New Limitation of Actions Act in Nova Scotia will impact victim’s rights!

by John McKiggan

As of September 1, 2015, Nova Scotia has a new Limitation of Actions Act.  This law creates time limits for how long injured victims have to sue for compensation. The time limits are different depending on the type of claim.

There are some important changes in the new Act that injury victims need to be aware of. The one that may have the greatest impact on personal injury claims is the new rule that establishes a two year time limit for many claims.

Exceptions to the two year time limit

There are some exceptions to the two year time limit rule. If there are separate statutes (like the iInsurance Act, for example) that have different time limits, the different time limits apply.

Generally speaking the new time limits are shorter than they were under the old legislation.

What this means is that if you have a personal injury claim (or any type of claim for that matter) you should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer  to find out what the appropriate time limit is for your claim as soon as possible.

Court can extend time limits

The previous Nova Scotia Limitation of Actions Act was different from other provinces in Canada because it gave the court discretion to extend time limits in cases where the plaintiff had missed a time limit and there was no prejudice to the defendant.

Fortunately the province has continued to provide the courts with some discretion to extend time limits. But the maximum time that a Limitation period can be extended has been shortened from 4 years to 2 years.

It is important to note that the ability to extend time limits only applies to personal injury claims.

This discretion could have a big impact on personal injury cases. For example if you were in a car accident and missed the time limit to sue for compensation for your injuries, the court can extend the time limit. But if you want to sue your car accident insurance company for breach of contract, the court cannot extend the time limit.

No Limitation Period for Sexual Assault Victims

The new Limitation of Action Act also makes some very important changes that will benefit survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

The province has eliminated the statute of limitation for any personal injury claim based on sexual assault, domestic violence and assaults involving anyone who is financially, emotionally or physically dependant on another person.

Perhaps even more important is the fact that the new rules eliminating the limitation period for sexual assault victims is retroactive!

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse can suffer for decades from the effects of their abuse. Sometimes they are not capable of disclosing what happened to them until much later in life.

The new changes for sexual abuse claims are a huge victory for sexual assault survivors and the Province is to be commended for making these changes to allow sexual abuse survivors to have more access to justice.

Looking for more information?

If you are looking for more information about how Nova Scotia’s new Limitation of Actions Act will affect your legal rights you can contact me for a free consultation.

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