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Young man with head injury - limitation periods on AB claims for minors

It is extremely important to understand what the limitation periods are with regards to minors receiving Statutory Accident Benefits (SABS). If your child was injured in a car accident, and is receiving Statutory Accident Benefits, then you might be interested in the February 2016 decision of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) in Moran v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company, FSCO A13-0111759. This is a preliminary hearing decision which addresses limitations periods for minors under the SABS and outlines how and why these limitation periods differ when the Applicant is a minor.

In Moran, the Applicant was 13 years old when the motor vehicle accident happened.  Her mother helped her by completing the paperwork to apply for accident benefits.  As part of this process a Disability Certificate was submitted which stated that the child did not suffer a complete inability to carry on a normal life.  On this basis, the Insurance Company wrote to the mother on December 4, 2008 indicating that her child did not qualify for a Non-Earner Benefit.  An Application for Mediation was not submitted by the Applicant until September 28, 2012.

The issue addressed at the hearing was whether the claim could be brought as more than two years had passed since the denial of the benefit.

Economical argued that the limitation period started to run from the time of the refusal to pay the benefit as the mother was acting as the Applicant’s representative.  Economical took the position that the requirement under the Dispute Resolution Practice Code to have a parent apply for mediation was akin to acting as a Litigation Guardian.

The representative for the child argued that the limitation period did not start to run until she reached the age of majority on November 23, 2012.  It was her position that her mother was, in fact, not acting as a Litigation Guardian and, therefore, the limitation period under the Limitation Act and Insurance Act did not begin to run.

In considering the facts of this case, the Arbitrator concluded that the limitation period did not begin to run until the Applicant was 18 years old thus the Applicant was not statute barred from proceeding with the Arbitration.

If you would like more information about the reasoning behind the Arbitrator’s decision, you can read the full judgement here.

If you have any questions regarding the limitation periods for minors or need assistance with a current or potential Accident Benefits Claim, feel free to contact me directly.

Teena Belland

Associate with the Personal Injury and Litigation Group

Disclaimer: This article is provided as an information resource. This article should not be relied upon to make decisions and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified legal professional. In all cases, contact your legal professional for advice on any matter referenced in this document before making decisions. Any use of this document does not constitute a lawyer-client relationship.

 

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