The perfect getaway can become a legal nightmare if you are injured, and injuries frequently occur during vacations. You could be injured road-tripping through New York, zip lining in Costa Rica, or caving in Mexico. You’ll likely return home after the accident and see doctors and therapists in Ontario, miss time from work in Ontario, and incur medical and other expenses here. Naturally you’ll turn to an Ontario lawyer for help, but can you sue in Ontario?
Determining where to bring a lawsuit can sometimes be a tricky issue. When someone lives and works in Ontario it would seem like Ontario is the best place to bring the lawsuit. Most of the witnesses are here, medical providers are here and damages or losses occur in Ontario. However, most often the law says the lawsuit must be brought wherever the accident happened-in this case wherever you were on vacation.
Even though Ontario may seem like the convenient place to bring a lawsuit, our courts won’t necessarily have jurisdiction over the matter. Jurisdiction refers to the court’s ability to interpret and apply the law and to bind the parties. Even if the courts did make a decision, you likely wouldn’t be able to enforce it over parties living in other countries. An Ontario judge can’t force a Costa Rican zip lining company to pay you damages.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario has tried to clarify when a lawsuit can be brought in Ontario and has said that we need to look at:
- Where the other party is located
- Where the other party carries on business
- Where the accident happened
- Where the contract was made
This usually means the lawsuit has to be brought where the accident happens. If Ontario does not have jurisdiction your lawsuit will be stayed or dismissed and if you did not start a claim in the location where the accident happened you might be out of luck.