Time Limits on Personal Injury & Medical Negligence Compensation Claims
The Injury Claims Time Limit is a limitation that applies to claims made within England and Wales. A claim must be made within three years from the date of the injury, although there are different rules that apply for children, clients lacking mental capacity, criminal injury compensation claims, and other circumstances.
The specific limitation of exceptional cases, as well as the standard time limit for personal injury claims, are legally defined in the Limitation Act 1980.
The law requires an injured person to commence Court proceedings within the three year period and not just to consult a Solicitor with a view to proceeding with a claim.
What are the exceptions to the Personal Injury Claim Time Limit?
Most personal injury claims are subject to the three year rule, although the law does allow for exceptions. The most notable cases are:
Child Personal Injury Claims.
Where the case involves a child accident claim, or where a child suffered a personal injury, the three year limitation period does not begin to run until they have turned 18. You may bring a claim forward for a child before they turn 18, with the support of a litigation friend.
Patients under the Mental Health Act 1983, the time period does not begin until they cease to be a patient under the Act and their legal incapacity is removed.
Criminal Assault Cases.
The claim period for criminal assault injuries is two years from the date of the incident. In these cases the two year period will not be suspended to start from the 18th birthday of a child. It is the parents’ or guardians’ responsibility to make an application for compensation within the two year period. Compensation claims for criminal injuries are processed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
In cases where you are making a claim on behalf of someone who has died as a result of a personal injury, you will have three years to make a claim from the date of death. Should the cause of death be indicated to be a fatal personal injury by a post-mortem, you can make a claim up to three years from the date of knowledge.
Aeroplane and Ship Accidents.
Accidents on board an aeroplane or ship will usually be subject to a shorter time limitation period of two years although this can depend on the circumstances.
The court is also able to extend the basic three-year limitation period at their discretion if the legal time limit period has expired. They only do so very rarely after examining a case and taking all the circumstances into account.
Please note that the time limits above may change and we recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible after you have been involved in an accident and while the events are fresh in your mind.
Can I make a claim for a personal injury caused by an event over 3 years ago?
While your case may not be eligible for exceptions to the three year rule, it should be noted that the time limit is only considered to begin from what is known as the Date Of Knowledge. This means that you may be able to make a compensation claim for injuries caused by a surgical operation or medical treatment negligence that has happened more than three years ago, as long as you have only been made aware of the damages at a later date.
Another exception is cases of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, for example in cases of substance exposure - such as Asbestos exposure. The time limit for these cases begins from the date of diagnosis and not from the date of the initial exposure.
What is the timeline of a personal injury claim?
Personal injury cases present a wide range of circumstances, with injuries going from minor, to very serious accidents. This impacts how long the claim will take to conclude, and what steps must be taken by you and your solicitor to ensure a favourable outcome.
Generally, the process is the following:
Identify the defendant.
Firstly, your solicitor will help you identify who is responsible for your injuries, and who to make a claim against. Depending on the case, this may not always be immediately obvious. For example, in a work accident claim, you may need to claim against the manufacturer of defective machinery rather than the employer or safety officer. The claim will often be made against the insurer of the guilty party.
Your recollection of events is very valuable, which is why it is very important to contact a solicitor and begin the process as soon as possible. Details of witnesses and others involved in the accident can be helpful too, as well as any photographic or video evidence of the circumstances of the accident, such as CCTV or dashcam footage.
Assess, treat, and monitor injuries.
Any medical record that indicates the type and severity of your injuries will be of the utmost importance during your case. This may include pictures, scans, and specialist medical assessments. Medical treatments will be arranged for your injuries, including specialist treatment when required.
The length and complexity of your recovery will also play a part in your claim, so monitoring the injuries on a longer term may be necessary.
Calculate your compensation amount.
The amount you may claim for is calculated based on a number of factors, such as the type of injuries you have sustained, costs you may have incurred, adaptations to home and vehicle, loss of earnings, and other damages. Your solicitor will consider projected losses in the future too when concluding a reasonable compensation amount for your injury.
Settle the claim.
We will use the calculations we make to negotiate an amount of compensation with the defendant. They may accept the offer, or make an offer of their own. We will always advise you regarding any offer you may receive.
Our solicitors are specialised in out-of-court resolutions, and will always attempt to resolve the issue and secure your settlement without bringing your case to court.
In situations where this is unavoidable, however, we will represent you in front of a judge and protect your interests, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
Once an agreement has been made, or the court has ruled a settlement, you may need to choose how to receive the payout. Often you will receive a lump payment, with any interim payments subtracted from it. However, in some circumstances, you may receive periodical payments, such as monthly or yearly payments, or the sum may be paid to a trustee.
Can my claim be settled after the end of the time limit?
Injury claims are often complex, and, depending on the circumstances of your case, the process of claiming compensation for a personal injury can be a very long process.
However, the time limit for claims only applies to the start of the claim, and not to its settlement. If you are subject to a 3-year time limitation, you must register your case with the court and issue legal proceedings within 3 years, but the case may need to continue beyond that timeframe. This will not invalidate your claim.
If you are unsure about the time limits you may be subject to, and whether your injury claim is still valid, contact our team at Sheldon Davidson today, and get a confidential, free assessment of your claim.
Why choose Sheldon Davidson Solicitors?
Our specialist medical negligence, accident and personal injury law firm have been working hard to help our clients achieve the best possible outcomes since 1997.
At SDS Solicitors, our team have a wealth of first-hand experience consulting with, advising, defending and advocating for our clients, many of whom have unfortunately had to experience personal injuries, and have sought out compensation.
Though we may be based in Manchester, England, we also work closely with clients from across England and Wales to determine whether they may have a claim and help them through the process.
To discover whether you could be eligible for a claim, call us for free using the number at the top of this page, or simply fill in the contact form and our expert team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
Contact our team
We are based in Manchester and work closely with the community around the area, including handling major and minor personal injury claims from Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale, Prestwich, Bury and Radcliffe.
However, our personal injury solicitors represent clients from anywhere in England and Wales, with no obligation to proceed beyond your free initial claim assessment. Contact us today using the number at the top of this page.
We know personal injury can have a lasting emotional impact on the victim and their loved ones, even before any injuries are discovered, so we always treat enquiries with care and sensitivity.
To discuss your circumstances and find out whether you have grounds to make a Personal Injury Claim, please get in touch today and we will be happy to help.