There are a number of considerations in deciding whether it is in your best interest to sue. For example, perhaps you recently attended a climbing gym for the first time. Before allowing you to use the climbing wall, the receptionist required you to read over and sign the gym’s liability waiver. You scan through the waiver, and sign your name at the bottom. After climbing for half an hour or so, you fall off the wall. Unfortunately, the safety rope provided by the gym breaks. You fall ten feet onto your back. You are very sore the next day, and consequently have difficulty lifting some of the heavier items at work.

Should you sue the gym for negligence?

There are numerous matters to be considered before deciding that it is in your best interest to sue the gym. For example, it would be vital to determine whether the waiver you signed with the climbing gym covers this sort of accident. Without review of that specific waiver, it is impossible to tell whether the climbing gym would be protected from litigation. It could very well be the case that the waiver that you signed does preclude you from advancing any law suit against the gym.

Second, assuming that the waiver does not prevent you from suing, you have to determine the type and amount of damages you might be able to claim. These damages might include missed wages from work, medical treatment expenses or money for your pain and suffering. If your potential damages are not significant, it might not be financially viable for you to pursue a law suit.

Third, you must consider what level of court is appropriate for your potential action. For example, if your damages are less than $25,000.00 you should probably advance your claim in Small Claims Court (Provincial Court). If your damages are estimated to exceed $25,000.00 then you would probably bring your case in Supreme Court. Without a careful review of the situation, it is difficult to know what damages might be available in your situation, and consequently the most appropriate Court to pursue your damages.

Before deciding to sue, there are a number of important strategic and legal decisions to make. The considerations reviewed above are only a few of the elements that must be considered, and the factors change with every different circumstance. If you find yourself in a situation where litigation could be an option, contact us to review your circumstances.

If you have had an accident or encountered some other issue that might require legal action, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. In British Columbia, the limitation period for starting an action is generally 2 years. The BC Limitations Act [SBC 2012] Chapter 13 (the “Act”) states:

Basic limitation period

(1) Subject to this Act, a court proceeding in respect of a claim must not be commenced more than 2 years after the day on which the claim is discovered.

The result of this section is that, subject to a few exceptions (e.g. minors or people with diminished capabilities), if you do not file a lawsuit within 2 years, you may be prevented from bringing a legal claim against the other party.

It can be difficult to determine when this 2 year period begins to run. Generally, again with a few exceptions, this 2 year period begins to run when the damage is discovered. The Act states

Except for those special situations referred to in sections 9 to 11, a claim is discovered by a person on the first day on which the person knew or reasonably ought to have known all of the following:

(a) that injury, loss or damage had occurred;

(b) that the injury, loss or damage was caused by or contributed to by an act or omission;

(c) that the act or omission was that of the person against whom the claim is or may be made;

(d) that, having regard to the nature of the injury, loss or damage, a court proceeding would be an appropriate means to seek to remedy the injury, loss or damage.

Given that the limitation period begins to run from when the action was discovered or reasonably ought to have been discovered, it can be very difficult to determine exactly when a limitation period begins to run. Due to the fact that it is not always apparent when the limitation period begins to run on an action, we recommend that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible.