Deadlines for a Child’s Personal Injury Lawsuit in BC

Limitations dates for minors in British Columbia explained

What is a limitation period? A limitation period is the legally specified length of time a person has to commence a lawsuit. For most personal injury matters involving adults in BC, an individual has 2 years from the date of injury to bring an action against the at-fault party.

A common example is the 2-year deadline to start a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision.

Limitation dates for adults injured by medical malpractice in BC can be slightly more nuanced. Generally-speaking, a lawsuit must be filed within 2 years of the date of injury, or within 2 years of the date that it is discovered malpractice caused the injury.

Children injured in British Columbia, on the other hand, are not under the same time constraints to start a personal injury lawsuit as adults.

A litigation guardian, often the child’s legal guardian, may sue on behalf of an injured child any time before the child turns 19, in most cases regardless of when the child suffered the injury.

Once the child turns 19, this young adult then has a further 2 years to start a lawsuit for the injury sustained in childhood.

Accordingly, an individual with cerebral palsy, due to suspected medical malpractice, usually may start a lawsuit up until the age of 21 for injuries sustained around the time of birth.

It is important to consult experienced lawyers as soon as malpractice is suspected, regardless of the fact that the limitation period may not expire for many years. This is important because evidence must be gathered and preserved for the child to have the best chance to recover damages. It is very unwise to wait until the eve of the expiration of a limitation period to consult a lawyer.

Unfortunately many BC parents are unaware of their legal options. Since exceptions to limitation dates may apply in particular circumstances, it is crucial to consult a lawyer prior to making decisions about any personal injury claim.

For over three decades, the lawyers at Campbell, Renaud Trial Lawyers has helped injured children and their families secure a positive future in British Columbia. Should you have questions about your child’s injury, contact us for a no-obligation, free consultation.

More Information:

Limitation Act, RBC 2012, c 13.