Being in car accident or any kind of accident can be traumatic and terrifying, especially if injuries are involved. It can take time to realize that there may be legal remedies as well as medical and car maintenance remedies. However, the injured person doesn’t have the luxury of waiting until everything is healed and repaired before they need to take legal action. Read on for what you need to know.

What Is a Limitations Period?

Sometimes called a statute of limitations, a limitations period is the legal time frame someone has to file for claims or damages. Once that period has passed, convincing a court to hear the case can be difficult. The other side’s lawyer will likely ask to have the case dismissed because the limitations period has passed, and the court will likely agree unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Note that there are variances across provinces regarding limitations periods and what’s required to file a lawsuit, so working with an experienced accident lawyer is highly recommended.

What Is the Limitations Period for Filing a Lawsuit After an Accident in Nova Scotia?

In Nova Scotia, the basic limitations period for someone to file a lawsuit for injuries suffered in an accident is two years from the date of the accident or the date the injury was discovered. However, there are various exceptions to that. There are also cases where the injured party needs to send a notice of intended action prior to filing a lawsuit. The limitations period for that varies based on who is being sued, such as if you’re suing a medical professional or a governmental entity. Because this is highly complex, you should work with an experienced accident lawyer who understands the varied time frames and can enable you to file all notices and lawsuits on a timely basis.

Some known exceptions include:

Minors. If the injured person is a minor, the limitations period doesn’t begin until they reach the age of majority, which in Nova Scotia is 19.

Suppose the injured person cannot bring a claim because they’re physically, mentally, or psychologically incapacitated. In that case, the limitations period won’t start until they’ve been deemed recovered enough to pursue the case.

What Does “Discover a Claim” Mean?

As noted above, there may be an exception to the two-year limitations period based on when the injury was discovered. Discovery is defined in one of three ways, based on the idea that the injured person should either have known when:

  • The date the accident, damage, or loss occurred.
  • The accident, damage, or loss was due to an event or action.
  • The defendant (person being sued) caused the event or action.

What Is the “Ultimate Limitation Period”?

The ultimate limitation period is the final amount of time someone has to file a suit, regardless of extenuating circumstances. In Nova Scotia, that ultimate period is 15 years, as it is in New Brunswick. Other provinces allow up to 30 years.

Does Nova Scotia Have Any Other Restrictions on Filing a Lawsuit After an Accident?

Yes. In Nova Scotia, there’s something known as the “minor injury cap.” That means that if the accident caused an injury that’s not a significant impediment to carrying out daily tasks and activities (including strains, sprains, and specific types of whiplash), then the amount the injured party can receive is capped. That amount is adjusted annually for inflation, and in 2023, it’s $10,000.

However, it’s possible that someone could have both minor and non-minor injuries. For example, someone ends up with a sprained ankle and a concussion. The sprained ankle could receive only up to $10,000 in damages. But if the concussion is severe enough to cause problems in day-to-day life, that might be “stacked” on top of the minor injury and be awarded more damages.

This cap is tied to the year the accident occurred, not the year the lawsuit was filed. So if an accident from 2022 is filed in 2023, the minor injury cap is $9,300, not $10,000.

What Should I Do if I’ve Been Injured in an Accident in Nova Scotia?

If you’re able, call the police to file a report, which can be used as evidence later. Collect the names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident (but don’t discuss the accident with them–more on that below), as well as any eyewitnesses who are present.

Then visit your doctor as soon as possible. There are injuries, including severe ones, that don’t always present symptoms right away. Leaving them untreated can cause them to worsen and even become life-threatening.

Then call NOVA Injury Law at 902-706-5205 to schedule a free case review. Our team of experienced, knowledgeable accident lawyers can help guide you through what the best next steps will be.

As noted above, don’t discuss the accident with anyone else involved in it, and that includes insurance representatives or lawyers working on behalf of the other drivers. Their goal is to assign as much blame on you as possible so their client pays out little or nothing. They may also try to convince you to accept a much lower settlement amount than you might otherwise be awarded. If you receive any communication from them, whether by phone, letter, or email, don’t respond–just forward them to your lawyer.