3. Start your claim

In , you must start your case within 2 years of the incident. This 2-year period is known as the .

If you were under the age of 18 when the incident occurred, the clock doesn't start running on the limitation period until you turn 18. This means you would be able to start your claim any time before your 20th birthday.

There are lots of other important deadlines when you go to court. You must find out what those deadlines are and make sure that you meet them. If you miss a deadline, a judge may not hear your case. If you miss a deadline and are unable to complete a step in the process, talk to a lawyer.

Start your claim

To start your claim in Small Claims Court:

  1. Fill out a Plaintiff’s Claim. The Plaintiff's Claim describes why you think you're entitled to and how much you're asking for.
  2. File this form with the court and pay a filing fee.
  3. The police officers or police service you're suing are called defendants. Give a copy of the form to the police officer or police service that you're making your claim against. This is called serving the defendants. The defendants will have a chance to respond.

If the police don’t respond

After you file your claim with Small Claims court and serve the defendants the police have 20 days to give you their response. Their response is called a Defence to Plaintiff’s Claim.

The police must file this form with the Small Claims Court and give you a copy of the form. If they don't file their defence within 20 days, you can ask the court to note that the is in default. This means that the court will have a record that says the police didn't file their defence in time. When this happens, the court can make an order for the police to pay what you asked for in your claim.

To ask the court to note the defendant in default:

  1. Fill out a Request to Clerk form.
  2. File the form with the Small Claims Court.
  3. Fill out an Affidavit of Service.
  4. Give Small Claims Court a copy of your Affidavit of Service to prove that you followed the rules about serving the police.

After you file the Request to Clerk, the court can:

  • make a decision about your claim
  • order the police to pay you the amount of your claim

But until you've filed a Request to Clerk, the police can file a Defence to Plaintiff's Claim. They can do this even after the time limit of 20 days. That is why it's a good idea to file your Request to Clerk as soon as the 20 days have passed.

Read the self-help guide for Small Claims Court on the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website for more information.

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