Can I Sue If I’m Injured Outside of Canada?

September 2013

Scenario: You find yourself on vacation outside of Canada, when all of a sudden you or one of your loved ones is injured. Could be a motor vehicle accident, or a slip and fall. Indeed, dealing with any injury can be overwhelming, and unfortunately an extra layer of complexity is added when one is hurt outside of Canada.

The Law: In general, an injured party has to take their claim for damages and compensation to a court in the jurisdiction where they were injured. However, The Supreme Court of Canada in a legal case known as Van Breda, has clarified that a specific personal injury accident can be settled in Canadian Courts if any of the following four (4) factors applies.

  1. Is the defendant residing or domiciled in Canada? Perhaps an American defendant has a house in Canada, or lives here part time.
  2. Does the defendant carry out business in Canada? The business may have its headquarters in Michigan, but has branches, or outpost offices in Canada.
  3. Did the accident or negligent act occur in Canada?
    Is there a contract made in Canada connected with the injury? For example, did you sign a contract to
  4. stay at a Mexican resort while you were in Canada?

Though the four connecting factors listed are determinative, satisfying one of these connecting factors will help persuade the courts that legal action should be taken in Canada. The more clearly you can show a real and substantial connection, the more likely you can pursue your claim in an Canadian court.

Summary: Unfortunately, dealing with an injury away from home can be stressful and complex. Though the Supreme Court has cleared some of the dust, problems such as different deadlines to bring a claim in court still lie ahead. As always, having lawyers with the experience and expertise you deserve is vital. With a dedicated team of lawyers who understand the nuances of international personal injury law, Cohen Highley is very well suited to take on your claim. Call to set up a free personal injury law consultation today.

Author

Matt practises in the area of civil litigation with an emphasis on personal injury litigation. Matt attended Western University where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in 2009 and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa in 2012. Matt was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2013. More →