Timing is everything, and this is especially true when it pertains to matters of the legal realm. There are certain procedures and time sensitive rules that are to be regarded during the process of filing a claim. If not, it can lead to serious implications that can cause you to lose your attempt to receive compensation for your claim.
In the following slip and fall case, the plaintiff found it necessary to amend her initial claim. She wanted to add two more defendants to the suit but the defence believed that the time limitation on her ability to do so had passed. Here in lies the need for a ruling.
The question to be addressed here is whether or not (according to the Limitations Act 2002) the time limitation had indeed passed in the issuance of a claim requesting for the addition of new defendants. Although there have been some changes in the Limitation Act, this case does not fall within the time period that would require any special consideration.
In the Limitations Act, there is a two year period where a person can amend their suit to include more defendants.
Facts of the Case
In December of 2008, the plaintiff suffered from a slip and fall accident that took place outside her place of work. She retained council and began her claim against the building owner and property manager in December of 2010, one day before the expiry limit. Within that time, the plaintiff changed lawyers for unspecified reasons.
During that two year period, in November of 2009 a representative from the defendant’s insurance company had documentation sent to the plaintiff stating that one of the proposed defendants (a separate business contracted for the maintenance of the grounds) was also insured by them and that the issue would be further investigated.
Her then lawyer did not add this company to the suit. There was an internal document in her case notes that was passed on to her present lawyer suggesting that her first lawyer was aware of the independent contractor. It is therefore unclear why her initial lawyer did not add the maintenance company to the suit at the time.
The issue here is the time of discovery. When were the plaintiff and her council made aware that the maintenance company was independent of the defendant?
Her current lawyer claimed to have no knowledge of the documentation sent by the defendant making it known that the contractor was acting independently. In October of 2012, her current lawyer was also sent a fax in which it was mentioned that a representative from the maintenance company would be available for matters pertaining to the discovery. This representative was examined and he was under the assumption that he was a defendant in the claim in November of 2012.
The Judge empathized with the plaintiff but even with his understanding of the inept communication and follow-through in the matter, he saw that the date of discovery was in early November 2012, which would have an expiry time of early November 2014. The plaintiff’s motion to amend was not initiated until the ending of November 2014, which would fall outside the time limitation period. Based on this, her motion was denied.
At Rastin & Associates, we offer a professional, experienced and fully staffed team of lawyers and clerks who will thoroughly examine all the details of your case. Call us today for a free initial consultation and allow us to fight for your rightful compensation.