How long do I have to make a claim for medical negligence compensation?
As with any claim for personal injury, an injured person, including anyone that has suffered illness or injury due to medical negligence, The Limitation Act 1980 applies. Sections 3 and 4 of the Limitation Act, state an action for damages for personal injury shall not be brought after three years from the date on which the cause of action accrued, or the injured person’s date of knowledge, whichever is the later.
However, any solicitor specialising in medical negligence compensation claims will tell you that medical negligence claims, and knowing when the 3 year time limit actually starts, can be more complex than, say, a personal injury arising out of a road traffic accident, or trip or fall in the street. Why? Well, if you are unlucky enough to be injured in a road traffic accident, or trip or fall, the chances are that you will make a note of, and be fully aware of the date on which the accident happened, and the 3 years within which you must pursue your claim for personal injury, start then and there.
When we are talking claims for medical negligence compensation, then any illness or injury caused by the medical professional’s negligence, may not be apparent straight away, leaving you completely unable to advise your personal injury solicitor the date the injury happened. For example, our solicitors specialising in No Win No Fee medical negligence cases, have recently settled a case where an operation had been carried out incorrectly, leaving our client will internal injuries, which did not cause pain until a number of months after the operation. Our client attended our offices, saying that he had had an operation on his shoulder, some months previously, and had been discharged a day or so after, by the treating hospital, after X-rays and MRI scans had shown that the operation was a success, and that his shoulder bones were all intact, healing nicely. Our client was advised that he would have full movement of his arm in no time at all. However, when our client tried to return to normal everyday activities, such as going to the gym, swinging a golf club, or even showering, he felt pain, that gradually got worse and worse as the weeks progressed. When he attended our offices, our client knew that something was wrong, but had no evidence to prove that the pain was because was something that had gone wrong during his operation. As our client attended our offices 7 months after the date of his operation, he wrongly believed that he was already 7 months into the 3 -year time limit within which to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation. Our personal injury solicitors often deal with medical negligence claims arise where some forms of negligence such as undiagnosed cancer may not become apparent until months or years later. In this case, you would have three years from the time you find out.
For our client suffering from shoulder pain, the solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims, at MG Legal, obtained our injured client’s hospital records, including MRI scans and x-rays, and sent them to our nominated medical expert, for review. It transpired that our client’s operation hadn’t been carried out successfully, and the shoulder was displaced, hence the pain our client was suffering. On this occasion, the 3 year period within which to bring a claim for medical negligence personal injury compensation, started when our client became aware that his pain was a result of an operation that had gone wrong, and not the actual date of the operation.
The Limitation Act 1980, this being the governing legislation stipulating the 3 -year time limit within which to bring a claim for personal injury, and medical negligence claim, has a caveat: for adults who are mentally capable, the time limit is three years from the ‘date of knowledge’. This could be the date the negligence occurred (if it was realised immediately), or the date you first observed symptoms, suffered a related illness, or malpractices were discovered.
Whilst the rules are quite simple- you have 3 years from the date you were injured, or from the date you became aware that you were injured as a result of a the medical professional’s negligence, to pursue a claim for medical negligence- every claim is different and time limits to bring an action can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. it is with this in mind that the solicitors specialising in medical negligence compensation claims at MG Legal, highly recommended that you do not delay seeking legal advice on claiming medical negligence compensation, as doing so may jeopardise your chance of success. It is of the utmost importance that you contact a local solicitor specialising in medical negligence claims as soon as you can.
When you make contact with the personal injury solicitors at MG Legal, we will first check if you have sufficient time left to make a claim. Our solicitors specialising in medical negligence claims work on a No Win No Fee basis, and are more than happy to discuss any queries you may have regarding limitation, prior to pursuing your claim for medical negligence compensation through our offices.