How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim For Personal Injury Compensation?
To pursue a successful claim for personal injury, you must show that you have been injured through no fault of your own (for example in a road traffic accident or workplace accident) and you must prove that the accident was the result of somebody’s else’s negligent act or failure to act.
However, although all the other ingredients of a successful action are present, a claim will nonetheless fail if it is not brought in time. There are strict time limits for commencement of court proceedings, and it is imperative that you act on time.
There is no amount of time that you must wait before you can start a claim for compensation however the general rule for adults is that you have three years from the date of accident in which to bring a claim. If the claim has not settled or if court proceedings have not issued within 3 years from the date of loss, then you will be prohibited in law from making a claim. There are exceptions to this rule for extenuating circumstances, but the criteria are difficult to meet.
However, if your injury or illness is classed as “clinical or medical negligence” then the 3-year clock will start from the time that the act of negligence (or omission) of the medical professional was identified as being the cause of your injury.
Similarly, in the case of an industrial accident or illness the 3-year clock does not start running until the time that you became aware of the medical condition. This is usually the date upon which a positive diagnosis is confirmed by a qualified doctor.
The rules relating to children who have sustained injury or illness because of an accident are slightly different. The three-year time limit still applies, however, rather than having three years from the date of the accident in which to bring a claim, a ‘child’ has three years from the date of their 18th birthday in which to bring a claim.
In order to minimise the risk of your claim being prevented in law from being made due to the statute of limitation it is advisable to seek legal advice from an expert personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner your solicitor is involved, the greater your chances of success.