Suffering an injury as the result of someone else’s negligence can give you the right to make a claim against them. But the process is not as straightforward as movies and TV shows depict. Making a claim is a complex process that is best navigated by a personal injury lawyer. For example, one early step that often isn’t shown in legal TV or movie scenes is the ‘notice letter.’
What is a notice letter?
A notice letter is a legal document written and delivered to the person (or entity) that you hold responsible for your injury. It might be a business owner, individual, or even a municipal government. Giving notice does not mean you are filing a lawsuit; the two have very different processes. However, a notice letter can be potentially crucial to your case.
Two year limitation period
In most Ontario cases, you have two years to file a claim from the time you gave notice or from when you ought to have known about the injury. If your injury was the result of a criminal act then you still have to abide by the two-year limit, but a judge can decide to extend this window. Beginning a lawsuit after your limitation period could seriously harm your case.
In some situations, you’re required to provide a notice letter as soon as you suffer an injury in order to give the party you hold responsible the time to investigate the circumstances around your injury. In Ontario, notice letters are mandated when suing a municipality as per the Municipal Act 2001.
The Municipal Act, 2001
The Municipal Act, 2001 mandates that anyone who intends to hold a town, city, country, or other municipality in Ontario responsible for their injury must provide a notice letter within 10 days of suffering an injury. There are very few exceptions to this rule.
If you miss the 10 day period the court will have to decide whether or not to allow you to continue with your claim. Even then, you can only proceed if the delay hasn’t prevented the municipality from investigating the circumstances of your injury.
What goes into a notice letter?
There is no single template for a notice letter, but they generally include who the injured person is, how they were injured, and that you intend to seek compensation.
Why do they matter?
A notice letter is the first step to filing a lawsuit and it can extend the amount of time that you have to make your claim. It also creates a legal record and helps preserve evidence, which helps solidify your position. Crucially in Ontario, you can also be compensated with ‘prejudgment interest.’
Legal action takes time, but you’re entitled to your compensation as soon as you’re injured. So, if the court awarded you $50,000 six months after your injury then you would be entitled to interest on top of that $50,000 going back six months. A notice letter is usually the starting point for calculating prejudgment interest.
Contact Zayouna Law Firm
Don’t let a formality like a notice letter prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Zayouna Law Firm for professional legal advice and protection defending your claim.
for a FREE consultation!