How long have I got to make a claim?
As with the vast majority of personal injury claims, the notable exceptions being claims occurring whilst at sea and in the air, there is a three year time-limit within which you must make a claim for medical negligence compensation. This deadline is set by the Limitation Act 1980 and prescribes that you have a period of three year from the date of negligence, or the date of knowledge of the negligent act, in which to either settle your claim or issue proceedings in the County Court. That three year limit is, understandably, known as “Limitation” or the “date of Limitation”. When you instruct MG Legal’s specialist medical negligence solicitors, this will always be top of the list of priorities to check when starting your claim.
Date of knowledge of medical negligence can be instantaneous. For example, if you were having an operation on your left knee, and the surgeon treated the right knee, then you would know as soon as you woke from the operation, that something was wrong. Or sometimes, immediately after a procedure it is obvious something is wrong, when there is a burn, cut or open wound, on part of your body, that should not be there, and it is obvious that the procedure did not go as planned, and indeed, as you have consented to. In such cases, the date of knowledge and date of negligence are the same. In other cases, especially with misdiagnosis and poor treatment, you may not know until much later when another medical practitioner picks up on the problem and informs you. In both eventualities, it is very important to ensure you take the date of negligence, or the date of knowledge, as the very earliest possible date. Whilst the Court does have discretion to permit a claim to proceed following the date of Limitation, this is the exception rather than the rule, and generally requires a compelling reason and can only be granted after a costly Court Application process.