Years ago, the government introduced a limitations act that appeared to standardize the amount of time that a person had to be able to start a lawsuit. That law was brought in because it had become very difficult and confusing to figure out how much time someone had to file a lawsuit in Court.
The general limitation period for many types of injury cases was set at 2 years from the date of loss or denial (this is general and you should not rely on it without speaking with a lawyer). However, two recent cases have re-ignited some uncertainty about the limitation period for challenging long-term disability benefit denials by insurance companies such as Manulife, Great West Life, Sunlife, Desjardins, and others.
Those cases are attempting to carve out an exception to the limitation act in certain types of disability benefit cases and reduce the limitation period to one year from the date of denial potentially. There are rumors that certain disability insurance companies are currently amending the wording of their policies to try to fit into the potential new exception.
There is no certainty with respect to this and it is best to speak with a lawyer to determine your precise limitation period. It may be that your precise limitation period cannot be determined with precision given these new cases and it will be better to simply commence your claim immediately.
Some well-intentioned people prefer to try to exercise every avenue of appeal of a disability denial before starting a lawsuit, but the possibility of a shortened limitation period needs to be kept in mind. At a minimum, you should obtain a complete copy of your disability benefits policy (not just the policy booklet – the actual policy) and review the wording with a long-term disability insurance denial lawyer who has experience and knowledge in the area.
Please feel free to contact me, Steven Polak, or a member of my long term disability insurance benefits legal team at our office in Whitby Ontario (servicing Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Bowmanville, Courtice) and with offices in the GTA, to discuss this further.