Former Negligence Act Limitation Period for Claim Over Applies to 2008 Claim Arising Out of 2001 MVA

In Davey v. Davey, Mr. Justice Dougald R. McDermid was dealing with a motion to amend the statement of claim in a motor vehicle case. The plaintiffs in one of two actions that had been ordered to be tried together moved to increase the general damages from $5 million to $20 million and the special damages from $500,000 to $1 million.

The defendants did not seriously oppose this relief, but sought leave to amend their own pleading, to add a crossclaim against the plaintiff’s sister (who had been driving one of the cars involved in the accident) and to add a counterclaim and a third party claim against the plaintiff’sĀ father (the owner of that car).

The motion for leave to bring the crossclaim, counterclaim and third party claim, was opposed by counsel for the plaintiff and counsel for the plaintiff’s sister (a defendant driver). Both argued that the proposed claims were barred by the provisions of the Limitations Act, 2002, which came into force on January 1, 2004.

Formerly, claims for contribution or indemnity in cases such as this were governed by s. 8 of the Negligence Act. That section permitted such claims to be made within one year of the date of settlement or judgment of the claim by injured person. The Limitations Act, 2002 has replaced that provision with a two-year limitation period that runs from the date on which the person making the claim for contribution or indemnity was served with the claim in relation to which contribution or indemnity is being sought. So, it is a much less elastic limitation period than was its predecessor.

However, Justice McDermid was satisfied that the two-year limitation period in the present statute did not apply and that the case was still governed by s. 8 of the Negligence Act, with the result that the proposed claim for contribution or indemnity was timely. He reached this decision on the basis that the acts or omissions on which the claims were based had taken place before the effective date of the Limitations Act, 2002.

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