Dealing with deadlines and limitations in lockdown

July 15, 2020 | Cynthia P. Carels

Courts across Canada have limited their operations to help contain the spread of COVID-19, while treatment facilities have closed or modified their services to protect public health and safety. The personal injury lawyers at Miller Thomson LLP have been monitoring these changes closely to ensure important dates are not missed during the pandemic period.

This post provides an overview of which timelines have, and have not, changed for personal injury claims.

Limitation period suspensions

Every jurisdiction has legislated deadlines for formally filing civil lawsuits, such as personal injury claims. Failing to meet these deadlines generally means a claimant loses their right to sue.

However, due to COVID-19, many court systems across Canada temporarily suspended certain limitation periods. For example, on March 30, 2020, the Government of Alberta froze the Limitations Act retroactively from March 17 through June 1, 2020.

Despite these temporary suspensions, we still recommend filing within the usual deadlines, wherever possible.

No-fault benefits periods from your insurance provider

Automobile insurance policies provide “no fault” benefits to policy holders. These benefits typically cover treatment and other reasonable medical expenses during a limited period from the date of loss. They also provide income replacement benefits if you are unable to work due to accident-related injuries.

In Alberta, these are referred to as “Section B benefits” and for two years post-accident, they cover medically necessary treatment, such as:

  • Medical, surgical and hospital fees, including ambulance fees;
  • Chiropractic and acupuncture;
  • Dental;
  • Psychological; and
  • Physical, occupational and massage therapy.

This two year timeframe has not been suspended as a result of COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to continue accessing treatment. For information on how to do so during the pandemic, see our previous blog post.

The clock is running to contact a lawyer

As Canada enters the re-opening phase, the clocks are again ticking on limitations and other deadlines. It is important to contact the personal injury lawyers at Miller Thomson LLP early, to ensure filing deadlines are not missed and benefits periods can be maximized despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Our clients get the benefit of a large, national firm and all its resources – but at the same cost as a small boutique firm – because our contingency fee percentage is the same competitive amount as the others’.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation regarding the benefits and compensation you may be entitled to claim.

Cynthia Carels
780-429-9747 (direct line)

Miller Thomson is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure that we provide our clients with appropriate support in this rapidly changing environment. For articles, information updates and firm developments, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.


This blog sets out a variety of materials relating to the law to be used for educational and non-commercial purposes only; the author(s) of this blog do not intend the blog to be a source of legal advice. Please retain and seek the advice of a lawyer and use your own good judgement before choosing to act on any information included in the blog. If you choose to rely on the materials, you do so entirely at your own risk.