensation from the negligent party. While this law is easy to state, aspects of it raise questions. Whether your injury has been caused by another’s negligence thereby entitling you to compensation can be a difficult question for a judge or a judge and jury to decide. How much compensation you are entitled to can also be a complicated calculation.
How much time you have to bring your claim is also an issue
One of the most important qualifications of your right to claim compensation for your injury is the time limit on it. You have only a limited period in which to begin the court process to recover your claim. Within this limited period, you must file in the court registry the documents that start your lawsuit. If you do not do this, your right to recover compensation through the court system is gone forever. In British Columbia, the limitation period for starting your lawsuit is two years from the date of your accident. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, your claim will usually be against the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
If you are unable to settle your claim with ICBC before two years is up, you must begin your lawsuit against ICBC before the two-year period expires
The document that starts your lawsuit is called a Writ. Once your Writ is issued within the limitation period, your right to pursue your claim through the court system is protected, no matter how long the whole court process takes.
The following are exceptions to the two-year limitation period:
If your motor vehicle accident was caused by an unidentified driver (i.e. it was a hit and run accident) you must notify ICBC about your claim in writing within SIX MONTHS of the accident date. If your accident involved a municipality (e.g. if you injured yourself in a fall on a public sidewalk), you must notify the Municipality in writing within TWO MONTHS of the accident date that you intend to start legal proceedings, and you must issue the Writ within SIX months of the accident. If your accident occurred while you were under 19 years of age, the two year period for issuing the Writ does not start to run until your 19th birthday. If you intend to make a claim against ICBC or a municipality, however, you must notify them in writing within the time limits that apply in these cases: ICBC within six months and the Municipality within two months. Also, being under 19 years of age does not extend the time for no fault claims.